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One party rule in Monroe County?

By Scott Tibbs, July 14, 2011

Last week, the Herald-Times suggested it was "time to lay the local Republican Party to rest in Monroe County," so that the public could focus on "the various factions and philosophical differences" in the Monroe County Democratic Party and allow those factions a better chance to argue their positions.

It was a shocking call for one-party rule, even for a newspaper that has been known for biased coverage against Republicans. The reasoning behind this was that the GOP is in disarray, but as I pointed out last week the Republican Party is still viable despite a few bad years. The H-T jumped the gun in declaring the GOP is "dead."

But what is amazing is that a mainstream "newspaper" would actually editorialize for abolishing one of the two major political parties in the county, so that all of the debate would take place within the Democratic Party. It is true that there are disagreements within any political party. After all, "business Democrats" and "green Democrats" had very public fights a decade ago, contributing to Republican victories. But there are still enough differences between the two parties that a dissenting voice needs to exist.

What is more amazing, even with the Herald-Times' complete ignorance of local political history over the last decade, is that the editorial board would call for the end of the Republican Party when the incumbent Congressman for the Ninth District lives in Bloomington. Republicans dominated the Richland and Van Buren township elections in 2010 - the most Republican areas of Monroe County that have now joined the rest of the county in the Ninth District.

Just from a business standpoint, it is shocking that the "newspaper" would call for one-party rule, because conflict during election season generates interest in local news. It is telling that the H-T places partisanship even above their own economic interest in selling more newspapers and website subscriptions.

It is critical that there be two viable political parties in Monroe County. If for no other reason than partisan gain, the parties will keep tabs on what the other is doing in the offices they hold, and more information and vigorous public debate is always good for the public. It is incredibly short-sighted for the "newspaper" to advocate otherwise.