Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: August 27, 2016”

It’s on for 2018, already


“We narrowly lost that race but our message of empowerment, advancement and citizen-led state control over federal dependency resonated loudly. I’m pleased to communicate that I will be continuing that mission as a candidate for governor in 2018.”

The speaker was former state Senator Russ Fulcher, a Meridian Republican who ran in the Republican primary for governor in 2014 – losing to incumbent C.L. “Butch” Otter – announcing last week, in mid-2016, about his upcoming return to the governor’s race in 2018.

The news came on a slickly-produced 1:44 video that almost could have doubled as a campaign ad except that this was just the announcement of a forthcoming campaign.

There really is no break in this anymore, is there?

That’s not meant as a slap at Fulcher. As you’ll probably recall, he’s the second major candidate for governor in 2018, the first being Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, an Otter appointee who has been widely considered the governor-in-waiting for about seven years now. Because much of the support base for Fulcher overlaps with that of Representative Raul Labrador, who has also often been mentioned as a 2018 gubernatorial prospect, this may be an indicator Labrador won’t be running for that office. At least, in 2018.

It also sets up a near rerun of the contest from 2014, when Fulcher’s run against Otter was prompted in large part because of Otter’s support for the state health insurance exchange. Fulcher’s 2014 web site said, “Federal policies in the areas of healthcare, education, and the environment are stripping freedoms from Idahoans and placing them in the hands of government bureaucrats. This became glaringly evident in 2013, when the Idaho Legislature, led by Governor Butch Otter, voluntarily embraced Obamacare, thereby placing Idaho as a partner of the federal government in implementing a healthcare law that Idahoans do not want and cannot afford.”

If Otter won’t be on the ballot, Little, who has been as loyal a lieutenant as a governor could ask for, will be a good stand in.

But some other things have changed and will change between 2014 and 2018. Here are a couple.

The so-controversial health insurance marketplace is part of the health and financial environment now, and about 100,000 Idahoans receive health insurance coverage in whole or part because of it. Campaigning against federal intrusion is never a loser in Idaho, but campaigning to kick 100,000 people off health insurance almost surely would be. The subjects and approach of a Fulcher campaign would almost have to change somewhat from 2014, or face a revolt. Or a loss to Little.

The other change is harder to estimate: It has to do with the effect of Donald Trump on politics going forward from 2016. Otter has joined Trump’s campaign as an honorary chair, but most other major Republican leaders in the state have kept a lower profile. How will Trump and his advocates be viewed a year, or two years, from now? In some parts of the state – substantial parts of southern Idaho, to start with – Trump is not very popular at all, and a touchy subject for many Republicans to address.

But the future of the Republican Party will be very much up for grabs after this year’s campaign is over, and that contest will be active in Idaho as it will be elsewhere. Where will Little and Fulcher come down on it?

The campaign is beginning, even now.

Trump 74: American ignorance


When a candidate runs for state or local office, one of the criteria often mentioned or at least reviewed is the depth of their roots in the area: How long they have lived there, or that's their whole life, then how many forebears did. There's at least one practical and reasonable reason for this, which is that a person who has lived in a place for many years is likely to know it better than would a newcomer.

Donald Trump is not a newcomer to the United States; he was born in this country and it has been his place of residence all of his 70 years. And while he has lived in the New York City area nearly all that time, he has done business in a number of places around the country. Statistically, based on the numbers, he should meet this criterion: He ought to know the country pretty well, well enough that an ignorance of what the United States is like should not be a disqualifier.

And yet, remarkably, it evidently is. His sense of what the United States is actually like outside of his own bubble of wealth seems stunningly thin.

Listen to his speeches and you hear the false notes repeatedly, something akin to a novelist who has written a scene in a location he hasn't visited or researched.

One of the biggest such cases came in his Republican acceptance speech, when he spoke about the horrors on the streets of the United States - walking almost anywhere, he seemed to be saying, was worse than navigating a war zone. It's not true. He spoke of drastically increasing crime from coast to coast; it isn't increasing, it's falling, and has been for decades.

On August 23, Trump said of black communities: “Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we’re fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities. . . . Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living . . . We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”

Trump's perception of the community was so wildly far afield from the reality that you have to suspect he's getting his impression of what the country is like from the movies, or maybe from local television news. It certainly doesn't come from any actual experience visiting around the country, talking to ordinary people, getting any realistic sense - even if only by statistical research - of what America is like.

I wouldn't vote for a city council member so poorly informed about his city. - rs