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Younger voters

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Here’s a political statistic about Idaho I wouldn’t have guessed. Which doesn’t mean you can’t suss out what accounts for it.

It comes from the Tufts University (in Massachusetts) Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, which has made a specialty of researching voting and other civic engagement by young people of voting age. In one study, the center (it’s acronym is the cutesy CIRCLE) looked into “Ages 18-19: Youth Voter Registration in September 2022 Compared to November 2018 - The difference (%) in the number of young people, ages 18-19, who were registered to vote in each state in September 2022 vs. in November 2018.”

There was some focus on the state of Kansas, where the Center noted, “Kansas is also one of only nine states where registrations among 18- and 19-year-olds have already surpassed November 2018: they are three percent higher. That represents a major increase from June, before the primary and the abortion vote [on whether to remove the state constitutional protection of an abortion right], when youth voter registrations among this age group in Kansas were 43 percent lower than in November 2018.”

Not hard to understand, given the very pro-choice result in the Kansas election.

That was striking. But guess what other states were included among the nine that already have surpassed their 2018 young voter registrations: a mixed bag of Alabama, Michigan, California, Illinois, Nevada … and Idaho.

But not only that. Idaho’s rate of increase was higher than any other state, not by a little but by a lot. Second-place Michigan, where (as was the case in Kansas) another abortion measure is on the ballot in November, chalked up an increase of 20 percent. But Idaho left everyone else in the dust: Its increase, good for a national first place, was rated at a 66 percent increase a few weeks ago compared to election day in 2018. Tufts called it “remarkable.” (An apples to apples increase in the election schedule, obviously, would show an increase even higher.)

The ranking of states is a little bit skewed, because in many states massive numbers of younger voters were registered in 2018 and 2020, which means fewer are available to register freshly this time. (Washington and Oregon, for example, probably rank lower in the list mostly for this reason.) Still, if the Tufts information is even ballpark correct, something interesting is happening in Idaho.

You imagine what some of the incentives might be.

The Supreme Court's Dobbs decision on abortion created a political shock wave nationally, but some of the larger impacts may have happened in some of the states which quickly have moved to restrict abortion in its wake. Idaho would be a prime example of that, and many people still remember what happened in 1990 when the Idaho Legislature moved to make a sharp, drastic restriction on abortion. This isn't 1990, but the immediate effects then - including a string of Democratic wins, which were followed by Republican silence on abortion for several years after - were clear and dramatic.

The education and culture wars, which have put colleges and universities and libraries on the defensive in Idaho, may be about due for a backlash, and a cadre of younger voters would be a likely place to see the reaction materialize - if it does.

We can't really know that for sure, not until the election happens. But there was another important indicator here:

"CIRCLE data has shown that young people without a voting history are less likely to be contacted by campaigns. The fact that most states are behind in registering youth in this age group highlights that outreach is still lacking, and that there’s a need for organizations, schools, and campaigns to redouble their efforts to register the youngest potential voters," the report said.

That means we might not know what the real impact is … until November.

 

Cheap

schmidt

One of the things that makes Idaho politics so cheap to buy is that the stakes are so small. You get what you pay for and so you really don’t have to pay all that much. Isn’t the marketplace wonderful?

Idaho citizens passed our “Sunshine Laws” by initiative back in 1974 when a thousand dollars wasn’t chump change. The law limited what a candidate could accept from any individual donor in each campaign cycle to $1K. And the law required any donation over $50 to be public. I loved the $49 dollar donations I got from Republicans in my district. I would have preferred a yard sign, or a public handshake. But I took what I could get.

The idea was to promote transparency in the election process. Who is spending money to support this guy?

This week a report comes out that an Idaho citizen decided to go after some Republican State Senators in their primaries. So, he, and his wife and all of his many businesses sent the maximum, $1K, to their opponents. It looks like everybody reported everything appropriately, so we can tell just who he wanted to take out.

