Knees jerked with record speed

You know, they couldn’t do much with important stuff like the economy, gas price relief, or using the state’s vast surplus of borrowed out of thin air federal funding to give the taxpayers a realistic break, but I tell you what: take an incident where kids were killed by a combination of evil that pays attention to no law and police incompetence that failed miserably in upholding the right to life of some number of children and suddenly there’s a stampede by the majority in the Delaware General Assembly to DO SOMETHING – even if it does little to nothing to address a problem. And while everyone was fixated with their criminal stupidity on one issue, they took advantage of it to ramrod a provision that may allow them to keep themselves in perpetual power.

Here are the issues I have with Delaware’s gun bills: first of all, you copied off a bill that’s been shown to do nothing in Maryland over ten years aside from curtail peoples’ Second Amendment rights. The criminals laugh and keep killing people in Baltimore, which has “achieved” a record number of homicides since the bill was passed in 2013 – the last four years have been four of their top six years in terms of homicide numbers. Essentially, all this series of bills will do is make people either criminals or defenseless, and something tells me that these newly-minted criminals who run afoul of the complex new gun regulations will be prosected with the greatest of zeal in comparison to run-of-the-mill street criminals.

Secondly, what kind of business has it become of yours just how large a magazine someone owns? Leaving aside the Uvalde police force’s ineptitude or cowardice, having a force of multiple police officers means you probably have more rounds than the criminal does. Having said that, though, would those of you who voted for this garbage rather face a quartet of armed home invaders with a ten-round magazine or a thirty-round one? Thought so. (And remember: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.)

Nine years ago I expressed my opposition to the Maryland gun law the DGA essentially copied and I still stand by every word. The only difference is the number of coffins while ignoring the hundreds of lives saved by law-abiding gun owners who respect their weapons. Ask some folks in West Virginia, for example. (And pay attention in that story to how well gun laws stopped the criminal perpetrator. He was stopped by a good girl with a gun.) Since it didn’t match the narrative, I bet you never heard this on your nightly news, now did you?

And one more thought on this gun subject: remember how Sussex County Council turned gutless on the great idea of a county-level right-to-work law because they were worried about how they would be sued? The same went for the City of Seaford when they passed the fetal remains law but put it on hold because the state bullied them with a lawsuit? Obviously the knowledge that the state would face a lawsuit on these prospective laws on Second Amendment grounds wasn’t going to stop our Democrat legislature because power-seekers gotta power-seek, I suppose.

Speaking of that, notice how they let the voting bill sit for the better part of a year before rushing to pass it in the final weeks of the session? Moreover, they rejected an amendment to push the effective date back to next year, meaning that the Democrats couldn’t stand the thought of having an election without the crutch of mail-in ballots. (Wonder how many mules are in Delaware these days?)

The least that could be done before mail-in balloting would be accepted is to clean up the voter rolls of duplicate, deceased, and inactive voters. After the 2020 election where the results of machine votes and mail-in balloting were so drastically different, an audit of the voter rolls is a must. (In 2020, machine votes would have given the state to Donald Trump, elected Lee Murphy to Congress, installed Donyale Hall as LG, resulted in a 12-9 Democrat Senate instead of 14-7, and a 24-17 Democrat House instead of 26-15. It would have flipped three offices in Kent County as well. All these changes accrued to Democrats at the expense of the GOP. What a shock they voted for it, huh?)

I know I should take a deep breath because I know God is in control, but sometimes I get angry about the foolishness my fellow man does in the name of law.

The trouble with populism

Anyone who has read here over the last 16 years or so can guess that, most of the time, I vote for the Republican candidate in a electoral race. But there have been exceptions over the years, especially when I have a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate I like better, and 2020 was one of them.

When I endorsed for Delaware’s U.S. Senate race 18 months ago, I noted:

(Lauren Witzke) would be an almost automatic choice except for two places I vehemently disagree with her: one being the idea of incentivizing marriage and family through government policy (as opposed to that of merely not penalizing it) and the other being her stance against right-to-work as some sort of appeal to Big Labor voters – never mind that jobs tend to accrue to right-to-work states when all other conditions are substantially equal. Those are two big strikes against her, and her reaction to RBG’s death was very nearly strike three – somehow she managed to foul it off and stay alive.

“For Delaware 2020,” monoblogue, October 25, 2020.

Thanks to the Libertarians running a right-leaning candidate I voted for Nadine Frost instead, and it turned out I didn’t cost Lauren the race by doing so; in fact, she trailed all four other GOP statewide candidates and I don’t think it was because Chris Coons is all that popular.

The allusion to RBG upon her passing was really controversial, but in looking that gem up I found this quote from Witzke:

“Well the truth of the matter is that the Delaware GOP keeps losing and they think they can beat the liberals by becoming more liberal and that’s not gonna be the case, this is war.”

Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media, “GOP Senate candidate retains party backing, despite condemnation of social media posts,” September 21, 2020. Quoting Lauren Witzke.

Perhaps it’s a good thing Witzke hasn’t thrown her hat into the House race (since there’s no Senate race this year) because then how do you explain “becoming more liberal” with this social media complaint?

In full support of Student Loan Forgiveness:

Having crippling student loan debt makes it as difficult as possible for young people to buy a home, get married, and have children. An entire generation has become a slave to debt, signing their lives away at 18-not knowing that the US Government would import the third world to compete with them and push wages down in the workforce.

If the GOP was really the “party of the working-class” they would get behind this and get this done, in addition to seizing college endowments to prevent it from happening again.

Lauren Witzke, Social media post, April 28, 2022.

Never mind she got slaughtered in the comments, I have to say my piece too.

There’s a difference between conservatism and populism. One big worry I had about a Trump presidency early on was that the GOP would be pushed in a more populist direction, but he generally managed to straddle the line well and didn’t let his populist side out too much.

But in Trump’s term, he made two moves toward canceling student loans: in September 2019, before the CCP virus struck us, he signed an executive order that canceled student loan debt for permanently disabled veterans, which he estimated would save veterans “hundreds of millions” of dollars. And of course, during the pandemic Trump began the process of pausing student loan payments and interest that Joe Biden has continued, saving an estimated $90 billion for borrowers.

A pause of payments and interest, though, is a lot different than wiping out their student loan debt. And it wouldn’t necessarily help the working class, according to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Bear in mind that graduate degree holders – who don’t tend to be working-class – hold 56% of the outstanding student loan debt, so they would benefit the most from forgiveness.

It was a long, long time ago but I was one of those who took out student loans to go to college and I remember handing Sallie Mae about $120 or so a month beginning six months after graduation. I’m not going to say it was easy or that I always paid them on time, because student loans are a little like medical bills: hard to collect because you’re not taking away the ER visit for the flu, the knee replacement, or the bachelor’s degree if the payments are late like you can for a car or a house. But, over the span of fifteen years and a couple forbearances and refinances, I got my student loans paid off. Even as liberal as we considered Bill Clinton to be back in that era of my student loans, the idea of forgiving them for the masses was not seriously considered.

Aside from the giant issue with seizing college endowments – don’t you love it when government confiscates private property? – there are three huge problems with what Witzke and much of the other regressive community is backing.

First off, I’m still looking for the place where it says our federal government should have a role in education like this. One thing that disappointed me in the otherwise relatively stellar Reagan legacy is that he couldn’t convince the public to warn Congress that the Department of Education was really unnecessary, and maybe they need to think about defunding it if they wanted to stay in Congress. Reagan was a “Great Communicator,” but not so much a lobbyist for creating a public outcry for ridding us of an unnecessary Cabinet post. More recently I was hoping Betsy DeVos would help that process along, but, alas, Donald Trump couldn’t compete with the votes purchased with Zuckbucks and…well, you know what happened. Then again, you read what Trump did with student loans in the grafs above so I don’t believe he was really down with the struggle, either.

Secondly, it further erodes the idea of commitment. We already have issues with the concept when it comes to marriage and relationships in a culture where celebrities seem to be having a contest as to who can have the highest number of marriages and divorces and the most kids out of wedlock, with our society either cheering them on (as in “you do you”) or just turning a blind eye. This is how our culture has devolved since the era of our grandparents; an era which Witzke seems to want to restore – she uses the policies of the nation of Hungary as an example* – but this time through generous government subsidies that our ancestors didn’t need and, out of pride, would have likely refused anyway. Having the government step in and say, “yeah, we’ll pay off the student loans you took out for your womyn’s studies degree” just feeds the entitlement society we’ve become. Student loans, then, go from a hand up to just another handout.

Finally, on the college front, the biggest part of the reason those ivory towers have become so fat and happy financially these days – with those endowments that Witzke covets for government seizure in the millions or even billions of dollars – is that they have raised tuition and fees with impunity knowing that the government makes student loans widely available for any warm body they accept. Students don’t even have to get a degree, but the college gets paid for spouting off whatever the woke flavor of the day is and now the taxpayers will be footing the bill. If it were the colleges having to come up with the coin for the failures of their students, you better believe they would be more prudent and careful with who they let in and what is taught, don’cha think? It may make ditchdiggers out of all those “diversity, equity, and inclusion” department hires but the world needs honest labor, too.

There’s been a political cartoon turned meme making the rounds for awhile that makes the point more succinctly than I did, but I’ll go with a paraphrase: You took out a student loan, pay it back. I didn’t say it was easy or without sacrifice, but honor a commitment for once.

