Saturday, August 13, 2022
Aug. 13, 2022

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Press Talk: Election work in progress


Some election observations:

Chief chooch

Tuesday wasn’t just Election Day where I spend my winters; it was also take the trash out to the curb day. No kidding!

Do you see any metaphor possibilities there?

I get that it “looks” like it’s over and I get that the courts could make this country a complete mess … but the people have spoken.

The people have effectively kicked Donald Trump to the curb.

Now, there is no greater master at living in Spinsville than our president and his enablers. (Yes, all voters are enablers of their candidates.) But Trump is the king. When he thought he could keep the coronavirus numbers low he said he would be doing great if only 60,000 died. As that milestone was surpassed he kept moving the goalposts. When his incremental moves got tiring he simply threw up his hands and said if he could keep deaths under 2 million … why he’d have done good!

With votes he’s doing the same thing. He rambles about how the polls had him way down, so because he didn’t get blown out he’s kind of the winner. On Friday, three days after the election, Trump Wisconsin supporters were asking Pennsylvania Trump supporters to mail in more ballots, I guess to try and create more confusion.

Yeah, right.

And if you were able to stomach his prime time propaganda stunt on Thursday (I know NBC national news shut him off before he was finished and USA Today shut down its livestream) it was unconscionable. He attacked all things valued in democracy. Republicans should immediately denounce him for all of these stunts. Are you listening, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler? Country over party.

Trump has been very open about not being a good loser. That’s now on full display.

No matter what happens, this country must make a deliberate attempt to heal and come together. It’s a long shot. But with the chief chooch hopefully on his way out, at least we have a shot.

A Long shot

Speaking of long shots, that’s what Democrat Carolyn Long was in her congressional race against the above-mentioned Herrera Beutler. I don’t personally know Long, but I’ve seen her speak and have watched her debate. She’s bright, articulate, personable and knows the issues. There is not much to complain about from my perspective. Now she’s also something else: A two-time loser. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with that. One of the brightest guys of his era, Adlai Stevenson, lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.

Truth is, I’ve come around on this losing thing. Most of us — including me — can tell almost immediately if a candidate has any chance of winning. It ain’t rocket science. And I’ve often asked candidates during my newspaper career why they couldn’t see what I see: They’re going to lose.

They usually kind of smile, show some minor offense about being asked that, then proceed to say they don’t believe they are going to lose.

Then they lose.

But I now see there is much more to running for office than winning. The journey is an important one. It could push the opponent to the center to gain more votes. And it also builds a candidate’s brand.

Still, despite Long’s high qualifications, she shouldn’t run against Herrera Beutler a third time. Frankly, unless Herrera Beutler does something stupid like say she’s going to vote for Trump (oh, never mind) I see no Democratic candidate seriously challenging her.

Long should either look at other offices or move. What, you don’t think plenty of ambitious political types move to friendlier stomping grounds? It happens ALL the time. There are plenty of examples in Clark County.

I say this because I would like to see Long serve as an elected official.

I wish both Long and Herrera Beutler well. And Jaime, I’d argue you would have won by even more if you had said you weren’t in Trump’s camp. Please think about your moderate image.

Reviewing the charter

It’s been six years since Clark County voted to run under a charter. The charter simply means rather than running under the cookie-cutter outline the state provides to all counties, you get to mostly make your own rules. Now it’s time to revisit what was put in place back then.

I know this issue fairly well and wrote a bunch of columns on it when it was approved. Honestly, I would have never thought having more elected officials was a good thing, but after seeing what kind of damage only three county commissioners were able to do, I quickly supported the idea that you have a better shot at less chaos with five (now council) members than three. For me that was the biggest change the charter gave the county.

So here’s hoping all those who were elected to review the charter tweak it and improve it. The slight concern? Once you open this process, anything can happen. So please behave or I might have to send you all a few “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” mugs.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor emeritus. His column of personal opinion appears the first Saturday of every month.


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