And indeed, most these incumbents got beat in their closed Republican primaries. Some had very small margins. But our elections are not fraudulent, are they? Sorry for that digression.

Here’s the kicker. The Idaho Freedom Foundation also opposed these incumbents. And they might have spent some money in that election also. But we can’t know what they spent. Their political arm is a 501.C4 entity and those guys don’t contribute directly to candidates. They do “independent expenditures”.

Full disclosure, after I got elected to the Idaho Senate I got introduced to independent expenditures. I became the treasurer for the IDLCC, a 501.C4 that worked to get more Democratic legislators into the statehouse. Some thought having my name listed publicly was a mistake, but I thought it would add transparency. Boy, that didn’t work out.

And I am now on the Board of CVI, another 501.C4 that raises money and spends it (independently from candidates’ campaigns) to get the folks we want elected. But Idaho’s Sunshine Laws only regulate direct contributions to candidates, not independent investments. Back in 1974, political action committees (PACs) weren’t protected by our Supreme Court, so they didn’t really play. Nowadays, they are where the most money goes.

Back to this citizen who wanted to put his thumb on the weak scales of the closed Idaho Republican primary. And he sent too much money to his favored candidates. He will receive no sanction since the law only requires candidates to comply. And they will receive no sanction. The current Idaho Secretary of State who is in charge of policing campaign contributions will just notify them of the “issue”. Lawrence Denney is looking forward to retirement. Don’t expect much enforcement from his second-floor Capitol office.

No, our votes are for sale here in Idaho. The smaller the pool of voters we need to influence, the cheaper the price.

Back to the kicker, the IFF and their PAC. What if this donor guy (wrongly) sent $30K around the state to the candidates he wanted, and they took it (wrongly) and nobody gets sanctioned? He could have sent $500K to the IFF PAC and nobody would know. Maybe he did.

So, buying an elected seat in Idaho is cheap for those with too much money. This is reflected in the Idaho Republican Party Platform. Make our primary as small and selective as we can. That way we are cheap to buy.

Further, make the United States Senators selected not by popular vote, but by the legislature. Us politicians are all for sale here. Let the bidding war begin.

 

Risch on the next Senate

malloy

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch has every reason to hope that Republicans gain control of the Senate after November’s midterm elections.

That would mean he would be back as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a lofty position he held during the Trump administration, and that fellow Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo would lead the Senate Finance Committee – assuming that he is re-elected.

But whether Republicans can take back the Senate … that’s another question. “It’s a 50/50 deal, which is a general way of saying I don’t know,” Risch told me.

He is more certain about the GOP’s prospects in the House.

“Republicans will take the House,” he said. “As long as you have one of the two bodies, you have at least partial ball control. If you don’t have either one, they could ride over the top of you. But we are going to take the House, so that makes it less important to have control of the Senate.”

Two years ago, when Senate control was hanging in the balance, Risch offered some gloomy predictions if Democrats were to gain a majority. He thought the party would move to end the filibuster (the 60-vote requirement for getting most bills passed), grant statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and add more seats to the U.S. Supreme Court to negate the court’s conservative majority.

None of those things happened. Moderate forces in the Democratic Party decided, wisely, that ending the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court would not be a good idea. Those things wouldn’t work nearly as well with Republicans in the majority. And for some reason, statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. – which probably would keep Democrats in the majority in the foreseeable future – has not been discussed much.

So the Senate sits with a 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking tie votes. Technically, that gives Democrats a majority. But that can all change on a dime with the midterm elections and several tight races hanging in the balance.

In some ways, these midterms are a sequel to the 2020 presidential election – although neither President Biden nor Trump are on the ballot. Those denying the validity of the last election are out in force on the Republican side, and Biden has labeled Trump supporters as a threat to democracy.

We’ll see whether Trump, or Biden, are assets to their party.
“It depends on the state,” Risch says. “If it’s Massachusetts, then not so much. If it’s Idaho, then (Trump’s) greatly helpful.” For Biden, folks love him in Delaware, but he gets no traction in red states such as Idaho.

