Tag Archives: 2018 election

Did Cruz and O’Rourke bury the hatchet?

This story makes me smile and gives me hope about the future of political debate and discourse in the United States of America.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke — who have just completed a fiery-hot campaign for Cruz’s Senate seat — bumped into each other at George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport. O’Rourke, who lost narrowly to Cruz, initiated the contact between them. They spoke cordially for some time, talking about how they can “move forward” from the election that just ended.

According to Click2HoustonTexas A&M student Tiffany Easter witnessed the moment and posted a recap on her Facebook and Twitter pages Tuesday.

In her Facebook post, Easter said she was waiting to board a flight to Washington when she noticed that both O’Rourke and Cruz were about to board the same flight.

“Beto noticed Ted sitting down and walked over to congratulate him on his re-election campaign,” Easter wrote. “It was the first time they had seen each other since the election, and the entire conversation was both of them talking about how they could move forward together.”

This makes me smile because the campaign the men waged was among the more aggressive in the country. It drew national attention, given the closeness of the contest.

I suppose one could have expected the men to maybe shake hands, nod at each other and then part company. They didn’t.

Their cordial encounter gives me a glimmer of hope that even the most intense political opponents can realize that politics is just part of who they are and what they do.

POTUS undermines, denigrates our electoral system

They’re still counting ballots in Florida, where election controversy seems endemic in a system that needs fixing.

But sitting on the sidelines is a guy named Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, who is heckling state and local officials, accusing Democrats of trying to “steal” an election, suggesting widespread “fraud” where none exists and in general exacerbating an already-tense and contentious election.

Trump is doing a supreme disservice to the cause of free and fair elections, which are a hallmark of the nation he was elected to lead.

How about comparing this president’s conduct with another president who, as he was preparing to leave office, stood by silently while officials in the same state of Florida grappled with another — even more significant — electoral controversy.

Vice President Al Gore wanted to succeed President Clinton in 2000. He and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush fought hammer-and-tong for the presidency. It came down to Florida. The race was razor thin. Whoever won the state’s electoral votes would be elected president.

They launched a recount. Bush’s margin of victory narrowed to 537 votes out of more than 5 million ballots cast. Then the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. It ordered the count stopped. Bush won the state’s electoral votes. He took the oath of office in January 2001.

President Clinton stayed quiet through it all. When he was asked about the controversy, the president said he preferred not to get involved. The U.S. Constitution did its job without presidential hectoring, haranguing and harassment.

Yep, there’s a lesson to be learned about a previous president’s conduct during a seriously contentious time. The lesson will be lost on Donald John Trump.


How do you ‘unify’ a nation while going to war with political foes?

Donald Trump’s stated pledge to seek “peace and harmony” has run straight into a virtual declaration of war.

The president is blathering out of both sides of his loud mouth. Imagine that … if you can.

The day after the midterm election, Trump held a combative press conference in which he issued a warning to House Democrats — who in January will take over control of the House — launch an investigation into Trump’s finances.

The administration, he said, would assume a “war-like posture.”

War-like posture? What’s he going to do? Mobilize the military, send our soldiers into battle … against whom? Democrats? Rogue Republicans?

Trump has said he wouldn’t cooperate with Democrats if they insist on investigating his administration regarding any of the myriad scandals, controversies and tempests that are roiling our government. Thus, he inserted the “war-like posture” assertion.

This is not how you unify the country. There will be no “peace and harmony” to be found in that context.

Donald Trump continues to exhibit a lust for combat. He looks for all the world like someone who cannot possibly accept tranquility. It might make him nervous, believing that too tranquil an environment somehow hides an unwelcome surprise.

Praise for Pelosi, then a threat

Hell, I don’t know what makes this guy tick. I offer these views only after watching him from afar.

It’s just that when he pledges a quest for “peace and harmony” and then declares his intention to assume a “war-like posture,” I am led to believe only the worst.

The man wants a fight. I fear that congressional Democrats are going to give him one.

‘Florida’ becomes new synonym for election incompetence

Move over, Texas. You — I mean “we” — are being replaced as the butt of jokes related to election incompetence and possible corruption.

There once was a time when Texas was known for dead people casting ballots in, say, tiny Duval County in the southern part of the state. It was thought that the cadaver vote vaulted Lyndon Baines Johnson into Congress.

As a transplant who moved to Texas more than three decades ago, I am not proud of the state’s former reputation as a cesspool for political corruption. In that regard, I feel sorry for the conscientious Floridians who now are living with the same level of skepticism.

Broward County, Fla., is in the news again. It isn’t good.

Trouble looms for 2020

They’re trying to determine the winner of two red-hot races in Florida: the campaign for governor and for U.S. Senate. The attention focuses on Broward County, home to around 2 million residents. Thus, they cast a lot of votes in that south Florida county.

