Many years ago, after several years as a practicing psychotherapist, I had a revelation. Having studied many and sundry explanations of human behavior and how to help people achieve their goals of behavioral change, it dawned on me that all human behavior can be distilled down to one rule, people do what they get away with. Others word this as “what you allow is what will continue”. Arguably, this is what addicts mean by “hitting bottom”. Leaving aside the usefulness of this concept in the area of psychotherapy, it is almost always true in politics and interpersonal relations. Behavior that is not tolerated does not continue. One can question what “tolerated” may mean in various circumstances but what is not tolerated will not continue or persist. Almost everyone knows that rewarded behavior does persist, at least anyone who has taken a Psych 101 course. Unfortunately, in the area of politics, this seems to conflict with the rule of “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” or “if he agrees with me 80%, he is not my enemy” or the like.
In my first internship as a social work student some 30 years ago, I found myself working in a maximum-security prison. Among the things I learned from one of my clinical supervisors was that inmates have one desire over any else—they want to get out of prison, period. Politicians, likewise, have one desire, period—to be re-elected or promoted to higher political office. Politicians are not stupid. Perhaps the only thing that will ever deter a politician is fear of being voted out of office. And they also know the other maxims listed above. Hence, they will do everything and anything they can, as long as they can stay in office. They know that there is only a certain amount of crumbs they need to throw the peasants to invoke the argument of “the perfect vs. the good”. “He’s not as bad as the other candidate; he did sign some of the things we fought for; he will be even better next term”, and on and on it goes. This is one of many reasons incumbents stay in office at such a high rate.
Which brings me to New Hampshire. In most States in which a governor has a four-year term, the argument of how much damage the other candidate can cause if a particular governor is kept out of office as a punishment/deterrence is realistically quite strong. In New Hampshire, where a governor only serves for two years, this argument is much weaker. In New Hampshire, if the republicans hold the House, Senate, and Executive Council, I am convinced (until being convinced otherwise) that the amount of damage a first-term democrat can do is quite limited. It is true that very few good bills will be signed. On the flip side, Republicans will fight harder for what they (ostensibly) believe against a governor from the opposing party. If defeated in November’s general election, the message that will be received by Mr. Sununu will be loud and clear. His actions concerning emergency orders, lockdowns, and other acts of tyranny will not be tolerated and certainly will not be rewarded with another term, notwithstanding his signing of some good bills. His actions in the arrests of the “Noble-9” will not be tolerated and certainly will not be rewarded with another term. The message will not only be loud and clear to him; it will be loud and clear to many other RINO’s elsewhere. It is not enough to sign a few good bills and be better than the other guy while acting like a dictator and at times, a vindictive one. The time to send this message is in a few weeks. The place is the Granite State. The State will be little hurt in a two-year period. It is by far worth the message sent. On November 8th, you will have an opportunity to show Sununu and other tyrants that they cannot get away with tyranny.
If you do not and if you help or even allow him to be re-elected, he will receive another message loud and clear: “everything I have done is okay with the voters”. When he shuts down the State over a climate emergency or an immigration emergency, he will rightly assert that this is what the voters wanted. When he has other opponents arrested, he will rightly assert that this is what the voters wanted. Is this worth it to you just to get a few good bills signed or get a tenth of a percent reduction in taxes? Think about it long and hard. This is the time!
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