It remains to be seen how the abortion issue plays out. Again, it depends on the state.

“The polling I’ve seen suggests that the Supreme Court decision has not moved the needle at all as far as pushing people one way or the other on the issue,” Risch says. “Polling suggests that it has raised the enthusiasm on both sides for single-issue voters. I’m not sure that at the end of the day it makes a lot of difference. People who are pro-life will vote pro-life and those who are pro-choice will vote pro-choice.”

One thing that Risch is certain about are the prospects for Crapo.

“I have a bold prediction,” he said, chuckling. Sen. Crapo is going to win by a landslide.”

Who can argue? A Democrat has not held the U.S. Senate seat in Idaho since Frank Church, and that was back in 1980.

“When Mike talks, people listen,” Risch says. “Republicans have lunch together on Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays and we discuss a lot of things. Mike seldom talks at those meetings, but when he does people are very much tuned into listening to him – especially on financial matters. Mike does not get angry. He’s very pragmatic and he is interested in problem solving, I could not ask for a better working partner.”

It's a partnership that likely will continue for at least another four years, when Risch will be up for re-election. He’ll be 83 by then, so we’ll see what the distant future holds.

ctmalloy@outlook. Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at ctmalloy@outlook.com

 

Ariel. Poor Ariel

rainey

For God’s sake!

Don’t we have our “worry closets” full to overflowing these days with serious, national issues - truly worrying and, in some cases, world-threatening issues - without worrying about the depicted skin color of a cartoon character?

Yet, the current national “dustup” cluttering the media landscape is the freaking out of the chattering classes over Disney Studio’s casting of the lead in the new “Mermaid” ‘live’ action movie as Black. A Black half-woman, half-fish creature of our imaginations. Seriously. Skin color! Of a fictitious fish! Er, woman. Or, something.

My God!

It’s a frigging cartoon character, ladies and gentlemen. Lighten up!

Would a white half-woman, half-fish, fictitious fish creature be more to your liking? Would we have peace on earth? Well, would we?

It’s a damn cartoon, folks. Deal with it!

I don’t praise or condemn the Disney fantasy factory for making the cartoon skin Black. Wouldn’t if it were White. Nor, I believe, should anyone else. Any more than when Snow White was White and the Wicked Witch Black. It’s, frankly, not worth the time or concern. Get a life!

We’ve lived with movie’s messing with skin color and whole nationalities all our lives. Remember Charleton Heston in Ben Hur? A White chariot-racing “Egyptian” contesting the outcome with an equally White “Egyptian” bad guy.

Remember Jeff Chandler - the leading man in the movie “Cochise?” White and Yiddish from birth.

Remember Amos and Andy from radio days? Freeman Gossden and Charles Correll played the leads. Both White. Many of the “Black” radio characters, too. How about “Wizard of Oz” in which one of the witches was White and the other green?

Arts and artists have played with our mental proclivities for literally centuries. Remember Shakespeare? Many of his female characters were played by men.

And, radio’s “Green Hornet?” Kato, the Hornet’s driver, was said to be Japanese. Then, Philippine by birth. But, when the movie was made, ol’ Kato was Korean.

Whether radio, TV, movies or extra long cartoons, it’s all meant to create fictional characters, nationalities and - yes - people of different skin colors. In our minds! Our minds! Heston’s being Caucasian by birth detracted little from his role as a faux “Egyptian.”

Ariel is supposed to be a mermaid. A mythological sea character with roots going back as long as people have sailed the world’s oceans. We’ve all grown up with one or more make-believe mermaid children’s stories in our lives. Until now, largely unnoticed, as just another fantasy.

But, these days, when radio talk shows aren’t ripping/praising Donald Trump, the talk turns to Ariel and whether she’s Black or White. And vast social significance is placed on her skin color by people with half-vast “outrage.”

