Thursday, October 06, 2016

None Of The Above?


Oklahoma is arguably the reddest state in the country. LBJ beat Goldwater in 1964 but that was it. After that the state belonged to the GOP. The last Democrat to carry even one county was Gore in 2000. Both senators and all 5 House members are far right Republicans-- as is the governor. The state Senate has 40 Republicans and 8 Democrats and the state House has 71 Republicans and 28 Democrats. The state Democratic Party atrophied and died. Pollsters aren't even doing surveys of the state. The last one, in late July, showed Trump leading Clinton 53-29%, even with Oklahomans viewing Trump unfavorably. Trump only drew 130,141 votes (28.3%) in the state primary, losing to Ted Cruz and barely ahead of Rubio. Trump came in 3rd in Oklahoma City and 3rd in Tulsa.

The Tusla Metro area has nearly a million people and includes not just Tulsa county but parts of Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties as well. In 2012 the state went for Romney 889,372 (67%) to 442,647 (33%). Tulsa County gave Obama 36% of its vote, Osage 37%, Rogers 25% and Wagoner 27%. In 1940 Oklahoma was still a very Democratic state and that year the state gave its 11 electoral votes to Franklin Roosevelt with a 57.41% to 42.23% win over Republican Wendell Willkie. But that year the Tulsa World endorsed Willkie. They endorsed every Republican candidate for president since then as well! Oklahoma voted for FDR again in 1944 but The World endorsed Thomas Dewey. The paper endorsed Dewey again in 1948 against Truman, though the state went for Truman 62.75% to 37.25%. Finally in 1952 the editorial board and the voters were on the same Republican page. And-- except for Goldwater's Oklahoma loss to Johnson (56-44%), with The World touting Goldwater-- they've remained on the same page-- the voters and the editors love the GOP.

This year... not so much. Trump's going to win Oklahoma and he's going to win Tulsa and the Tulsa Metro, mostly because the region is brainwashed against Democrats and brainwashed against Hillary. They don't like Trump much but they seem him as the lesser of tow evils. Even in the Democratic primary, Bernie beat her substantially. With 335,554 Oklahoma Democrats voting, Bernie took 174,054 votes (51.9%) to Hillary's 139,338 (41.5%). Bernie won every county in the state but two.

This year the Tulsa World, for the first time since endorsing FDR in 1936, refused to endorse the Republican nominee. They couldn't possibly go for Clinton, of course. So they went for "none of the above." The editors said they don't trust Clinton and derided her as the candidate of the status quo (with the Tulsa World has always championed) at a time when voters want a change.

"Hillary Clinton," they wrote, "is in the mold of George W. Bush and Al Gore, brilliant in their own ways, but uninspired and uninspiring. She is, in short, a lousy politician, and she wants a politician’s job. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a brilliant politician, and a lousy person."
From Day One, the Trump campaign has brought out the worst of America, not the greatness that he promises.

His campaign for president evokes the worst qualities in people: fear and bigotry. From the first day of his candidacy, when he claimed Mexico was sending its rapists and criminals to the United States, to his speech at the Republican National Convention, where he had the gall to suggest that the United States, the world’s only superpower, is not a great nation, Trump has sought to build a political bloc out of misplaced anger and anxiety.

All politicians are egoist, but Trump’s overvaluation of his own self is truly monumental. His claim that only he has the ability to make America great again suffers from two gigantic flaws: America is great, and he isn’t going to make it any greater.

Indeed, if he were elected president, he would probably make it a good deal worse because never in the history of American politics has there been a major party candidate with fewer qualifications to be the president. Trump has never held an elective office or had any significant leadership in legislative action. And, despite what an angry electorate might think, the ability to work through the legislative process is a requisite of the job. He isn’t the only person capable of fixing our nation’s problems. He’s not even on the list of those who should try.

In place of competence or facts, Trump’s campaign relies on faith. And not the type of faith most believe in, but rather a faith in Trump himself. In trade, terrorism and immigration, he promises the moon. Not just any moon, but a HUGE moon, the most magnificent moon ever! But when pressed for how he will produce this lunar miracle, he just says, “Believe me.” We don’t believe.

Never before have we so firmly believed that each of us has to find the answers for ourselves. We encourage every voter to identify what is important to them and their families. Only then can each voter determine who they believe is the best choice in this presidential election.

