Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

John Bayard Anderson

John Anderson, a moderate Republican congressman back in the day when there still were moderate Republicans, ran for President in 1980 against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter, the Democrat, and the Republican standard-bearer, Ronald Reagan. Of course, the former actor and California governor beat the former peanut farmer and Georgia governor by over 8.4 million votes cast.

Reagan also won an absolute majority of the voters (50.75%) to 41.01% for Carter. Anderson, who died recently, received 6.61% of the ballots. And 1.63% of the people, including, BTW, me, voted for someone else. So those who oppose the Electoral College – the system where all electoral votes go to each state winner – should be satisfied with the results, right?

But under the EC rules, was John Anderson really a spoiler, as some have suggested? 270 electoral votes are needed to be elected.

States won by Carter: DC-3, GA-12, HI-4, MD-10, MN-10, RI-4, WV-6 = 49 electoral votes.

States won by Reagan with more than 50% of the vote: AK-3, AZ-6, CA-45, CO-7, FL-17, ID-4, IN-13, IA-8, IA-8, KS-7, LA-10, MO-12, MT-4, NE-5, NV-3, NH-4, NJ-17, NM-4, ND-3, OH-25, OK-8, SD-4, TX-26, UT-4, VA-12, WY-3 = 263 electoral votes.

So if you add the states where the difference between Reagan votes and Carter votes is greater than the Anderson votes, the Republican easily hits 270. In Alabama, for instance, Reagan bat Carter 48.75% to 47.45%, a difference of only 1.3%. But Anderson only managed to scrape up 1.23% of the votes, with others garnering 2.57%. 9 electoral votes to the Republican anyway.

Anderson did very well in the Pacific Northwest, getting 9.51% of the vote in Oregon and 10.62% in Washington. Yet the difference between Reagan and Carter was 9.66% and 12.34% respectively, meaning those 6 and 9 electoral votes were destined for the GOP column.

Even Illinois, Anderson’s home state, fell into that column. Reagan, who grew up in the Land of Lincoln, got 49.65% of the vote compared with Carter’s 41.72%. Anderson’s 7.3% is less than the 7.93% of the major party candidates. 26 electoral votes solid for the Gipper.

This is not to say Anderson wasn’t a spoiler in some states. In New York, Reagan beat Carter by 2.67% but Anderson got 7.54% of the votes. AR, CT, DE, KY, ME, MA, MI, MS, NC, TN, VT, and WI theoretically COULD have gone to Carter if it weren’t for Anderson. It would not have mattered to the outcome.

Ashley Bennett

It is very easy for me to focus on all the bad news going on. But there are stories recently that really pleased me, and I should note that fact occasionally:

ITEM: A whole bunch of diverse people were elected in November, often with a dollop of irony.

Voters in Helena, Montana, elected Wilmot Collins, a former refugee from Liberia, as their mayor, in a state where the issue of refugees have sparked political tension.

Ashley Bennett defeated John Carman for the Atlantic County, NJ freeholder seat. “Carman posted a meme on the day of the Women’s March [on January 21, 2017 with]… the message, ‘Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?'” This inspired Bennett to run against him. She had been targeted on a white supremacist blog for saying the Confederate flag has no place in New Jersey.

Danica Roem will be the first openly transgender woman to win a seat for the House of Delegates in Virginia, beating Bob Marshall, the state’s self-proclaimed “chief homophobe.”

And there were other groundbreaking elections.

ITEM: “The Walt Disney Company lifted its ban of Los Angeles Times critics from its press screenings after a widespread backlash prompted several media outlets to announce their own boycotts of Disney movies,” The Associated Press reported.

Disney was ticked by the Times’ September reporting on its relationship with the local municipalities, stating that the company received unwarranted assist from local governments on taxes, subsidies, and rent. Disney said the series was “biased and inaccurate…, wholly driven by a political agenda.”

“Disney’s punitive measures against the Times led to many outlets refusing advance coverage of the studio’s films, including The New York Times (which called Disney’s ban a ‘dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest’), the Boston Globe and The A.V. Club.

Multiple critics groups announced they would bar Disney films from awards consideration, “hammering the company for choosing to punish journalists ‘rather than express its disagreement with a business story via ongoing public discussion. Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.'”

ITEM: In October, state trooper Ryan Sceviour arrested Alli Bibaud for driving under the influence. “Bibaud is the daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud.”

Sceviour’s initial arrest report said Bibaud told officers she got the drugs in exchange for sex. The report also said Bibaud claimed her father was a judge and offered Sceviour sex in exchange for leniency.

Trooper Sceviour filed a lawsuit alleging that after he arrested Bibaud near Worcester, “he was told to revise the arrest report to remove the references to sex and Bibaud’s father so as not to embarrass the judge.”

Colonel Richard McKeon, the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, who reportedly ordered the trooper to remove the embarrassing information, retired.

On her 70th birthday, my thoughts about Hillary Rodham Clinton, who I did vote for in the 2016 general election for President after backing Bernie Sanders in the New York State primary:

I’ve been watching her on her tour this year and I believe this is true: “Most of the tabloid criticism of the book suggests the book is an effort to shift blame elsewhere. That is complete bs. It is difficult to imagine any author more directly and completely accepting responsibility directly — and not just once, but throughout.”

It’s my fault Trump is President.” Follow the Vox interview.

But there seems to be a concerted effort to keep her in the woods, to get her to gracefully bow of public life, NOT to speak on International Women’s Day, NOT to speak at the Wellesley College commencement, NOT to go on a book tour.

As Dan Rather declared, “If you don’t like Hillary, don’t buy the book—it’s her prerogative to write it.” Or as the Boston Globe put it: Hate on Hillary, but she’s right about Trump. “You don’t have to like her. But don’t settle for a less than full reckoning of what happened to her.”