The “conventional wisdom” is Ariel is supposed to be a White, mythical character. Which is being challenged by the other conventional “wisdom” that “it’s about time Disney recognized Black people in the marketplace.”

For my money, both “conventional wisdoms” are B.S.. Let it go.

We still call baseball “America’s pastime.” Fact is, the majority of players are Black, Hispanic, Japanese, etc.. It’s a game.

We see commercial after commercial on TV each night with one or more - or all - Black actors. Nobody makes anything of it.

The last interaction I had with a Black American was probably 20 or more years ago. But, it makes no difference to me if the Buick division of General Motors wants to sell me a new car driven by a Black or White character. It’s the car, damn it! It’s the car.

And, so it is with Ariel. She’s a made-up character - a fiction. She can be anything your mind says she is. Black. White. Blue. Ten feet tall. With horns. Or, long blond hair. Or, red hair. Or, yellow. It’s your Ariel. See her as you see her - not as I do. That’s the beauty - that’s the wonder - of fantasy. It’s yours. And, no one else’s.

So, give it a break. Ariel would want it that way.

 

Labrador on abortion

jones

Raul Labrador has never seen an oppressive abortion law that he did not like. He strongly supports Idaho’s three conflicting and poorly-worded abortion laws, despite the fact that they would deny life-saving medical care to women with dangerous pregnancy complications and criminalize doctors who try to save their lives. If he were to be elected as Attorney General of Idaho, the government would be in control of reproductive care in the emergency room.

One of the laws totally bans all abortions, even those essential to protecting the life and health of the mother. Doctors and health care workers who help the mother will be open to prosecution and will face a minimum of two years in prison unless they can prove to a jury that the abortion was “necessary to prevent the death of the woman.” The law does not say how close to death the woman must be to keep the doctor from going to prison.

The threat of criminal prosecution is designed to intimidate doctors out of providing necessary medical care even when a pregnancy goes horribly wrong. U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill ruled that the law can’t be applied in the emergency room setting when a woman’s life and health are seriously threatened. Labrador strongly disagrees with the judge and supports a move to reverse the ruling.

Another law that Labrador strongly supports gives the abortion patient and each of her immediate family members the right to sue “medical professionals” for at least $20,000 for performing or attempting to perform an abortion. This so-called vigilante law is primarily designed to intimidate doctors and nurses. Once again, the Legislature and Labrador want to control the doctor-patient relationship, even where the pregnancy has turned dangerous.

As a Central District Health board member, Mr. Labrador has opposed precautionary measures like masking and vaccinations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, claiming people should not be pushed around by the government. Yet, when it comes to the extremely personal issue of reproductive health care, Labrador is intent on placing the government directly between the doctor and patient.

His overbearing attitude will jeopardize the health and safety of women who desperately want a baby, but have developed serious pregnancy complications that threaten both mother and child. Many Idahoans have strong religious convictions against abortion and they are entitled to hold those beliefs. But, most mainstream religions recognize that there are instances where medical intervention is essential to protect the life and health of the mother. Labrador will have none of that.

Labrador has demonstrated that, if elected, he would give a green light to legislative extremists who want to further criminalize competent, caring medical professionals and deny necessary care to women with serious pregnancy complications. He would undoubtedly give legal support for the GOP platform plank, which unequivocally declares: “We affirm that abortion is murder from the moment of fertilization.”

Labrador’s opposition to providing medical care in the reproductive arena will likely disprove his infamous proclamation at Lewis-Clark State College that “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” His desire to prevent women with medical complications from having access to life-saving reproductive care, either inside or outside of the emergency room setting, would likely be the direct cause of some needless deaths, if he is elected as Attorney General.

 

Varying arguments

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the regional reaction to the proposed Lava Ridge wind power development in the northern Magic Valley, and suggested much of the outrage against it was based on cultural animus against energy production approaches like wind power - that is, a “liberal agenda”.

