Most frightening creature …


Earth’s most frightening creature doesn’t roam the African plains in search of wildebeest or zebra. It doesn’t prowl the jungles of India looking for sambar or wild boar. Nor does it roam the Rocky Mountains preying on elk, moose or migrating salmon, or swim under the ocean surface searching for unsuspecting surfers.

Oh, no. The planet’s most frightening being sits in living rooms all across the land, lying to public opinion pollsters about who will get his or her vote for president of the United States next week.

Yep. Those folks scare the crap out of me!

How many of them are out there? How many will surface on Election Day to cast their votes for Donald Trump after telling pollsters they either are undecided or will vote for Joe Biden?

As frightening as that prospect seems, I tend to think their numbers are a bit overstated. I mean, who would hide their voting preference to a stranger who doesn’t broadcast individuals’ names, or plaster them on campaign pamphlets?

We cast our votes in secret. No one is entitled to know how we vote. So to my way of thinking there’s a bit of a disconnect between how folks vote and whether they fib when asked by pollsters.

Still, the prospect of a potential hidden vote out there gives me the creeps. I get the nervous jerks when I think of the notion that they’ll rise up en masse and re-elect the most unqualified, unfit and undeserving man ever elected to the nation’s highest office.

With that I am going to remain cautiously optimistic — with the emphasis on cautiously — that we are going to see a major course correction occur on Election Day.

Thus, I intend to sleep well over the weekend. However, I cannot guarantee how I will sleep the night before we start counting all those ballots.

Texas in the presidential mix … who knew?


It’s so nice to see the nation talking positively about Texas, which — to be candid — isn’t usually the case in this modern world.

We usually find ourselves on the front pages when there’s a mass shooting at a church, shopping mall or a school; or when the state’s Republican Party hierarchy doesn’t something stupid.

These days, Texas is the talk of the nation. Why? Because we are setting the early-voting pace that other states are trying to match.

I saw a report tonight that said Texans have cast nearly 86 percent of all the ballots we cast in the 2016 election. We still have two days to go before the end of early voting; plus, we have Election Day balloting.

What does this mean? It could mean that Texas will be among the leaders in voter turnout when we count all the presidential election ballots rather than among the worst-performing states.

This is good news at any level I can imagine.

I said for years when I was writing opinion pieces for newspapers in Amarillo and Beaumont that one of the keys to good government must be vast voter participation. I used to caution residents of both communities about the danger of letting others make key political decisions for them; they might not share your views, I would say.

It looks for all the world that in Texas, as well as in many states, that voters are taking these get-out-the-vote pleas quite seriously.

It fills me with pride to hear the media talk about Texas’s pace-setting early vote totals in tones that suggest that other states should emulate what we are doing here.

In the middle of the fight


My wife and I moved two years ago from a remote region of Texas into the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex … and this election season is giving us a lesson in the difference between the region.

It lies in the volume of political ads we get plastered on our TV sets throughout any given day.

The Metroplex straddles multiple congressional and Texas legislative districts. The region’s TV stations broadcast far and wide, which means the candidates running for office must use the stations to broadcast their message.

We have no fewer than eight congressional districts being contested here. I have lost count of the legislative districts. When we watch our evening programming and they break for “commercials,” we can watch at least five, maybe six, political ads in that span of time. Next break? More of the same, quite often with the same ads!

Compare that with our TV viewing in the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo is in the midst of the 13th Congressional District. The region has four legislative districts. Here, though, is the rub: The legislative districts rarely feature two-party contests, with Republicans vs. Democrats. It’s usually just a GOP walk-over. So, we get none of the local pressure.

Of course, too, we have a hotly contested U.S. Senate race in 2020. GOP Sen. John Cornyn is fighting hard against Democratic challenger M.J. Hegar and the two of them are going hammer-and-tong against each other over the air.

Then we have the presidential race. Joe Biden is running ahead of Donald Trump and the tone and tenor of their respective ads reflect their relative standing in the polling.

Trump has gone all negative. Biden? He is telling us about his compassion and his pledge to be a president for “all Americans,” including those who don’t vote for him. I know that in most cases “negativity works,” but in this instance I am drawn more to the positive nature of the former VP’s TV ad spots.

