An­other smooth elec­tion round

The Oklahoman - - OPINION -

THE 1,184,355 votes cast in the gov­er­nor’s race this year were the most all time for a gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion in Ok­la­homa. Over­all, the state Elec­tion Board says, more than 56 per­cent of regis­tered vot­ers cast a bal­lot.

And for the most part, ev­ery­thing went as planned. Some vot­ers re­ported ma­chines that weren’t work­ing, but those prob­lems were fixed quickly. (As usual, the state’s op­ti­cal scan­ning ma­chines gen­er­ated the re­sults quickly.) Vot­ing at one precinct in Ok­la­homa City be­gan about 30 min­utes late be­cause vol­un­teers hadn’t been given a key to the build­ing.

These were small pota­toes com­pared with some parts of the coun­try. Three-hour waits were re­ported in parts of Ge­or­gia. Bro­ken bal­lot scan­ners were re­ported at sev­eral polling places in New York City. “There are bro­ken scan­ners ev­ery­where in Brook­lyn,” a bor­ough of­fi­cial lamented.

In Sara­sota County, Florida, one precinct re­mained closed for about an hour be­cause its bal­lots weren’t avail­able. Com­puter prob­lems check­ing in vot­ers led to long waits in one In­di­ana county. Also in In­di­ana, a judge or­dered a dozen polling places to stay open late be­cause vot­ing didn’t start as sched­uled.

An­other elec­tion has come and gone, and once again Ok­la­homans have rea­son to be pleased with the state’s vot­ing pro­ce­dures.

No truth in po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­tis­ing

State Rep. Ge­orge Faught lost his re-elec­tion bid this year af­ter be­ing tar­geted by a dark money group that sought to oust con­ser­va­tives. Faught, R-Musko­gee, re­cently posted a com­men­tary about the tenor of many cam­paigns, which he said are not run on “ideas, prin­ci­ples or deeply held con­vic­tions,” but on “vi­cious at­tacks, slan­der, and lies.” “How many times have we seen ‘suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man,’ ‘man of faith,’ ‘one of us,’ or a host of other catch phrases that we know are not true?” Faught asked. “It is sur­pris­ing how many peo­ple claim to be a farmer, rancher or dairy­man who has never walked through the ma­nure, milked a cow or had to use chains to pull a calf when the cow was hav­ing an is­sue.” He bluntly noted there’s no “truth in ad­ver­tis­ing” guar­an­tee in pol­i­tics. Some may dis­miss those com­ments as sour grapes, but Faught’s ar­gu­ment will ring true to many.

Re­strict­ing tax in­creases

Na­tion­ally, one in­ter­est­ing bal­lot mea­sure de­cided this week was Florida’s Amend­ment 5, which re­quires the sup­port of two-thirds of the mem­bers in each cham­ber of the leg­is­la­ture to en­act new taxes or fees or in­crease ex­ist­ing ones. The mea­sure was placed on the bal­lot, with bi­par­ti­san sup­port, by Florida law­mak­ers. Ok­la­homa has a sim­i­lar con­sti­tu­tional mea­sure that re­quires three-fourths leg­isla­tive sup­port for tax in­creases (un­less tax hikes are placed be­fore vot­ers), but it doesn’t ap­ply to fee in­creases, un­like Florida’s Amend­ment 5. In Florida, a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment must re­ceive the sup­port of 60 per­cent of vot­ers to be adopted. Amend­ment 5 re­ceived nearly 66 per­cent sup­port. Florida joins 15 other states with sim­i­lar con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tions. Ok­la­homa’s elec­torate is seen as far more con­ser­va­tive than Florida’s vot­ers, but it seems Ok­la­homans aren’t the only ones who want their law­mak­ers’ hands tied some­what when it comes to rais­ing taxes.