My intent was to spotlight the regional political reaction, the way the crowd response to the proposal took hold there. But that could easily be understood as arguing that everyone came to the same position on the issue in the same way, and for all the same reasons, that all minds were in lockstep, and that’s surely not the case.

That point underlies a number of responses I received, and the point was made in various ways.

The best of the replies - and arguments against the wind proposal - came from Roy E. Hubert, a Lincoln County Commissioner. Here’s what he said:

You wrote:

1. You can't imagine opposition to a large CAFO if it were to be built here. The truth is that a huge CAFO was built here in Dietrich and it went into litigation. We didn't want it either.

2. All three county commissioners signed a resolution stating that we are opposed to the Lava Ridge Project.

3. You mentioned I was flat against it right away. At first I said "Why not build these towers?" Then I did my due diligence and researched about these towers. I have traveled to places that have wind power towers around them. The only ones that were in favor of them were the people who had them on their property and receive monthly checks for having them on their property. All the others hated them, saying they were noisy, ugly, people were having health problems such as headaches because of them, they were losing sleep because of the noise and lights flashing. The company that built them would not hire local people to work, but brought in their own employees.

After further research about how ineffective and undependable that these wind farms were, and how they can't run except on government subsidies, I decided this would not be good for our area, and now vote 100% against it. People in our area don't want them around and ruining our habitat for wildlife, hundreds of dusty roads that will be driven on every day by huge trucks, very annoying flashing red lights 24/7 on top of these huge towers (over 750 feet tall) , the noise coming from over 400 of these towers night and day, and limiting our use of the desert for recreation, cattle grazing, and hunting. You don't realize how many different animals live out in this desert. To name a few: antelope, deer, elk, coyotes, badgers, several kinds of rabbits, bats, hawks, golden eagles, owls, rattlesnakes, sage grouse, and various birds. Do you honestly think they will stay around these towers?

Let's give the people that live in this area some credit! There are enough facts out there for them to do their own research and come up with intelligent answers as to why they are against it. There are hundreds of pages out there to research. Many are the same pages the BLM have in their files.

There are, of course, responses to the commissioner’s response. (No doubt the company proposing the project has some.)

But my main reaction comes to this:

I still think the cultural and political atmosphere had a lot to do with the reason for the large and fast - wildfire-like - public response; you rarely see that kind of reaction, whether on the political left or right or elsewhere, on the basis of policy arguments alone.

But that doesn’t mean those policy arguments don’t matter or that they’re not part of the mix for individual people - in different ways for different people. I have some confidence in reading trends but not in reading individual minds.

Thanks to Commissioner Hubert and my other respondents for the reminder of that.

 

Profiles

schmidt

One doesn’t often think of politicians when the word “courage” is uttered, but we should. If our weak form of representative government is to preserve this republic, we need inspiration. Courage inspires; at least it should.

John F. Kennedy got the Pulitzer Prize for putting his name to a ghost-written book titled “Profiles in Courage”. It seems our Camelot President might have valued his profile a bit more than the courage he wanted to characterize. But then, if he would have demurred, maybe he’d just be an historical footnote, not the martyr we all remember.

And that conflict is what nurtures our cynicism. Just what will a politician do for our vote? Lie to us? Agree with us when they know we are wrong?

I am not sure just whom I am writing this to. We voters will always be wrong about one issue or another. Just remember prohibition, and its repeal. It was a popular wave and the politicians listened to us. But the bootlegger’s bonanza and rampant crime taught us our folly and the politicians listened to our recant. That is the way our republic is supposed to work. Recognize and learn from our mistakes.

I guess I want to inspire those who seek our votes. Here’s my plea. Don’t be too afraid of losing the voters support if you know we are wrong. We can come around. Your courage can help us as we make that turn.

I look for courage amongst those we vote for, or against, here in Idaho. The problem of our political landscape is inescapable. The super majority, the closed Republican primary makes any profiled politician an easy target. If one candidate has demonstrated courage, snipers from safe districts, under their safe cover can send their rounds across the no man’s land at the guy who stood up. The outlined profile is an easy target. Idaho, though disparate and distant, makes for a sniper’s playground. We, the voters need to provide the cover.

