Friday, December 30, 2016

Prelude to a Prelude

Greetings HoCo Readers.

So now that I have the voice of Bill Hader in my head, intoning the words in a TimeLife Announcer persona, "The music...of John Denver..." I am far too mellow to re-visit the 2018 Election Preview.  Tranquility is a scarce commodity, so I will ride this train until the tracks end.

The trouble with the Preview is that it means naming names.  That leads to assessing strengths and weaknesses.  With multiple friends, acquaintances, and non-bitter enemies considering public office in the next cycle, I am loathe to delve into such critiques.  Not during this Holiday Season, not after this long and yet unfinished year.

I will say this, in terms of the County seats upon which I am likely to focus (blog coverage-wise) in 2017-2018, I would say they are, in precisely the following order:

1) County Council District #4.  With a strong probability of a multi-candidate field (as is the likely scenario for all open Council seats), I am most concerned about my home district.  I want a good, smart, progressive, and electable Democrat to emerge as the nominee.  Someone who is running for a Greater Purpose.  I know some very interesting folks who are looking at this seat,  some who I don't know as well, and one or two complete non-starters who need to ask themselves, "am I doing this to promote the common good or am I just on a massive ego trip?" Unfortunately, those in the last group tend to lack that measure of self-awareness.

2) County Council District #1.  Big Jon W. in the only legit swing Council District.  If re-elected, as he should be since he has been an excellent, grassroots-focused, and very practical Good Government public servant, he will be the sole returning member of the Council.  The partisan breakout of the First would appear to invite a top shelf, or at least second tier, R opponent.  So I will probably write about this race a fair amount.

3) County Executive. To be honest, i am just not that focused on the County race that is likely to draw the most attention in 2018.  Oh sure, I could go on about the Trump/Kittleman Republican Party, but is my heart into it at the moment?  Nope.  Perhaps post-Announcement(s).

4) (tie) County Council Districts #2 and #3.  Some interesting potential candidates for both seats.  For now, see my tagline.

6) The Board of Education (4 seats).  As of this writing, I have no idea if all four up for re-election will run again, or if no one will.  My assumption is that two will.  If some interesting challengers leap into the fray, I may spend some time on the BoE, especially when forum season rolls around.

7) County Council District #5.  Wake me up in 2022.

That will do it for today.  I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Crisis of Legitimacy

Originally posted in mid-December 2016.  I pulled it for a variety of reasons. Here is the post, as it was written:

Of the seven closest presidential elections in U.S. history, as determined by requiring the fewest number of vote flips to give the other major candidate a majority in the Electoral College (since the popular vote began to be recorded in the 1824 presidential election), three have occurred in the last five elections.

In eras of relative partisan parity at the national level, close elections will happen.  Such was the case in the late 19th century.  Such is the case now. 

Of those seven closest elections, the losing candidate won the popular vote in three of them, Gore in 2000, Tilden in 1876, and Clinton in 2016.

Small, and sometimes large, events can make a difference.  Gore’s lackluster debate performances, Ralph Nader, and some ballot design choices in Florida cost him the 2000 election.    Tilden was defeated in an election marred by violence, threats of violence, and fraudulent activities throughout the unreconstructed South, requiring an Electoral Commission to resolve the matter (along with some backroom dealing better known as the Compromise of 1877). 

However, these issues were home-grown. 

Clinton’s case is different from the other two as it represents a situation where a foreign power apparently sought to influence our presidential election and, by doing so, potentially changed the outcome.

This author supports the bipartisan call to investigate Russian involvement in our presidential elections.    Foreign interference in our electoral process cannot be countenanced.  Further, if after taking office, it is proven that the current presumptive PEOTUS was aware of, and actively supported, such efforts, the U.S. Congress, in accordance with their Constitutional responsibilities, should begin impeachment proceedings.

Closest presidential elections in U.S. history:

             National Popular         National Popular         Votes to Flip  
              Vote Difference          Vote % lead               

1.     2000    Gore + 543, 895          Gore + 0.5%                269 (.00025%)
2.     1884    Cleveland +57,577      Cleveland +0.6%         524  (.0052%)
3.     1876    Tilden +254,235          Tilden +3.0%               445 (.00529%)
4.     1916    Wilson +578,140         Wilson +3.1%              1,711 (.009%)
5.     1960    Kennedy +112,827      Kennedy +0.17%         12,236 (.018%)
6.     2016    Clinton +2,840,337      Clinton +2.1%              38,599 (.028%)
7.     2004    Bush +3,010,610         Bush +2.5%                 59,300 (.048%)

Stay tuned, as more will follow.