De­fy­ing norms

In most midterm elec­tions, the party that holds the pres­i­dency loses seats in Con­gress. That was the case this year in the U.S. House, where Democrats flipped enough dis­tricts to re­gain con­trol, although the swing was not as dra­matic as what oc­curred un­der Pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Barack Obama in the 1994 and 2010 midterm elec­tions, re­spec­tively. But in this year’s U.S. Se­nate races, Repub­li­cans ac­tu­ally en­joyed a net in­crease in seats. This was in line with most pre­dic­tions, but still an un­usual oc­cur­rence. The last time the party in power in­creased its grip on the Se­nate in a midterm elec­tion was in 2002, when Ge­orge W. Bush was near the height of his anti-ter­ror­ism pop­u­lar­ity. Af­ter that, you have to go back to 1970 to find an­other ex­am­ple. Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent de­fied many po­lit­i­cal norms. It seems Se­nate midterm elec­tions un­der Trump have done the same.

No apol­ogy re­quested

In the fi­nal days of this year’s po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns, Pete David­son of “Satur­day Night Live” de­cided to mock Dan Cren­shaw, a Re­pub­li­can con­gres­sional can­di­date in Texas, be­cause Cren­shaw wears an eye patch. David­son quipped that peo­ple “may be sur­prised” to learn Cren­shaw is a po­lit­i­cal can­di­date “and not a hit man in a porno movie.” Cren­shaw lost his eye to an ex­plo­sive while serv­ing as a Navy SEAL. To his credit, Cren­shaw said there was no need for David­son to apol­o­gize, say­ing, “I want us to get away from this cul­ture where we de­mand an apol­ogy ev­ery time some­one mis­s­peaks.” Cren­shaw did ad­vise David­son that “veter­ans across the coun­try prob­a­bly don’t feel as though their wounds they re­ceived in bat­tle should be the sub­ject of a bad punch line.” The sad­dest thing about this af­fair is that David­son and SNL ap­par­ently needed that ad­vice.

Lik­a­bil­ity ver­sus com­pe­tence

Mark Penn, a poll­ster and for­mer ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, notes in a col­umn that vot­ers had a split per­cep­tion of his old boss, ap­prov­ing of Clin­ton’s job per­for­mance (“Oval Of­fice Clin­ton”) and dis­ap­prov­ing of his per­sonal be­hav­ior (“Satur­day night Clin­ton”). He sees sim­i­lar trends with Pres­i­dent Trump. A re­cent Har­vard Caps/Har­ris Poll found 57 per­cent ap­prove of the job Trump is do­ing on the econ­omy (“eco­nomic Trump”); just 27 per­cent per­son­ally like Trump (“Twit­ter Trump”). Penn ar­gues that this week’s elec­tions showed which part of the Trump “split” mo­ti­vated vot­ers the most. This may prove true through­out the re­main­der of the Trump pres­i­dency. That said, good per­sonal rat­ings don’t guar­an­tee suc­cess. Penn noted for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush was “the guy ev­ery­one wanted to have a beer with,” but his job ap­proval still fell to the 20s and he was “la­beled a war crim­i­nal and an id­iot.”

Lyric lu­nacy

How loath­some is Don­ald Trump for some peo­ple? Con­sider this ex­am­ple. In the na­tional tour of “Hello, Dolly!” a lyric that in­cludes the word “trump” has been changed out of the blue. Gregg Opelka, a mu­si­cal the­ater com­poser and lyri­cist in Chicago, notes that in Dolly Levi’s first song, she should sing, “My aplomb at cos­metic art turned a frump to a trump lady fair” – with “trump” mean­ing “ex­em­plary.” In­stead, in the tour­ing show, she sings, “My aplomb at cos­metic art turned a frump to a great lady fair.” Opelka wrote in The Wall Street Jour­nal that, “some­one de­cided to spare ei­ther the ac­tress from ut­ter­ing or the au­di­ence from hear­ing the sur­name of our 45th pres­i­dent. What other mo­ti­va­tion could lurk be­hind this id­i­otic de­ci­sion?” The an­swer is, there is none.

Bill Clin­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.