What does all this mean? It means I am waiting anxiously for an end to this maelstrom. By all means I am hoping that the contest at the top of the ballot ends correctly … if you get my drift!

Texas is voting early, but … wait


Here is some good news and some, oh, wait-and-see news.

The Texas Tribune reports that as of Monday, 46 percent of Texas registered voters had cast their ballots. Early voting ends on Friday. The good news is that the tally so far exceeds the total percentage of early votes cast in Texas during the 2016 presidential election.

Is this reason to rejoice, that Texas finally is going to finish far from the bottom of all states in voter turnout? I am not yet going to do that.

You see, what too often happens is that greater early vote totals do not necessarily translate into greater total vote turnout. It means only that more folks vote early. Period.

There well might be a change in this year’s vote total, given the enormous effort being expended chiefly by Democratic operatives to gin up the early vote. The message likely is being heard in Texas.

Harris County smashed early vote records. Same with Dallas and Travis counties. All of them are strong Democratic bastions. What’s more, even heavy GOP-leaning counties reported record number of voters casting their ballots early.

All of this is causing many folks to consider Texas to be a “battleground” or tossup state as the campaign staggers its way toward the finish line.

I am heartened by the early vote turnout. I am not yet willing to cheer until we get all the ballots counted at the end of this arduous Election Season.

Turning the COVID corner? Hah!


OK, Mr. President, let’s lay it on the table, shall we?

You keep saying we are “turning the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic. That is a lie. Which isn’t a surprise, given your penchant for lying.

Damn near every state in the Union is experiencing an increase in coronavirus infections. Yes, some of those states see a decline in deaths, which of course is good news.

But for criminy sakes, dude, stop lying about “turning the corner.” We aren’t turning anything resembling a corner in this fight.

Joe Biden has built his electoral lead on the back of your consistent denial over the seriousness of the killer disease. Holy cow, man! Didn’t your own infection, or the infections of your wife and son, Barron, teach you anything? Don’t answer that. I know it didn’t.

I’m glad you’re better. I am particularly glad to know that the first lady and young Barron are OK, too. Your cavalier attitude about the coronavirus, though, only proves your unfitness for the office you want to keep.

So, with that I guess I could ask you to keep up the charade.

Many millions of us know better than to buy into the nonsense you seek to peddle.

No watch party this time, but interest remains keen


My wife and I got an invitation four years ago to attend a presidential Election Night watch party at our friends’ home in Amarillo.

We arrived full of optimism that we would witness history, with the election of the first woman ever as president of the United States.

What occurred, as you know, wiped the smiles off our faces.

We won’t attend any watch parties this year. The COVID crisis has taken care of that bit of Election Night activity. We’ll stay home in Princeton and watch the returns as they unfold during the night.

Our interest in this election, though, far exceeds what we thought we felt in 2016. Why? Because the individual who won last time — and who had no business occupying the most exalted public office on Earth — has been a disaster … to borrow a term that Donald Trump likes using.

I remain baffled in the extreme at how Trump has managed to hang onto that base of voters who continue to cheer his lies, his feints, his bob-and-weave answers. They either are too ignorant to think for themselves or they know he’s lying but give him a pass because he, um, “is telling it like it is.”

I need to restate what I have said already throughout this election season: Joe Biden is not the guy I wanted initially to win the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States. I had hoped for someone new, someone fresh and someone with an entirely different approach to governance.

Biden survived the sausage grinder of the Democratic primary. He withstood a grilling from his fellow Democrats. He survived the crucible and now is challenging the individual who I have deemed the most unfit, unqualified, undeserving individual ever elected to the nation’s highest office. Donald Trump fooled just enough of ’em to win the Electoral College vote in 2016.

We won’t gather with friends this year. We will be watching with even more intensity this year than we did the previous time.

Oh, how I yearn for a different outcome.

A cure for Trump fatigue?


I am suffering from a potentially terminal illness.

It’s called Donald Trump fatigue. I am tired, weary and downright exhausted by Donald Trump’s presence on the national political stage. The only sure-fire cure for the ailment is for Joseph Biden to whip his a** on Nov. 3, to send him to Mar-a-Lago, Fla.

Now, when I say “sure-fire cure for the ailment,” I don’t mean to suggest that a Trump defeat on Election Day will rid the country of his presence. I do mean to say, though, that I intend fully to devote the teeny-tiniest fraction of my time and attention to whatever he has to say. He will be irrelevant.