(*) I will give Lauren credit in that she writes well in an Ann Coulter vein. But I still disagree with her on this student loan thing.

Can things really be changed with a Convention of States?

It’s a funny thing: when I last broached this subject I noted that the momentum toward a Convention of States had stalled out as no state had passed a call for an Article V Constitutional convention in nearly three years. Apparently, though, getting past the CCP virus has popped the cork on the movement because in the nearly three months since I last wrote on the subject the CoS effort has gained the support of Wisconsin, Nebraska, West Virginia, and most recently South Carolina, bringing the total to 19. They’ve also come closer to melting away opposition in Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota and there was even testimony on a CoS bill in Maryland – yes, Maryland.

Granted, the Maryland bill didn’t get beyond the hearing stage – and it will probably never get beyond that unless there is a sea change in their General Assembly beginning this fall – but the fact that nearly half of their Republican delegation co-sponsored the measure is encouraging, especially since the 2021 version only had a sole sponsor. (What is not encouraging is the lack of interest from the lower Eastern Shore delegation, from which only Delegates Johnny Mautz and Charles Otto were co-sponsors. That leaves Delegates Chris Adams, Carl Anderton, and Wayne Hartman along with both lower Shore Senators, Addie Eckardt and Mary Beth Carozza out of the picture. It goes without saying that Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes wouldn’t be a backer; after all, she just voted for allowing easier access to baby murder.) On the other hand, a Democrat-sponsored Article V resolution to protect “voting rights” was not introduced this session after failing to advance in a two-year run in the MGA from 2020 to 2021.

Shamefully, Delaware is one of those states where a CoS resolution hasn’t been introduced in recent years (more on that in a bit.)

One thing the CoS has been circulating of late is an endorsement of sorts from radio host Glenn Beck, who basically told his audience that, “a convention of states is the best thing we can do” to rein in government. Beck explained that the process would not be open to making other changes in the Constitution besides those which are spelled out, which is why the Democrats in Maryland had to create their own proposal rather than just jumping on board the Republican Article V resolution figuring they could take it over.

I noted back in January why I’ve begun to feel this is the better solution to our longstanding issues with government, but let me give you another analogy: if you are related to an alcoholic, do you just let them continue down their self-destructive path or do you get together with caring friends and family to do an intervention? Government will not fix itself because there are too many in it for themselves and their little fiefdoms of power, so someone else has to come along to starve that beast.

I’ve been in politics long enough to see what normally happens with “reformers” when they are first elected to office. They promise the moon but once they get there the excuses begin and the reform becomes going along to get along. The people the TEA Party sent to Congress in 2010 first said they couldn’t do anything because they only had half of Congress. In 2014, once they got a Senate majority, they bemoaned the fact that Obama was still in office, and promised action once a Republican was elected President.

In 2016, we got the ultimate reformer in Donald Trump and what did Congress do? Well, maybe it’s better to to say what they didn’t do: after six years of promising to repeal Obamacare, when they had the opportunity they didn’t do a thing – not even the damned “repeal and replace.” We got a temporary tax cut that the Democrats are already trying to dismantle, and government is bigger than ever because, as fast as President Trump was undoing regulation, the Biden regime is working triple-time to replace it, and then some. For having the barest of Congressional majorities, the Democrats are doing more to pursue their regressive agenda than those who promised the TEA Party the swamp would be drained ever did.

We could elect 60 new conservative House members this fall and somehow get to a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the Senate, while overcoming the Democrats’ best effort to swipe the election in 2024 with Trump, DeSantis, or whoever but there would still be excuses. Perhaps an external intervention is in order here?

Obviously there is risk in “imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms for office for its officials and members of Congress.” Balancing the budget may mean significant new taxes, the Swamp can figure out workarounds on limits to power and jurisdiction, and term limits don’t apply to entrenched bureaucrats that are much of the problem. But if we can get the momentum in putting together a Constitutional convention, perhaps we can work at the problem in a new manner. If the regressives are against it, claiming, “The constitutional convention idea is a special interest-funded, anti-democratic endeavor that will almost certainly strip power from the American people, while leaving our cherished constitutional rights up for grabs,” then maybe it’s not such a bad idea. That’s pretty much how they play, isn’t it?

In looking up the author of that op-ed, Claire Snyder-Hall, I found out she is the executive director for Common Cause Delaware, a self-described “nonpartisan citizens lobby, dedicated to fostering open, honest and accountable government at every level.” You would think they would be for a more limited government because there’s less incentive to be secretive, dishonest, and unaccountable when the honey pot is smaller, but no. One of their “accomplishments” is that they:

…was also the primary organization responsible for stopping the dangerous legislation to call for a Constitutional Convention in 2016.

(…)

Recent Activities

May 2016

Vote on House Concurrent Resolution 60 – Rescinding the Article V Call for a Constitutional Convention. 