They can’t seem to get ’em counted. There might be an automatic recount. Or maybe it’ll be a manual recount.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a narrow lead over U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — at the moment! GOP U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is barely ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Scott and DeSantis have (more or less) declared victory. Nelson and Gillum aren’t conceding. They’re waiting … and waiting … and waiting for all the ballots to be counted.

Of course, this is far from the first time Florida has been at the epicenter of questionable electoral issues. You remember the 2000 presidential election, yes? It came down to an aborted recount of the contest between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Albert Gore Jr. The winner would rake in the state’s Electoral College votes and win the presidency. The U.S. Supreme Court ended up ordering the vote count stopped and when it did, Gov. Bush had 537 more votes — out of more than 5.8 million ballots cast — than Vice President Gore. The court ruling came on a 5-4 vote; the five GOP appointed justices voted to stop the count, with the four Democratic appointed justices dissenting.

Well, the rest — as they say — is history.

This resident of Texas is glad to have my state kicked off the (alleged) voter fraud pedestal.

As a patriotic American, though, I do hope that our fellow Americans in Florida can cure what ails that state’s electoral process. Our political process needs to be free of this kind of turmoil.

I just pray the Russians aren’t involved.

Cool it with the accusations, Democrats

So much to say about the 2018 midterm election … so I’ll start with this item.

The presumptive speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said prior to the election that Democrats should cool it with talk of impeaching Donald J. Trump. She said impeaching the president is a non-starter and she didn’t want the campaign to be decided on that issue.

Here is her chance to make good on that plea.

Democrats seized control of the House last night. Senate Republicans gained a couple of seats, cementing the GOP control of the upper legislative chamber. The former House “ranking members” will become committee chairs. They’ll be able to call the shots in the House. The ballots were still being counted Tuesday night when word came out of Washington about Democrats wanting to subpoena the president’s tax returns, which he has (in)famously refused to release for public review.

I want to see them, too. However, Democrats also campaigned for office demanding that “pre-existing conditions” are honored if the House considers amending the Affordable Care Act. They have health care to consider.

They also have budgeting issues to ponder. They have to consider potential new tax cuts. That budget deficit is spiraling out of control.

The president called the new speaker last night to congratulate her for the Democrats’ House victory. The two of them reportedly talked about bipartisanship and working together to get things done on behalf of the people.

I don’t know if Trump actually means it, given his propensity for lying. Pelosi should heed that call, even if the president reneges down the line.

Those of us who want to see government re-learn how to function on behalf of the “bosses” — that’s you and me, folks — must demand that a divided Congress learn to unite within itself. We also must demand that the president and Congress set aside the fiery rhetoric and start acting as if they mean what they said about cooperation and compromise.

Get ready for ’20 election contestants

Many political junkies — and I include myself in that crowd — are awaiting the results of the 2018 midterm election.

Some of us, however, also are awaiting the announcements for the next big political event that’s coming up … two years from now!

That would be the 2020 presidential election.

The incumbent president already has declared his intention to run for re-election in 2020. Donald John Trump has begun raising money; he’s making speeches against potential Democratic opponents. So, the president is in.

There is some chatter out there that sometime this week, maybe by the weekend, we’re going to hear about announcements from notable Democrats who have been rumored to be considering a run.

I suppose we’ll hear announcements of the formation of “exploratory committees,” those pre-candidacy announcements candidates use to determine whether they have a chance in hell of winning.

I’m not waiting with bated breath. So far, I haven’t seen or heard much from any potential Democratic candidates who excite me. Maybe someone will surface, will emerge from nowhere. That’s the kind of candidate I want to challenge the president.

The old war horses won’t cut it for me. I hope to hear that someone will burst out of the tall grass and catch us all by surprise. I am secretly hoping for a candidate in the mold of Jimmy Carter to spring forth.

You know my thoughts about the incumbent. Enough on that … for now.

The end of one campaign is likely to signal the start of another. It’s the big one, man! Let’s all hold on for a wild ride.

Ahh, thank goodness for this technology

I am about to provide you with more evidence that I have arrived — finally! — into the 21st century, that I have joined the techno-communications generation.

I called the Collin County clerk’s office this morning. I told a nice lady on the other end of the line I am a “brand new resident of Collin County.” I said I needed the address of the nearest voting center so I can vote Tuesday in the midterm election.

She asked for my address. Then she told me it’s at Puster Elementary School.

“Do you need the address, or do you want me to give you directions on how to get there?” she asked.

I chuckled. “Oh, no,” I told her. “I have this fancy phone that shows me how to get to anywhere I need to go. I just punch in the name of the school and it guides me there,” I said.

She responded with a chuckle of her own, “Aren’t those phones just great?”

Yes. They are, indeed.

Gosh, I hope I didn’t sound smug.

Trump: ‘Vote for me’ in the midterm election

Donald J. Trump is the gift that just keeps on giving.

The president has been imploring his fans at campaign rallies to “vote for me” — meaning him, of course — in this year’s midterm election.

