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fake candidates wsj editorial

Wouldn't it be more honest to simply put a second Republican on the ballot to trigger the needed primary?

Among the many odd things in our political reality here in Wonderland, er, Wisconsin, is this: recall elections have become routine, and worse yet, protest or "fake" candidates in recall elections have also become routine.

That's unfortunate, and puts another taint on an election process already tainted enough.

As we've noted before, not liking someone's policies does not meet the test for recall in our view. Rather, we'd suggest voting against the offending policy maker at the next scheduled election.

But by law the only real test for recall is to gather the required number of signatures, and that test has been more than met in the case of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, both Republicans, and four Republican state senators.

So now we have the pretend candidates, put in place by the Republican Party in each of the six recall races to ensure that there is one date for all primaries and one later date for all general elections.

That goal seems reasonable — after all, it would not be fair for a Republican Senate recall target to have to face a general election against a Democratic challenger on the same day that Democrats will be holding a statewide primary for governor, thus ensuring a very large turnout of Democrats across the state, including in the four Republican Senate recall districts.

To avoid that scenario, a Republican will enter each recall race as a Democrat, thereby forcing a primary on May 8, the same day as the gubernatorial primary. Presumably, the real Democrat will win each of those Senate primary races, thereby setting up the four general elections on June 5.

While that goal is worthy enough, the tactics to get there — openly flouting reality and having candidates claiming to be something they clearly are not — feels unseemly and somehow contradictory to what should be a more pure process.

Not so, says Ben Sparks, spokesman for the Republican Party. "This is all about election fairness," he said.

Perhaps. But wouldn't it be more honest to simply put a second Republican on the ballot to trigger the needed primary? Then nobody has to pretend to be something they are not. No doubt there are pitfalls to that tactic as well, but at least it would take "fake" out of the equation.

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