Phew! It’s over. Well, almost.
Win or lose, most of us should be happy the 2018 midterms, state and local elections are done. The only ones really suffering are media-sales people. Mailboxes, radio waves and TV slots were crammed to overflowing with repeated campaign messages. My recycle bin overflowed with oversized postcards coming in two or three at a time from my Bentonville, Ark., mayoral candidates. Between the top two contenders, or perpetrators, in the paper parade, there surely was enough pulp to produce Tyson Foods egg flats for a month.
For us there’s a runoff. Oh, no! Surely the printing presses are already running.
And since the NW Arkansas television market abuts Oklahoma, we got a double dose of smear and smarm. I never thought I’d see a day in which I would welcome back home the plethora of pharmaceutical TV spots pre-empted in recent months by heavy political buys. Nice to see old friends: Treatment tales for very specific cancers, Cyndi Lauper’s cleared psoriasis and handsome, salt-and-pepper-haired dudes in their early 50s kayaking and jamming in garage bands thanks to miracles of post-cardiac arrest therapy or erectile dysfunction pills.
As I see it, the election results provided two things (other than candidates winning or losing, of course).
First, the midterms did not conclusively reward bad behavior, as in lies and deceits proffered by Democrats in multiple attempts to tear down the Trump presidency. We had the Russian collusion probe first. After a year and more of investigation wearing on, that didn’t seem to be working fast enough to make a difference by November. So the Dems took another tack.
The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings became a carnival. Everyone knew from the get-go that no matter who President Trump nominated, Democrats would stonewall. Even Aunt Bee from Mayberry could not have passed the test had she been nominated by the current POTUS. Recall that raucous party she and the missionary society threw as the gals nipped health tonic from the itinerant medicine showman? For shame!
In the end Dr. Ford’s allegation against the judge could not be corroborated and tag-along accusers who purported different yet preposterous debauchery had to admit their stories were lies. For shame, indeed.
Secondly, it was not winners take all. No Blue Wave. Democrats took seven governor mansions and 27 U.S. House seats, more than enough to flip the body. Republicans gained two Senate seats, maintaining control for Trumpian judicial appointments. A healthy balance of sorts as one social-media buddy offered. Half of my Facebook friends (the Democrats and pragmatists) agree.
I have to remind some that I didn’t vote for His Orangeness, even though casting for Hillary Clinton was with nose firmly pinched. Based on where I get my mail, she did call me names. I must have been among the flyover state “basket of deplorables.”
Another takeaway: Celebrity endorsements are faulty. It doesn’t appear Beto O’Rourke’s Senate bid was helped by his appearance with chatty Stephen Colbert, nor did Oprah Winfrey’s swooping into Atlanta make a difference in Stacey Abrams’ Georgia gubernatorial run. Such can backfire if locals figure they’re being instructed by out-of-touch out-of-towners. That said, younger, fresher faces such as O’Rourke and Abrams are a welcome sight within a party of angry grandmother lawmakers.
The old saw that all politics is local fits my family. I’m happy my children can see fruits of their voting, especially my youngest, Tim, in blue-hued Fayetteville, our Austin-type college town where so many kids from Texas attend that we locals have taken to calling our big school “The University of Texas at Fayetteville.”
Midday Tuesday Tim proudly shared the numbers — tremendous increases state by state in registering young persons to vote. It made a difference. And he and his cohorts played a part in electing a Democrat to an Arkansas House seat. I’m proud of him, even though our political views don’t align exactly. At last, millennials can see a path to affecting public policy beyond reposting memes on social media and screaming maniacally at an empty sky in the town square. Engagement in the real world “trumps” the virtual any day.