Just as a thought experiment: imagine what would happen if the following scenario played out…
- A minority Republican Senator passes away.
- Choosing a successor is the responsibility of his state’s (white) (Republican) governor.
- The late Senator in question had formally made a request to the governor that a particular qualified individual (who also happens to be a minority) succeed him.
- The governor then proceeds to ignore the dying wish of the late Senator, and instead chooses his (white) Lt. Governor.
The question before the board is, Just how big would the resulting media firestorm be, anyway? Large enough to detect from orbit?
Yes, probably. However, in this case all the players are Democrats: the state is Hawaii, the Governor is Neil Abercrombie (best-known for fumble-fingeringly extending birther fantasies for an extra two weeks or so), the Lt. Governor (and new Senator) is Brian Schatz (I never heard of him, either), the late Senator is Medal of Honor winner Daniel Inouye, and the slapped-in-the-face candidate that Inouye favored was Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Basically, what happened was that Hawaii pretty much requires that since Inouye was a Democrat, any successor would be chosen from among a list of three people presented to Abercrombie by the Hawaii Democratic party*. Abercrombie and Inouye apparently had… issues with each other, given that the latter tried to torpedo the former when it came to the 2010 gubernatorial election; I also suspect that there was lingering bad blood over the 2010 special election for HI-01, which was an entertaining prelude to the general shellacking that was the 2010 Congressional midterms.