Delaware rescinded all calls for a Constitutional Convention. House and Senate leaders joined with Common Cause Delaware to pass HCR 60 and stopped Delaware from going down a dangerous path. Common Cause made a difference by educating and opposing the convening of a Constitutional Convention.

Common Cause website, “About Us” and “Our History.” Accessed April 12, 2022.

If you recall from January, that HCR60 vote was one featured on that year’s monoblogue Accountability Project. A vote against HCR60 was a proper vote. But the first part of that blockquote was why I changed the paragraph above: it turns out there was legislation introduced in 2015 to join the call for convention, which unfortunately was stricken in 2016. I’d love to have any of the Senators involved (Dave Lawson, who was the sponsor, Gerald Hocker, or Colin Bonini) explain why it was stricken. (I presume it means the same as withdrawn, which is a term I’m more familiar with because Maryland uses it.) I wish there was some sort of voting record on it as there was with HCR60, but maybe we can get some insight from the trio.

So there is precedent in this state, and maybe this idea is something we can keep in our back pocket for this fall’s campaign. It’s time to get the First State to be on this list with nineteen or more of its brethren. What do we have to lose?

A quick leg up for Palin

It didn’t even take a day for the Congressional candidacy of Alaska’s “mama grizzly” Sarah Palin to gain a key backer: our 45th President.

Wonderful patriot Sarah Palin of Alaska just announced that she is running for Congress, and that means there will be a true America First fighter on the ballot to replace the late and legendary Congressman Don Young. Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big. Now, it’s my turn! Sarah has been a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska. She was one of the most popular Governors because she stood up to corruption in both State Government and the Fake News Media. Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself. They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen. Sarah Palin is tough and smart and will never back down, and I am proud to give her my Complete and Total Endorsement, and encourage all Republicans to unite behind this wonderful person and her campaign to put America First!

Donald Trump, “Endorsement of Sarah Palin,” April 3, 2022.

It’s a campaign that brings back my own memories of a time when the TEA Party was looking for a leader but found out that the media was going to absolutely hound anyone who promoted a conservative platform. While much of the enthusiasm and support of the 2008 McCain campaign was because of Palin, she indeed had to put up with “very evil, stupid, and jealous” people inside and outside her campaign. (The selection of Palin was once described as a “Hail Mary” but McCain was also rumored to be considering Democrat Joe Lieberman as his running mate. That would have been throwing from the tailgate party outside the stadium.)

There are something like 40 or 50 candidates already lined up to try and win the seat, which is interesting in that it will be a very short gig for the winner. I presume most of these candidates are also trying to be placed on the November ballot to run for the position on a longer basis. (The late Rep. Don Young, who was the lone Alaska representative, served for nearly a half-century and was ironically first elected in a special election himself: Mark Begich won the 1972 Congressional race over Young despite dying in a plane crash a few weeks before the election, but Young won the special election to succeed him.)

Given her name ID in Alaska, it’s likely Palin will vault to the front of the field. But Alaska has ranked-choice voting, meaning Palin could get the largest plurality of the votes yet lose to someone who had more second-choice votes.

One of the biggest “what ifs” in modern politics is what would have happened with Palin had she not been hounded out of office by lawfare after her loss as part of the McCain ticket. Should Palin have completed her term in office and been re-elected in 2010, as the most recent vice-Presidential pick she would have been the GOP favorite to oppose Barack Obama in 2012, and she would have done so with massive TEA Party support. The Beltway liberals couldn’t have had that – it may have been a Donald Trump-style win for Palin as the working-class voters came from out of the woodwork to shock Obama and the Democrats.

Palin’s no spring chicken anymore – I know because her and I are just a few months apart in age – but if you go by Don Young standards she still has three decades to serve. Even if she wins, though, I don’t see Presidential aspirations in her immediate future: it’s exceedingly difficult to get much traction in that kind of race from a House seat where you are one in 535, even if you were Speaker like Newt Gingrich was. On the other hand, Alaska’s next Senate race after this year isn’t until 2026, and it’s easier to be nominated for the White House from the Senate – plus she would have had four years in the House to learn the ropes in Washington. Would Palin 2028 or Palin 2032 be a possibility? She would still only be in her sixties, much younger than a Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Perhaps we’ll see if the Mama Grizzly still has a little bit of mojo – but she has to win this election first.

More revised and extended remarks

I’ve said this before, although it’s been awhile: I don’t like wasting my good writing. Like odds and ends I collect in my e-mail box that I save for later comment, I need to get better at the habit of sharing what I say on someone’s social media to this audience because the Venn diagram of their readership and my readership doesn’t always intersect.