We encourage all voters to participate in the election and to follow their consciences in making the best choice from the least acceptable list of candidates for president in modern times. We won’t be endorsing any of them.
Massachusetts, of course, is the polar opposite of Oklahoma-- as Blue a state as you'll find anywhere. In 1924, Massachusetts was still a reflexively Republican state. They voted to reelect home state boy Calvin Coolidge 62.26% to 24.86 for ConservaDem John Davis and 12.50% for Progressive Robert LaFollette. But that was the end of GOP dominance in Massachusetts in 1928, Massachusetts (and Rhode Island) joined the Solid South in voting for Alfred Smith, the Democrat running against Herbert Hoover. Massachusetts supported every Democrat since then except for backing Eisenhower both times he ran and Reagan both time he ran. This year the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Hillary beating Trump 52.0% to 32.3%. A WBUR poll last month was even more dismal for Trump-- 60-31% for Clinton in a head-to-head matchup with Trump.

A former popular Republican governor of Massachusetts, William Weld, is running for vice president on the Libertarian ticket. This week, after toying with the idea of quitting the race altogether, he told the Boston Globe that "he plans to focus exclusively on blasting Donald Trump over the next five weeks, a strategic pivot aimed at denying Trump the White House and giving himself a key role in helping to rebuild the GOP.
While Weld insisted he still supports Johnson, he said he is now interested primarily in blocking Trump from winning the presidency and then potentially working with longtime Republican leaders such as Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour to create a new path for the party after the election.

“Maybe somebody is going to come up with a new playbook, and I don’t know who it’s going to be, but it would be fun to participate,” Weld said in a telephone interview from Atlanta, where he was holding a fund-raiser and rally and planned to watch and tweet about Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate featuring his major-party rivals, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence.

Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, said he is focusing on Trump because, while he disagrees with Hillary Clinton on fiscal and military issues, Trump’s agenda is so objectionable it’s “in a class by itself.”

“I think Mr. Trump’s proposals in the foreign policy area, including nuclear proliferation, tariffs, and free trade, would be so hurtful, domestically and in the world, that he has my full attention,” Weld said.

He insisted he was not abandoning Johnson, although he signaled that bolting from the Libertarian Party might be a possibility in the future.

“I’m certainly not going to drop them this year,” Weld said.

Weld’s comments seemed sure to reignite suspicions among Libertarians who have questioned his loyalty to the party and have accused him of using the ticket for his own political aims. But Weld’s decision to chart his own course appears to reflect the feeling among his aides, who have privately expressed dismay at Johnson’s flubs on national television, such as when Johnson could not come up with the name of a favorite foreign leader and when he said “What is Aleppo?” when asked about the besieged Syrian city.

...“I have had in mind all along trying to get the Donald into third place, and with some tugging and hauling, we might get there,” Weld said.

Weld has been much more critical of Trump than of Clinton, whom he has known since the 1970s, when they were young lawyers working for the House committee that investigated President Richard Nixon.

Just last week, for example, Weld irked Johnson supporters when he said on MSNBC that he’s “not sure anybody is more qualified than Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States.”

Weld, meanwhile, has denounced Trump as a “huckster” with a “screw loose” and has said his plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants “would remind me of Anne Frank hiding in the attic.”

Weld’s new plan calls for him to focus his fire on Trump in a handful of red states-- as well as in at least one swing state, New Hampshire-- where the Libertarians are running strong. Nationally, the ticket is drawing about 7 percent support.

Polls show that Johnson and Weld-- who were initially thought to appeal mostly to anti-Trump Republicans-- may be doing more damage to Clinton by siphoning away young voters.
I'm hearing rumblings from Capitol Hill that there is a bill brewing to include "none of the above" in future federal elections. Nevada already has it in place and has since 1976, although even if the "None of These Candidates" option receives the most votes, the actual candidate who receives the most votes still wins the election. The option rarely gets more than 1% in presidentential elections although in 2012, when the Senate race featured two especially putrid candidates-- GOP nincompoop Dean Heller and corrupt right-wing Democrat Shelley Berkley "none of the above" won nearly 5% of the votes cast and 45,277 votes, almost four times the margin of victory for Heller, which was 11,576 vote. More on the None of the Above legislation soon.

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