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Posts published in “Day: May 19, 2018”

The disaster of identity politics


Watch carefully my friends over the next six months. You can watch the remnants of the Idaho Democratic party commit seppuku - the ritualized form of Japanese hari kari (suicide).

In the Democratic gubernatorial primary by a 60/40 margin Idaho Democrats rejected the clearly most qualified, most experienced candidate, Boise businessman A. J. Balukoff, in favor of a “symbol”, former State Representative Paulette Jordan, of where the far left faction wants to take the national party.

This is putting identity ahead of competence. Much of politics today is all about perceptions and feelings. Ability, competence, character, honesty all lag behind. And because of this issues matter less. What’s especially sad is identity politics move beneath the surface and if brought up one is quick to be tagged with a negative one word nasty like “racist.”

For example, Jordan is a Native American. If one uses that phrase in describing her even though she is fully exploiting that connection when seeking funds from other Indian gaming tribes, the reporter risks being categorized as a racist.

So let’s check the boxes of identity politics in the upcoming race between Jordan and Republican nominee, Lt. Governor Brad Little, the non-issue oriented items that will be at work but may not surface:

Brad Little is a male. Jordan is female.

Little is white. Jordan is “Native American.”

Little is a millionaire rancher/businessman. Jordan raises horses on a ranch.

Little sent his children to an Idaho public school. Jordan is sending her boys to Gonzaga Prep, an exclusive private college preparatory school in Spokane.

Little is married. Jordan is not.

Little is “Goliath” in this contest. Jordan is the “David.” The media loves to find “short hand” ways to capture a political race which is always a “horse race.” The issues tend to fade away.

Unfortunately, somewhere someplace some outside reporter will parachute into Boise or Lewiston and will end up describing the contest as the latest iteration of the old “cowboy vs. the Indians” story and we all know what happened to the Native Americans.

One person I am confident will not fall into the trap of identity politics is Brad Little. He will relentlessly stick to the issues and this time around the superior more qualified candidate will be obvious.

Come the Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November Brad Little will be elected the 33rd governor of the great state. Take it to the bank.

When normally successful business leaders get into politics they all too often leave that business acuity behind, especially when it comes to following that all important term “return on investment.”

Wednesday morning two multi-millionaire Boise businessmen, A.J. Balukoff and Tommy Ahlquist, had to wake up wondering just what possessed them. Both took what can only be described as a sound thrashing.

Balukoff received 26,286 votes and reportedly spent $3.2 million dollars. The return on investment on that is $121.73 per vote. Ahlquist garnered in his third place run 50,735 votes and reportedly spent $4.8 million. The ROI on that is $94.60 per vote. For Idaho these numbers are staggering and unprecedented.

Why it is that successful business leaders think running for high office is just another business challenge is a mystery. Some attribute it to hubris. Others say it is pure ego. Others say they are bored just making money and are looking for a new challenge

The sad thing is though the trend of millionaires running for office is only going to increase. Most state legislatures and Congress itself will consist almost entirely of the super wealthy.

These legislative bodies will hardly be the citizen-legislators our Founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the Constitution.
Welcome to the big time, Idaho.

Yes, your fearless prognosticator was 0 for 4. Shows 40 years in the game still finds me leading with my heart instead of my head.