This is set up by a post that simply said “The Empire strikes back.” What the writer meant was that current Maryland governor Larry Hogan formerly endorsed the recently-resigned Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Schulz as his successor – essentially in response to a now months-old endorsement of Delegate Daniel Cox for the same job by Donald Trump. Along with my belief that Hogan’s endorsement was already “baked into the cake” in this race based on Trump’s backing, it was a race I commented on the other day. But I wanted to expand on my thoughts after a post in response by longtime Maryland politico Carmen Amedori:

Lots of luck with that. 95% of MD GOP voted for Trump. Meaning 95% will not vote for an anti Trump endorsement. In a fair election Dan wins.

Carmen Amedori, former Maryland Delegate and (briefly) candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

Once that post went up, another longtime Republican, Scott Shaffer, responded:

You’re quoting a “news” site written by the LG candidate? Lol. Not to mention that a small group of Lincoln Day Dinner attendees is much different from primary voters as a whole.

Scott Shaffer, longtime Republican Party leader.

I think the website is written by the LG candidate’s husband but anyway, Scott’s a good guy – although we’ve been on opposite sides at times over the years. His claim to fame here was his unsuccessful bid to oust Louis Pope as Maryland’s National Committeeman in 2012.

So I felt I needed to add a couple pennies to this interesting race – better than much of anything going on in Delaware, that’s for sure.

Of the MDGOP who showed up to vote in 2016 and 2020, Carmen is probably pretty close when she says 95%. (I think the polling average was in the low 90s.) But that only counts the ones who weren’t discouraged enough by the candidates to stay home. The tell would be turnout % among Rs and Ds, but that doesn’t seem to be a number easily chased down for 2020 thanks to the unique nature of the election.

On the other hand, consider the poll Carmen cites was a DGA poll, so they’re trying to bump up support for the viable candidate they believe is easiest for them to beat. Unfortunately, in Maryland a lot of “independent” voters believe all the lies and half-truths told about Donald Trump, which is why the D’s try to tie all R candidates to him. (It also obfuscates their woeful record.)

The ones who were believers in the Trump “America First” agenda will most likely vote for Dan. Whether it will be enough to win a primary is an open question; however, the constantly changing primary date may prove to Dan’s advantage because I believe he has the more passionate voters.

“Not to mention that a small group of Lincoln Day Dinner attendees is much different from primary voters as a whole.”

You are aware these are the influencers in the local GOP, right? Obviously if Kelly won a straw poll at the AA Lincoln Day Dinner it would be presented as proof she’s the better candidate, despite the fact it’s still a miniscule number of voters.

I’d love to see a reputable poll of the race, but no one has really polled it according to RCP. This would document the amount of Hogan fatigue in the MDGOP.

My social media response.

Scott contended that Cox would be “Brian Murphy 2.0” because he doesn’t have a ton of name recognition and it’s possible he may be right. But I don’t think either of the two have a ton of name ID and the Maryland media is going to be vacuumed up by all the Democrats fighting for airtime prior to the primary. To me, it’s a race that’s Kelly’s to lose but if Larry Hogan keeps playing the RINO the association with Larry may hurt her.

Things aren’t always what they seem

I haven’t been paying nearly as much attention to Maryland politics the last few years but every so often I find something rather intriguing. In this case, it’s not too many miles away in Dorchester County.

I saw that over the weekend their county Republicans had their Lincoln Day Dinner. Initially I learned this thanks to a social media post by a locally noted political sign critic but then it went further when I noticed a promoted post on that same social media outlet that led to this blog post.

Apparently we are still far enough away from the primary that Republicans are coming to the Eastern Shore to solicit votes, and in this case the Dorchester LDD featured the two leading contenders for their gubernatorial nomination: Delegate Daniel Cox and onetime Delegate and Hogan administration official Kelly Schulz. In this particular retelling of events it was obvious that the writer was heavily favoring the Cox campaign, which is fine. What’s most interesting, though, is that the contact address for the Shore Times blog where the article came from is the exact same one used by Marc Schifanelli for his school board campaign in Queen Anne’s County. Of course, students of Maryland politics know that Marc’s wife Gordana is Cox’s running mate. So we’re not exactly being stealth here, and I will give credit for pointing that out in due time.

On the other side of the equation – and not being too stealth themselves – is The Duckpin, a site which seems to spend its time tearing down Cox, who they swear up and down isn’t much of a threat on par with the other two no-names in the race. Yet somehow Dan lives rent-free in their heads as they keep writing about him instead of promoting their endorsed choice in Schulz. (Apparently Brian Griffiths wanted to write about more than politics, so Red Maryland was put to bed and The Duckpin was born. He finally figured out what I knew over 16 years ago.)

Anyway, I was reading a piece on the race that made the claim about the link and indeed it’s true. So give the man his credit. But what’s the big deal?