Hillary Clinton noted that the Donald was “creepy” in stalking her during one of the debates but that her cool reserve
wouldn’t allow her say anything to him at the time.

Rebecca Solnit notes: Don’t call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her. “Years of Republican plots, an opponent deified by television, and FBI smears stood in her way – and she still won the popular vote by more than Kennedy did.”

Joe Conason stated: “Now everyone knows that the Washington press corps dislikes and distrusts the former Democratic nominee. After all, several of its most eminent members have admitted their herd’s prejudice against her. But the nearly unanimous demand for her to be silent… cuts against normal journalistic curiosity, let alone the usual lust for fresh gossip.”

He points to a 140-page report out of Harvard, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. “What they found was a sharp asymmetry between left and right outlets that benefited Trump and damaged Clinton. And while most mainstream coverage treated both candidates negatively, it ‘largely followed Trump’s agenda.’ That meant reporting about Clinton focused on ‘scandals’ involving the Clinton Foundation and emails, while reporting about Trump focused on his issues, such as immigration.

A perfect example of that was Matt Lauer questioning Clinton about her email scandal instead of foreign policy at the “Commander in Chief Forum” in September 2016, while asking Trump policy questions.

So Why Isn’t Hillary Clinton Even Angrier?

She has a lot to say. She believes the Electoral College should be abolished. “I said that in 2000 after what happened with Al Gore,” Clinton told Anderson Cooper on CNN. Gore, who was vice president to Bill Clinton, won 266 electoral votes, while George W. Bush won 271. However, Gore won the popular vote by 547,398 votes. She called the institution “an anachronism that was designed for another time [that] no longer works, if we’ve moved toward one person, one vote.”

I cannot ignore, too, the not-so-subtle sexism that she had to endure. She has quipped, “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” There was an obsession about her cursing in private, not in public, which made her less “genuine” than her foul-mouthed opponent. A lot of men, and more than a few women couldn’t bear a woman having authority. It’s a
Hillary hatred derangement syndrome.

I felt badly for her when Hillary Rodham Clinton, as former First Lady, sat on the platform, listening to the Trump inaugural speech, which was a “cry from the white nationalist gut.” 20 January was “an out-of-body experience”; she attended in the hope of presenting a unified front following an ugly and bitter campaign.

The email Hillary Clinton’s pastor sent her the day after the election must have brought her some comfort.

I know she’ll continue to be perceived as evil incarnate – Harvey Weinstein is Hillary Clinton’s fault! – but I hope she continues to raise her voice anyway.

The primaries in New York State are over. I must admit a fascination with all the yard signs in people’s lawns‘ we have three in ours, a new record. How do they do their designs so they don’t look like everyone else’s? A lot of them use red, white, and/or blue.

Generally speaking, I give points to anyone’s signs that didn’t fall in that category. Although: a candidate for city auditor named Susan Rizzo had an orange sign; from a distance, it looked red to me, and one doesn’t want red in a sign for someone in charge of the money. Her opponent, Glen Casey, had a picture of himself with a pale orange background, which, also from a distance, made him look as though he had clown hair.

I came across this state manual Municipal Control of Signs. Interesting geek reading. “Sign controls applicable to residential areas must therefore be carefully drawn to respect free speech while protecting the community’s appearance.”

The Capital District and north got a new area code in the 518 this summer, which is 838. It’s an overlay, which means that the new area code would cover the same geography as the old one when new numbers are assigned. Some folks are whining complaining that now they have to dial 10 digits rather than seven, but it is no big deal to me.

This is MUCH better outcome than if they had split the area code, with everyone in Albany and Troy, e.g., having to get new phone numbers, which would mean new business cards, new signs, and the need to spend advertising to promote that.

My church got a new sign, welcoming immigrants and refugees, around Labor Day. It fits in with the position of our Session, which is the local governing board, adopted at its meeting on Tuesday, September 19:

“As Christians, we are committed to stand with all who are oppressed, marginalized, or persecuted and to do all in our power to protect and defend. We boldly assert that God’s creation is universal and is a reflection of God’s own self, those of every race, color, ethnicity, of every gender, sexual orientation or sexual identity, speaking every language and born in every place, following every religious tradition. Every one of these is created in God’s own image and rejection of any is a rejection of God. We especially invite those in positions of leadership and power to restrain any injustice and to avoid at all costs any pandering or use of prejudice for political gain. We seek a world as God envisions, a world of justice, mercy, and love.”

There was a Washington Post article in April 2017, The simple idea to make kids more empathetic? Get them reading the news. It’s about a specific program sythesizing the news.

One of the things I tried to protect the Daughter from was the news. I thought I was watching it when she was busy doing other things. But at some point, when she was eight or nine, I noticed she was picking up on stories. Moreover, she was aware of them at a level that I knew that her classmates were not. And that is still true.

I must admit this is a curse she has inherited from from her father, who was reading op/ed columns in the local paper at 9 or 10. William F. Buckley and Jack Anderson and the like was on my reading diet.

Following the news, she became more aware of the candidates for President – she hated Chris Christie, loved Bernie Sanders – and more of them than 90% of American adults.

I tried very hard not to inculcate her with my pain about race in America. Yet the evidence in the news, with only some minor clarification from me, really informed her, such as when she saw unarmed black men getting shot. I really didn’t want her to have to know about this, but it’s out there.

She has participated in walks to fight hunger. She has contributed money to help shelter animals. She really does have a good heart, which would probably embarrass her, but so be it.

I think that she will be a good citizen. She’ll follow the issues and she’ll always vote. At this point, I can’t see her ever running for office – at some level, she is very shy – but i can imagine her working behind the scenes for a candidate she supports. And perhaps she’ll surprise me.

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