Tag Archives: presidential elections

Peaceful transition?

I recently had a chance to watch snippets of every presidential concession speech dating back to 1960.

They all had one message in common. Whether the losing presidential candidate lost by a lot or a little, they all spoke of the marvelous element of our democratic process that has made us proud: that we should honor the results of an election, no matter how much it hurts.

Some of the presidential losers lost by landslides or near-landslides: Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, John McCain. They all pledged their support for the men who beat them. Others lost by just a little: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Al Gore, John Kerry, Mitt Romney, Hubert Humphrey, Hillary Clinton. They, too, honored the victors by offering their support.

Where am I going with this? One name is missing. As I listened to all the losing presidential candidates, I was struck by the grace and the class all the losing candidates exhibited in that moment of pain.

Concession Speeches: So Hard To Say Goodbye | NBC News – YouTube

Donald J. Trump didn’t exhibit either of those traits after the 2020 election. His refusal to concede that he lost an election has scarred the democratic process he swore an oath to protect and defend.

This individual’s behavior in that moment when defeat was declared will stand in my mind as the glaring testimony to his utter lack of character. It is the kind of behavior that illustrates in graphic detail this man’s complete and absolute unfitness for the very job he occupied for four years.

I have watched along with the rest of the country how he has denigrated the office with his insults and epithets. Many of those incidents individually would be enough to disqualify this man from public office.

I will circle back, though, to The Big Lie he keeps repeating and his refusal to honor the tradition we all — and this hurts to say it — seemingly had taken for granted. Which was that the individual who loses a presidential election concedes with grace, and we move on to the next steward of the nation’s executive branch of government.

Trump’s absence from that list of concessions is unforgivable.


City takes correct course with propositions


I understand fully Americans’ disgust with the presidential election process.

It’s too long. It’s too costly. It’s too negative.

Contrast that, though, with how local governments do the job of engaging in the political process.

In Amarillo, the City Council and the senior municipal staff have done it the right way in the run-up to the Nov. 8 general election.

City Hall has placed seven propositions on the municipal ballot. They all total about $340 million. They cover a multitude of projects that the city has deemed necessary. State law, though, prohibits city officials from campaign actively for these projects. They include such things as street repair, Civic Center improvements, athletic complex improvements, parks, public safety and fleet vehicles.

Here they are: http://amarillo.gov/pdf/CIP_list_for_ballot_resolution.pdf

I’ve commented on several of the propositions and will offer more comment on others in the days ahead.

My point today, though, is to offer a good word to the city for the way it chose to present these items.

Voters have the option of approving all, some or none of the measures. To that end, I congratulate City Hall for breaking these projects down in definable elements, giving voters the chance to decide which of these projects is important.

The city would issue certificates of obligation to pay for them. The level of increased property taxes would depend on how many of the ballot measures get voters’ endorsement in November.

This is good government at work. As I’ve noted many times in the past, it is at this level — the local level — where government has the most tangible impact on the lives of those who pay for it.

The city, to its credit, is acting as though it recognizes that reality.

No mandatory vote law needed, Mr. President


Barack Obama is frustrated at the political division and the apparent apathy among voters in the United States.

I share the president’s frustration.

However, I don’t share his enthusiasm for a suggested remedy.

Make voting mandatory, he said in a speech at the University of Chicago law school.

The Australians  do it right, he said, by requiring citizens to vote. He said such a requirement would be “transformative” by boosting turnouts to the 70 to 80 percent range.

There are ways to encourage turnout without making citizens do it, Mr. President.

We could declare Election Day a national holiday. Give everyone a day off from work to vote. That’s an idea.

As for mandatory voting, the U.S. Constitution grants us the right to vote. It doesn’t specify it as a condition of citizenship. Our rights as citizens depend on whether we choose to take full advantage of them.

I am proud to vote. I almost always wait to do so on Election Day, whether it’s in the primary or in the general election. There’s just something ham-handed and, dare I say, dictatorial in declaring that Americans must vote.

I also lament the pitiful voter turnouts. Only 53.6 percent of Americans voted for president in 2012. The Australian turnout was greater than 90 percent in its most recent general election. Yes, that is vastly better than our own electoral performance.

“We really are the only advanced democracy on Earth that systematically and purposely makes it really hard for people to vote,” Obama told the law students.

That might be true. There are many options out there to make it easier for Americans to vote. Writing that requirement into law isn’t one of them.

We must remain free to vote — or not vote — as we see fit.

For better or worse, that’s the American way.

Mandatory voting? Bad idea, Mr. President

President Obama believes big money has too much influence in determining who gets elected.

I agree with him.

He also suggests that mandatory voting is a constructive reform that would counteract big money’s pervasive idea.

I disagree with that idea.


The president spoke at a town hall and pitched the idea of requiring citizens to vote to an audience. He said other countries require it. He cited Australia as one example.

Allow me to argue that one of the many aspects of “American exceptionalism” is the notion that Americans are free to vote or not vote. We proclaim our love of liberty and while I bemoan constantly the hideous voter turnouts — particularly in state and local elections — I remain enough of an optimist to think we can browbeat complacent citizens to get off their duffs and vote.

We elect presidents with, say, 60 percent turnouts. Political scientists are happy to see that kind of turnout. I find it disgraceful. That means 40 percent of the eligible population doesn’t care enough to vote for those seeking to lead the greatest nation on Earth.

But should we force people to vote?

I’m dubious of that requirement. The freedoms we enjoy should include the freedom to be apathetic. It’s individuals’ call.

Besides, requiring people to vote removes the great political putdown that many Americans — myself included — are proud to utter when the situation presents itself: If you haven’t voted, then keep your trap shut.

But, yes, the president is correct about one aspect of his remarks. Big money wields way too much power.

We’re polling ourselves to sleep

This just in: Hillary Rodham Clinton might win Georgia’s electoral votes if the election were held today.

Got that? But here’s the kicker. The next presidential election ain’t happening until November 2016. That’s more than three years from now. As the saying goes, it might be a dozen lifetimes away from now. Heck, it might be a hundred, or a thousand lifetimes.


It’s all kind of interesting, I suppose, to release these polls on the spot. But they matter not one little bit in the grand scheme.

HRC might not run. I’m betting she will, though, especially when she sees polls that show her putting places like Georgia in play. President Obama lost the state in 2012, but not by landslide proportions.

So much of this polling just feeds the frustration some of us out here in Flyover Country have about the national political media. They’re obsessed with the horse race aspect of these campaigns. Yes, they do cover the issues — such as what candidates say about the economy, national defense, the environment, the big stuff.

The public seems to demand so much of this horse race coverage that the media fall into the trap of reporting on all these polls even when there still are years remaining until the next election.

Enough of the polling, already.