Here’s the problem with being a Republican and running for governor in Maryland: you have to survive a GOP primary.

In 2010, Larry Hogan deferred to Bob Ehrlich, who then proceeded to lose even worse to Martin O’Malley than he did the first time. You may recall there was this phenomenon going around the country back then called the TEA Party…well, they liked this heretofore unknown businessman named Brian Murphy in the gubernatorial primary and enough of them tuned out the overly moderate Ehrlich once Murphy was dispatched back to anonymity to doom Bob to defeat in the general.

In 2014, there was an open seat and the Democrats decided to promote their bland, personality-free LG Anthony Brown to governor. Larry Hogan had spent the four years building up a grassroots group called Change Maryland and he parlayed that into securing the nomination then winning in November – thanks to a lot of the people who abandoned Ehrlich because he wasn’t conservative enough for them. This despite the fact Hogan’s website was about content-free and you couldn’t nail down what he was actually for, just what he was against based on Change Maryland.

Fooled you once… the next time in 2o18 Hogan only won because the Democrats went extreme left with their choice for governor; otherwise, the election was a disaster for Republicans on the order of 2006. (Had he run in 2018 instead of this cycle, we would be commenting on the prospects of Governor Franchot’s re-election. Or perhaps Governor Delaney’s.)

So here’s the problem with Kelly Schulz. In looking her up in the archives of the monoblogue Accountability Project, I had forgotten that she was relatively conservative by my standards – not enough to be a consistent Legislative All-Star (she was just one time in eight years I covered her) but she had an 85 average and that’s very good for a Maryland politician. (With an average that high, I would be hailing her as a savior in Delaware.)

But what I didn’t see when she went into the Executive Branch was a great deal of conservative innovation. It’s good that her “proudest accomplishment (at DLLR) was guiding Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program,” but I would have rather seen efforts to wrest the state from the grip of its unions by edging it toward right-to-work status or taking a hacksaw to regulations like Donald Trump did at a federal level. And the question I have: is this the record of a conservative?

Member, Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, 2019; Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission, 2019; Small Business Resources and Data Collection Work Group, 2019; Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, 2019-20; P-20 Leadership Council of Maryland, 2019-21. Board of Directors, Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation, 2019-22. Member, Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Board, 2019-22; Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission for Agriculture, 2019-22; Animal Waste Technology Fund Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Aviation Commission, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Bainbridge Development Corporation, 2019-22. Member, Coast Smart Council, 2019-22; Correctional Education Council, 2019-22; Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, 2019-22; Maryland Cybersecurity Council, 2019-22; Interagency Disabilities Board, 2019-22; Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority, 2019-22; Maryland Economic Development Commission, 2019-22; Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund Authority, 2019-22; Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities, 2019-22; Interagency Food Desert Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Green Purchasing Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, 2019-22; State Highway Access Valuation Board, 2019-22; Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, 2019-22; Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, 2019-22; Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board, 2019-22; Maryland Manufacturing Advisory Board, 2019-22; Council on Open Data, 2019-22; Maryland Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force, 2019-22; Maryland Port Commission, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Maryland Public-Private Partnership Marketing Corporation, 2019- (chair, 2019). Executive Board, Regional Additive Manufacturing Partnership of Maryland, 2019-22. Member, Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting, 2019-22; Renewable Fuels Incentive Board, 2019-22; Rural Maryland Council, 2019-22; Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs, 2019-22; Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, 2019-22; Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, 2019-22. Board of Directors, Maryland Technology Development Corporation, 2019-22. Board of Regents, University System of Maryland, 2019-22. Member, Governor’s Workforce Development Board, 2019-22; Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, 2019-22; Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, 2019-22.

Member, COVID-19 Small Business Task Force, Baltimore City, 2020; Task Force on the Economic Future of Western Maryland, 2020-22; Maryland Food System Resiliency Council, 2021-22; Historic St. Mary’s City Fort to 400 Commission, 2021-22; Maryland Semiquincentennial Commission, 2021-22; Work Group to Study the Transformation of Manufacturing in Maryland’s Emerging Digital Economy, 2021-22.

Maryland Manual online, accessed March 22, 2022.

Granted, I’m sure most of these are ex officio positions she gathered as the Secretary, but no one said she had to accept a position on the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities or the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council. Her acceptance to me equates with support.

That’s not to say I’m the biggest fan of Daniel Cox, who has styled himself as something of a Trump fanboy. But if you drive around on the back roads of Dorchester County that I frequent on a regular basis on the way to my in-laws’ house, you see a lot of Trump paraphrenalia and a lot of Cox for Governor signs. (Not many people go through Eldorado or Rhodesdale, but I do.) It’s a slice of the electorate that probably won’t turn out for someone endorsed by Larry Hogan because they can’t stand what he’s become. While many were pushed over the edge by the bad blood between Larry Hogan and Donald Trump, they were placed at the precipice like I was after our side was quickly sold out by Hogan to the environmentalists who saddled farmers with onerous phosphorus regulations and later saw Larry kill a golden opportunity for economic growth with an ill-advised fracking ban. So Hogan’s support is electoral poison in those quarters.