Trump isn’t on the ballot, of course. In a way, though, he is. The election might become a referendum on the president’s leadership.

I am one American who dislikes the idea of Donald Trump being president. I am not alone. There are more of us than there are on the other side, according to pollsters who keep taking the nation’s pulse on these matters.

Thus, when Donald Trump tells his fans to “vote for me” he’s actually energizing a potentially larger segment of the American voting public than those who support him. Does that point make sense? It does to me.

So when the president keeps harping about he is on the proverbial ballot next Tuesday, I applaud him. I concur that he is on the ballot. I want the election to be about him.

I am acutely aware that others see Trump’s imploring voters to vote for him as a plus for their side. They think Trump’s time as president so far has been an smashing success. They cite those tax cuts. They say he’s “making America great again.” They contend that he has put the country first and that his nose-thumbing of our allies is in our nation’s best interests.

Allow me to shake my head for just a moment. There. I’m done.

Trump continues to lie and then talk about how he tries to tell the truth. He stokes fear about the “caravan,” calling it an “invasion” by grandparents, children, families frightened beyond measure about oppression and death; he wants to deploy thousands of troops to the southern border to “take control” of the region, to defend us against invading horde.

He wants to put himself on the ballot? Good! Bring it, Mr. President.

This really is the most important midterm election … ever!

Politicians say it all the time. It doesn’t matter their partisan affiliation — Republican or Democrat — they sing it off the same song sheet.

“This is the most important election in our history!”

That’s what they say. They might mean it. Or they might be saying just to fire up their respective supporters.

Guess what. I think this election, the 2018 midterm, actually is the most important midterm election in U.S. history.

What’s at stake? Plenty, man!

Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House. The executive branch, the White House gang, is being led by a man, Donald J. Trump, who doesn’t know what he’s doing. He entered the presidency without a lick of public service experience, let alone any interest. He is a dangerous fellow who doesn’t grasp the limits of his power, or how the government is designed to function.

The House of Representatives presents the Democrats with their greatest opportunity to seize the gavel from their GOP colleagues. They need to do precisely that if for no other reason on Earth to act as a check on the runaway agenda being pushed by Donald Trump and endorsed by a GOP congressional majority that is scared spitless of the president.

I am among those who believe the Senate is likely to remain in Republican hands when the ballots are counted next Tuesday. Indeed, it appears to be entirely possible that the Senate’s GOP majority might actually increase by a seat or two; Republicans occupy 51 seats at this moment, with Democrats (and two independents who favor the Dems) occupying 49 seats.

The House, however, must flip. It must act as a check on Trump and on the GOP members of Congress who give this seriously flawed president a pass on so many issues. They excuse his hideous behavior; they refuse to call him out vigorously when he refuses to condemn haters — such as the KKK and neo-Nazis; they roll over when he pushes for repeal of the Affordable Care Act or enact tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; they pledge to cut money for Medicare and Medicaid to help curb the spiraling annual federal budget deficit.

Divided government has worked in the past. Barack Obama had to work with a Congress led by the other party. So did George W. Bush. Same for Bill Clinton. Ditto for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

It lends a greater air of a need for compromise.

If the Democrats fall short on Tuesday, clearing the path for Trump and the GOP to run roughshod over the rest of us, well … we’re going to have hell to pay.

Yes, this is the most important midterm election in U.S. history.

O’Rourke attack on Cruz carries an implied promise

Beto O’Rourke has gone negative as his campaign against Ted Cruz heads down the stretch. The Democratic challenger wants to succeed the Republican incumbent in the U.S. Senate seat representing Texas.

O’Rourke hasn’t been nasty the way some candidates around the country have become.

I want to look briefly at one TV ad that’s getting a lot of air time in the final days of the midterm election campaign.

Beto says Cruz missed 25 percent of his Senate votes in 2015 and half of them in 2016. Why? Because Cruz was seeking the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

O’Rourke then asks rhetorically whether “your employer” would keep you on the job if you missed that much work. Good question. He makes a valid point.

Let me suggest, though, that Cruz was within his right to run for president. It’s always a gamble for an incumbent officeholder to campaign full-time for the nation’s highest office, given the amount of time he or she must spend away from the job for which he is being paid; in Cruz’s case, Texans and other Americans are shelling out $175,000 annually for representation in the U.S. Senate. That ain’t chump change, man.

Cruz and other incumbent officeholders need to be mindful of the job they don’t have time to do while they seek higher office.

O’Rourke’s complaint about Cruz’s absenteeism does suggest something else. It suggests to me that if O’Rourke wins the Senate seat next week and takes office next January, he is going to commit full time for the entire length of his Senate term to serving Texans and their needs.

As I understand it, O’Rourke already has made such a pledge on the stump as he campaigns around the state. Sen. Cruz hasn’t done so.

Hmm. I want my U.S. senator to be on the job all the time on my behalf.

Yep. I’m still with Beto.