Tag Archives: elections

Do elections have consquences? Yep, they sure do!

You’ve heard it said that “elections have consequences.”

Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States demonstrates it; he has appointed two justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, swinging the court balance to the right. Yes, the 2016 election has consequences.

So does the 2018 midterm congressional election. We saw the consequence of that election today. Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm election.

And today, the Democrats convened a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and received the testimony of Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, who then proceeded to tell the world that the president might have broken the law. How? By writing a reimbursement check for what might have constituted an illegal campaign expenditure relating to the payment to an adult film actress who allegedly had a fling with the future president.

We would have heard none of this today had Republicans maintained control of the House in the midterm election. They didn’t. The Democrats took control. They have the chairman’s gavels now.

Let there be no doubt that elections have consequences.

At times those consequences can be profound. I believe we witnessed one of those profound events today.

Every vote counts … in a big way!

Just when you thought your vote didn’t count …

Get a load of what happened in Virginia.

That state’s House of Delegates has flipped from Republican control to a 50-50 partisan deadlock on the basis of a single vote in a race for one of the delegate seats.

Incumbent Delegate David Yancey, a Republican, held a 10-vote lead in the race for his seat against Democrat Shelly Simonds. So they launched a recount as required under state law. They counted the ballots and Simonds has emerged the winner — by a single ballot. Simonds won with 11,608 votes to Yancey’s 11,607.

The GOP held a 51-49 majority in the House of Delegates. It’s now 50-50, or at least it will be when they certify the result of the recount. Virginia has no tie-breaking process in its House of Delegates. If one should occur on a piece of legislation, there needs to be some sort of power-sharing arrangement that the two parties will need to work out.

There is a huge lesson here. I’ve heard gripes over many years covering elections as a journalist from those who say “Why vote? My vote doesn’t matter. It doesn’t count.” These bystanders leave critical public policy decisions to others.

Locally, here in Amarillo, dismal voter turnouts long ago became the norm, to the voting public’s ever-lasting shame.

Does your vote matter? Does it count?

Uh, yeah. It does. In a major way. The balance of power in one of our states has just flipped because of a single ballot.

Still waiting for the mea culpa on ‘rigged election’

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Donald J. Trump leveled some pretty hideous accusations at local election officials throughout the country.

The president-elect said while campaigning for the highest office in the land that the election would be “rigged” against him … if he lost.

He, quite naturally, never uttered a peep about such corruption in the event he would win.

Well, he did. He won it fair and square.

Have we heard a sound from the winner about the “rigged” election process? Have we heard him say a word about how at times campaign rhetoric gets a bit overheated and that, well, he was trying to make some kind of political point?

Remember how Trump sought to excuse his anti-woman comments as mere “entertainment,” that he really had “great respect” for women and that he didn’t really mean what he said about how he judged women on their appearance?

He’s capable of taking back these statements, yes?

Trump ought to do so in this case.

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/opinions/editorials/article/EDITORIAL-Trump-s-triumph-proves-system-is-not-10605289.php

He’s likely to finish with more than 300 electoral votes. Hillary Rodham Clinton is likely to finish with more actual votes than Trump.

The system isn’t “rigged.” It never has been. The system has been run at the local level by dedicated public servants committed to ensuring the integrity of this cherished right of citizenship.

The man who benefited most from that system, the president-elect, owes them all an apology.

When in doubt, go with your gut

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A young friend of mine is going to vote this year for the first time in her life.

She is 23 years of age. She is torn over this election. Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? After visiting with her for a few minutes Tuesday, I concluded she is likely to vote for Trump.

But she said something I want to share here.

My friend said she is reluctant to vote for anyone without knowing all there is to know about the candidates, their views on public policy, their philosophy or their world view.

“I just don’t know what to do,” she said.

Her biggest concern about Clinton? Benghazi. My friend believes Clinton was responsible for the deaths that occurred there during that fire fight on Sept. 11, 2012. We tussled a bit over what Hillary knew in the moment, what she should have known and what she could have done to prevent it.

I told her later I’ve been voting for president since 1972. I cast my first vote that year with great pride and anticipation. That vote — the first one — still means more to me than all the other ballots I’ve cast.

“I voted for the guy who lost … big time,” I told her, “but it meant a great deal to me.”

When in doubt, I ended up telling my friend, “go with your gut.”

It doesn’t really matter that voters get their arms around every detail of every issue. All that matters, in my view, is that they feel comfortable in their own gut and heart with the choice they make.

Facing an unhappy choice this fall

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It’s time to make an admission.

Others already have said it, but I’ll chime in with this: The election this autumn presents the unhappiest choice I’ve ever faced since I voted in my first presidential election way back in 1972.

At this very moment, I am not yet rock-solid certain what I’m going to do when I go to the polling place.

Republicans have nominated a certifiable buffoon/goofball/fraud/con artist as their presidential nominee. Donald J. Trump is unqualified at every level one can mention to sit in the Oval Office and make decisions as our head of state and government.

Democrats have nominated someone who is far more qualified — on paper — than Trump. Hillary Rodham Clinton, though, is trying to face down that darn “trust” issue. Is she to be trusted implicitly to tell us the truth when we need to know it? That is where I am having trouble with her candidacy.

Who’s left? The Libertarian ticket led by former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, whose signature issue is to legalize marijuana? The Greens, led by Jill Stein?

I’ve already declared in this blog that Democrats have gotten my vote in every presidential election. The first presidential ballot I ever cast, for the late Sen. George McGovern, remains the vote of which I am most proud.

I happened to be — if my Marine Corps friends don’t object to my stealing their service’s motto — one of the “few, the proud” to vote for Sen. McGovern. Then came Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon two years later and one became hard-pressed to understand how it was that the president won by as large a landslide as he did.

The next election four years later gave me a bit of heartburn. I truly admired President Ford and I didn’t really feel comfortable with Jimmy Carter. Well, you know what happened, right?

I’ve been comfortable with my choices every election season since.

Until this one.

You can count me as one of the millions of Americans who’s unhappy with the choices we have. I’ll have made up my mind in time for Election Day.

I’ll just keep it to myself.

Early voting still not as good as Election Day

Here’s what I did this week. I voted early.

I’ve said it to anyone who’ll listen that I hate to vote early. I did it this week because next week I’m going to be busy throughout the entire Election Day.

I’ll be working as an exit pollster representing news gathering organizations: all the major cable networks, the broadcast networks and The Associated Press.

A polling research outfit has hired me to interview voters leaving the Randall County Courthouse Annex in south Amarillo. Their answers will be confidential and my goal is to give questionnaires to every other voter who leaves the annex. Good luck with that.

So, I voted early at the annex.

It still isn’t nearly as much fun as standing in line on Election Day, chatting with fellow voters and awaiting my turn to cast a ballot on one of those fancy-shmancy electronic voting machines.

There remains a certain pageantry to voting. People in countries where voting isn’t the norm have stood for hours, even days, waiting to do their civic duty. Surely you remember the 1994 presidential election in South Africa, the one that elected Nelson Mandela. Black South Africans who never before had been given the opportunity to vote stood in line for days awaiting their turn at the polling place. Imagine something like that happening here.

I didn’t vote in all the races. I left some of them blank. Rather than just cast a vote against someone because I don’t like their views or their party’s views, I didn’t vote for candidates about which I know too little.

Yes, I split my ballot. I cast votes for some Republicans as well as Democrats.

I feel good that my vote has been recorded. It’ll be spit out when the polls close Election Night at 7.

Having declared to you all that I’ve actually voted, I hereby reserve the right to gripe when the folks who actually win take office and fail to run things the way I want them run.