Certainly there will be those who say that their staying home and not backing Kelly Schulz will ensure Democratic victory in November. But then again, the same prediction of GOP doom holds true if Cox wins so why not stand up for what you believe?

And people wonder why some of us are so fed up with the system?

Book review: January 6 – How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right, by Julie Kelly

A comprehensive look at what REALLY happened.

That, my friends, is a long title. But it’s an important book.

I’m going to tell you where I was on the afternoon of January 6, 2021. I was working at my desk at my “real” job when I somehow got word about people breaching the Capitol. To be honest, once I heard that news I was a little scared about what was going on because, yeah, I knew there was a Trump rally in DC that day but I figured it wasn’t going to be that big of an affair. Had the BLM/antifa crowd infiltrated that mob and gone in there to cause trouble? After reading Julie Kelly’s book, chock-full of her research and original reporting, I fear the answer may be far worse than that.

One of the most helpful aspects of January 6 is the timeline Julie puts in early on in the book. We hear a lot about snippets of what went on, particularly the unnecessary murder of an unarmed Ashli Babbitt or the suspicious death of Rosanne Boyland, but knowing the order of events is essential for gathering the big picture of what went on surrounding the nation’s capitol that fateful day.

Yet in reading the book, I found Julie’s narrative most helpful in determining why we are having the aftermath. It’s not unheard of to have a government building breached as a part of protest: just in the last decade or so we’ve had union supporters occupy the Wisconsin state house to protest legislation they believed would weaken their outsized political impact, those who opposed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court invading the Senate office building, and out in Oregon we had incidents from each side of the political spectrum in 2016 and 2020. (Note the militia protestors took over an unoccupied building in the most rural area of the state.) Of all these protestors, the only ones who faced major charges were the militia members – the nearly 300 arrested at the Kavanaugh protest were “being processed on site and released.” Their charge: “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding,” which carried a possible 90-day jail sentence and $500 fine.

In fact, this disparity between the felony charges brought forth, even to the non-violent protestors in the January 6 cases, and those faced by Kavanaugh protestors, who most likely got off with little or no punishment despite the possible sentence, is another focus of Julie’s book. (I didn’t hear about so-called comedian Amy Schumer doing hard time, did you?) Keeping in regular contact with those arrested and still holed up in a dilapidated D.C. jail awaiting trial over a year later, Kelly gives their side of the story with regard to the conditions they are being kept in as well as the abuse being heaped upon them by a legal system that’s routinely violating their Sixth Amendment rights. Remember, for most on the Capitol grounds, their actual offense could be easily construed as that same “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding” which was the case with Kavanaugh, meaning they’ve served that time and then some. (Later on, in a separate article, Julie argues that there’s no way these January 6 defendants can get a fair trial without a change of venue.)

But even more worrisome to lovers of our Constitutional republic is the possibility that the Capitol protest was something of an inside job. Some people smelled a rat the night before, yelling “Fed!” when (agent provocateur?) Ray Epps repeatedly declared “we must go into the Capitol!” to anyone who would listen. But Kelly’s timeline and subsequent video research reveals that Epps and several others who were on the FBI wanted list for their involvement with the (so-called) insurrection seemed to be the ones organizing the breach of the Capitol grounds, which, unbeknownst to those attending the Trump rally, were closed for public access by an order the night before. (To give you some context, had those restrictions been in place at the 9/12 rally I attended in 2009, I and thousands of others would have been subject to arrest. And I never set foot inside.) As Kelly writes, Epps and others were taking down restricted area fencing while Trump was still speaking so those coming from the rally wouldn’t have known. Furthermore, no such restriction was in place in 2017 when Donald Trump won a controversial and protested election.

Just the implication that some faction was weaponizing the FBI is chilling enough, but Kelly goes farther by looking into the bureau’s infiltration of the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot, which led to over a dozen arrests in Michigan and other states. Ironically enough, the head of the Detroit FBI field office, Steven D’Antuono, was promoted after the Whitmer arrests to become the D.C. field office head. (This is the one place in the book I noticed a glaring editing mistake, one of the few flaws in the tome.) Is it possible that the skeptics of January 5th were right in smelling a federal setup that ensnared otherwise peaceful protestors?

Kelly wasn’t looking for trouble: in fact, when 2021 began she described her plans as “to continue reporting on COVID hysteria, feckless Republican leadership in Washington, and the Biden regime’s plans to reconfigure the economy around climate change dogma. The nonstop drama surrounding Donald Trump, I figured, would take a welcome break.” Nope, not so much.