Do we really pay attention to the work our representatives do? Do we know if they have courage?

The hardest thing I had to do as a candidate, first time or incumbent, was to go knock on doors. Only one out of five would be home. That meant I’d talk directly to about two people an hour. My knees ached and the going was slow. It could be hot and dusty. But that effort is courageous. I can name a couple places in Idaho in the past twenty years where such effort has changed the partisan landscape. I appeal to you to recognize that courage.

The primary place I can think of where this happened was the initiative process for Medicaid Expansion in Idaho, lead by Reclaim Idaho. They beat the streets and knocked on doors and organized hundreds, even thousands of volunteers. It was not to get you to vote for a person, but an issue. They (indeed, we, since I was one of those volunteers) successfully persuaded in this difficult landscape.

If you happen to see such courage, and it impresses you, share your impression with your neighbors. Your persuasion is courageous. Courage persuades.

But more than the door knock and pitch, the effort for direct voter contact, watch what the people you have elected do with your imprimatur. Do they work? Do they work for you? Do they demonstrate courage in their elected position?

For that is where we let the cynicism bloom. We voters have this concept that the comfortable seek comfort, like we do. Courage is not common.

But this republic expects, indeed demands courage for representation to truly work.
Courage is uncomfortable. Presenting a profile in a no man’s land could mean death. But it could inspire those who see the outline. Don’t be afraid to stand up.

 

Impeachment ahead

malloy

Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher says that better days lie ahead if Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives after November’s mid-term elections – a prospect that appears to be quite strong with soaring gas prices, run-away inflation and President Biden’s low approval rating.

And, oh yes, expect Republicans to push for impeaching Biden after the new Congress convenes in January. Articles of impeachment already have been filed; all Republicans are waiting for is to gain a majority in the House. All this could happen, even if Democrats retain control of the Senate.

Impeachment, once viewed as an extreme and somber action against presidents accused of engaging in high crimes and misdemeanors, is now a tool for something else. House Democrats pushed for impeachment of President Trump twice, knowing full well that their efforts would not succeed in the Senate. At least some Republicans are eager to return the favor, even though there is almost zero chance that the Senate will remove the president from office.

“There will be an effort (to impeach), yes,” Fulcher told me. “Will it turn into a formal process? I don’t think so. I think there is justification for it, but I have a concern about continuing the precedent. Are we going to go through this every two years? I don’t think it’s in the best interest for the country. There is a significant contingent of members who don’t think impeachment should be used as a political tool.”

Fulcher says that another stopping point for impeachment is the prospect of Vice President Kamala Harris moving to the Oval Office … and no telling who would be appointed as vice president.

So, impeachment in this case is not about high crimes, misdemeanors, rule of law and all those other murky details that go with putting a president on trial in Congress. It’s about what flaming liberals are in line for taking the nation’s two highest offices. Republicans, who are still peeved about the politics that came into play during two impeachments of Trump, are ready for payback.

According to the New American magazine, several House Republicans have filed articles of impeachment, saying Biden’s conduct “warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

According to the magazine article, the reasons include: Lack of border enforcement; the handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the mismanaged withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the “illegal” cancellation of student loan debts; the eviction moratorium prohibiting property owners from evicting renters who violate their leases by not payng rent; and issues relating to Hunter Biden “that the mainstream media continue to ignore.”

One more reason could be added: Republicans can’t stand Biden. The “justifications” are more in line with policy disagreements, opposed to crimes committed by the president. But impeachment proceedings could help remove the president the old-fashioned way – through the 2024 election.

It will be great political theater, for sure.