I understand fully that the stars have to align properly for Biden to defeat Trump. I hope they are lining up as we sit here. Biden’s poll numbers look positive … at this moment. I am still stinging from the stunning upset Trump pulled off in 2016 when he defeated another frontrunning Democrat to be elected president.

So, with that I am hoping for all I am worth to be cured of the fatigue that has worn me out. Rest assured, however, that this blog will keep up the barrage for as long as Donald Trump is in office and for as long as he continues to embarrass and shame the country he was elected to lead.

GOP wins SCOTUS battle; however …


It’s done.

The U.S. Senate’s Republican majority had its way with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was confirmed in a 52-48 vote. Not a single Democratic senator voted “yes” on this travesty; one Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, voted “no.”

The GOP Senate majority can now look back on the hypocrisy it displayed in jamming this nomination through to confirmation. Many of the Senate Republicans who endorsed Barrett’s nomination said four years ago that no president should be allowed to fill a SCOTUS seat during an election year.

Yet here we are today. Barrett will take her oath and join the court, delivering a solid right-wing conservative majority to the court possibly for decades. Then she well might get to decide whether this election should stand. Hmm. Imagine how she’s going to rule in a case involving the individual who nominated her to the nation’s highest court and who might challenge an election result that delivers a seeming victory to Joseph Biden.

The process that produced Justice Barrett simply stinks beyond measure.

It is known that “elections have consequences.” We have seen the consequence of electing one Donald J. Trump to the presidency, which is the confirmation of a third nominee to the highest court in America.

I do hope the next electoral consequence will be Donald Trump’s defeat next week.

‘We can’t control the virus’


Mark Meadows doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

He told CNN this weekend that “We can’t control” the pandemic that has killed 220,000 Americans and sickened millions more of us.

Really, Mr. White House Chief of Staff? We can’t control a virus that has been controlled quite effectively in nations all across the globe. Has he looked at what they have done in, say, Taiwan? Or Greece? Or Costa Rica? Those countries took the virus by the throat at the outset and have reported a fraction of the misery that has occurred in much of the rest of the world, including the United States.

Think of the idiocy that flew out of Meadows’s pie hole. We live in the nation with the world’s greatest researchers, the greatest medical technology, the most wherewithal to devote to fighting this disease. The White House chief of staff says we can’t control the virus?

What then does this say about the feel-good message that Donald J. Trump keeps offering. Doesn’t he say categorically that the pandemic is “under control”? Yep. He does. Oh, wait! The nation’s top politician doesn’t know what he’s talking about, either.

So here we are. We have an ignorant president saying we have a disease under control when we do not; we also have a White House chief of staff say we cannot gain control over a disease … when we damn well certainly could do so.

May we please banish this ignorance from the White House at the end of Election Day?

Texas becomes ‘battleground’? Who knew?


I won’t even think about predicting that Joe Biden is going to win Texas’s 38 electoral votes next month.

However, it is fascinating in the uber-extreme to think that this longstanding Republican bastion has become a battleground state in this year’s presidential election.

The Dallas Morning News/University of Texas-Tyler this past weekend published a public opinion survey that says Joe Biden holds a narrow lead over Donald Trump. Biden is up 3 percent over Trump in Texas — with just eight days to go before the election.

Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris is coming to Texas to campaign. Yes, just a bit more than week out from the election and we’re getting an up-close look at one of the major-party candidates for national office. And she’s a Democrat!

Granted, Texas isn’t going to be trampled by candidates the way, say, Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin will be pounded. Still, Texas has emerged from the ranks of those states that get zero attention from the presidential campaign teams.

Any of the Pacific Coast states are seen as Democratic bastions. Democrats take voters there for granted; Republicans realize Oregon, Washington and California are lost causes. Conversely, voters in Oklahoma, Utah, the Dakotas or Wyoming won’t see the candidates in the flesh. Republicans take those folks for granted; Democrats know they can’t win there.

Texas has become arguably the biggest prize on the national political map.

I have longed for this moment. I hope the state can flip this year, from GOP to Democrat. I don’t dare predict such a thing will occur.

It surely is fun to watch this spectacle unfold in real time.