“I have consistently said President Biden should be impeached for intentionally opening our border and making Americans less safe,” said Rep. Bob Good of Virginia in the New American story. “Congress has a duty to hold the president accountable for this and any other failures of his constitutional responsibilities, so a new Republican majority must be prepared to aggressively conduct oversight on day one.”

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona says he’d expect impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Aleandro Mayorkas, in addition to Biden.

While Fulcher doesn’t appear eager to play the impeachment card, he generally lines up with the sentiment – and he’d likely endorse removing Biden and others if it came to a House vote. His immediate focus is his campaign for re-election and thoughts about how Congress – and the nation – would be better off with Republicans controlling the House.
More about that later.

ctmalloy@outlook. Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at ctmalloy@outlook.com

 

A contemptible bunch

rainey

I’m stumped for a word.

A single word that describes those involved in across-the-board attacks on nearly all public boards, commissions and other quasi-governmental bodies we’ve relied on all our lives. The multi-layered civic bureaucracies of citizen-service that have been the underpinnings of our communities.

I tried “Trumpers.” Although many of the miscreants do follow that chemically-coiffed, vastly damaged human being, not all do so. So that wouldn’t work. “Nut cases.” No, not serious enough. “Aginners.” No, spell check refused.

Like bugs scurrying from under a decaying piece of wood, they’ve crept into our culture with their loony conspiracy theories. They often wave their Trump flags and lists of hundreds of books they want banned from our school and public libraries. Even if not a single book exists. But, not always.

Often we don’t tumble to their threatening idiocy and they sneak in. They like to wrap themselves in “motherhood” and “apple pie” until the voting’s over. But, not always.

Sometimes they’re really clever in deceiving voters until the last minute when you discover some nutcase, right-wing citizen outfit has endorsed one of them. Excellent warning sign, that.

Boise had a school board election a week ago. Several of these cretins snuck into the contest. But, voters got wise to them, re-electing incumbents while adding an 18-year-old student to the board, beating one of their number. All the creepy-crawlies lost.

But, they managed to chase out a North Idaho librarian with their threatening tactics. Quit before her first-year anniversary. Public badgering, threats, causing a ruckus outside her home, screwing up some library board meetings. Good citizens they ain’t.

Often, they’re so far-off base it’s almost comical. But, what they’re up to is far from funny. Their “my-way-or-the-highway” blusters - often devoid of truth or fact - should be taken damned seriously.

Their underhanded attempts to gain power over something - anything - are nationwide in scope. They’ve got I-Net communication links with their own conspiracy-filled publications. They monitor each other’s activities - wins and losses - as it were. They have organization. Frail and amateurish it may be. But, it works.

Whether it’s a school board election, city council, county commission or a mayor’s race, these people are to be avoided like the plague they are. A lot of them look to Trump for “educational” sustenance and continued encouragement. He gives them both in full measure. Like having his own people count the votes, he’s happy to egg them on.

Their presence means it’s even more important than usual for voters to dig around in whatever candidate information or biographies there may be before filling out that ballot. Some “scrub” their websites after a primary win so they look more conventional than they really are. This year, we all need to be even more prepared and forewarned about candidate backgrounds and related info. These nutcases represent a real threat to the body politic.

National races deserve more than the usual preparation before voting. So do those closer to home i.e. county commissions, city council/mayor, school boards and any other public service openings in need of filling. These dangers to democracy are everywhere.

Be careful out there!

In another story about fraudsters, check out Ol’ James Risch in Idaho.

He’s joined dozens of other lowlife Republican members of Congress taking bows from constituents for passage of President Biden’s infrastructure bill. They’re all over the place, crowing about new highways and bridges and other public projects made possible by that new law.

Problem is, with Jimmy, his sidekick Mike Crapo and many of the others, they were “NO” votes when they had the chance to stand up and be counted. Yep, the two of ‘em are out in the Idaho hustings patting themselves on the back, knowing full well they’re lying.

Biden has taken note of these hypocrites in several recent public appearances.

Says the Prez, “I love ‘em, man. They ain’t got no shame.”