Instead, Julie’s task became that of writing an indispensible book if you want to begin to understand the drama unfolding at the Capitol that chilly winter day. (Even if you don’t, it’s still an indispensible book.) Yet the shame of deadlines and publishing is that this history is still being written insofar as the effects of January 6 were likely guiding Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s extremist overreaction to a trucker protest as well as the potential response to a truck convoy of our own.

To call this a “war on terror against the political Right” may have been the most prescient portion of Julie Kelly’s work, because we’re seeing it come true in real time. The question is just how much we’ll put up with before the time comes when risking arrest is the least bad option.

Book review: Rigged – How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections, by Mollie Hemingway

The latest bestseller from Mollie
Hemingway found its way to me.

Unlike my last book review, I decided to use some of those Amazon dollars I had accrued over the years from various exploits on something useful and informative. Mollie Hemingway’s newest contribution to the discourse scores on both counts, and although I didn’t find a whole lot of new information to me in her book it’s a great one-stop shop in determining how the 2020 election (and, by some extension, the Trump presidency) careened off the rails.

Notice I say I didn’t find a whole lot of new information, and the reason I said that is because I keep an ear to the ground with news from a number of sources I trust to give me the straight skinny. On that count Hemingway is with me as I counted over 1,200 footnotes, and even though many are repeats of the same information source I can’t fault the amount of research on this one.

Mollie takes her time laying out the case, working her way through a number of events that began even before the moment that Donald Trump took office. By the way, I have to ask: have you ever noticed that an election won by a Republican is seldom considered legitimate in the eyes of the Left? Ever since Watergate, there’s almost always been some sort of scandal associated with a GOP victory – accusations of Ronald Reagan sending George H.W. Bush over on an SR-71 spy plane to delay the release of the Iranian hostages until after the 1980 election, the whole Bush v. Gore controversy in 2000, the Diebold scandal in Ohio from 2004, and Russia Russia Russia in 2016. (We got a break for a few years when Reagan was re-elected in enough of a landslide to preclude those questions and Bush followed on his coattails.) Hemingway begins her book talking about the Russia issue but settles in with a look at how election laws were changed in 2020 thanks to the Wuhan flu.

One thing I really liked about Rigged was the setup and layout, as each separate argument group gets its own chapter that’s well-covered. Because of that, it’s not perfectly sequential, but it hits on all the keynotes a reader needs to understand to figure out why the 2020 election went so terribly wrong for Trump. We find out early on, for example, that Democrats were terrified about a second Trump term because the economy was so strong, but got the stroke of luck they needed when COVID-19 (a.k.a. the CCP virus) struck in late 2019 and began to truly affect our nation in the spring of 2020. At the end of the 2020 State of the Union address, with the nation at maximum, triumphant Trump, and where the second chapter comes to an end, Hemingway wrote:

Trump’s opponents would need a miracle to stop him. He was at the peak of his powers and was leading the country to new heights. But Democrats would soon get their lucky break when news of a novel coronavirus reached American shores. It was a crisis they wouldn’t let go to waste.

“Rigged”, p. 60.

Mollie details how things went spiraling downward from there: the rapid spread of COVID and the summer of rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s untimely death put Trump on the defensive, and as the economy tanked thanks to overly restrictive CCP virus mandates it suddenly became virtuous in the eyes of the media to run a campaign from a basement like Joe Biden’s was. She adds in full chapters describing the bizarre influence of “fake news” and, more importantly, the withholding of vital information from the voting public during the Hunter Biden influence scandal. Perhaps the “10 percent for the big guy” was the allotted share from “the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization” Biden had – no, wait, that voter fraud organization was bought and paid for by “Zuck bucks,” to which Hemingway also devotes a chapter.

The part where I learned the most was the latter part of the book, which briefly detailed briefly Democrat efforts to clear the field for Joe Biden in certain states – in particular, their shameful effort in Wisconsin to not only successfully kick the Green Party off the ballot, but denying write-in candidate Kanye West a spot because he was fourteen seconds late in having his paperwork accepted – the building was locked due to COVID restrictions and a circuit court ruled against West. (Under normal circumstances, his campaign’s paperwork would have easily made the deadline.) As Hemingway points out, no such efforts were made against the Libertarian Party, whose voters tend to be more right-leaning – and whose Presidential candidate, Jo Jorgensen, received more votes in Wisconsin than Biden’s victory margin there. (Not to say the Republicans aren’t guilty of that at times, too – just ask the Ohio Libertarian Party.)

Overall, Mollie does a fantastic job detailing the voting issues in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. And if that weren’t enough, we are exposed to the folly that was Donald Trump’s post-election campaign for justice – already a long shot thanks to a system corrupted by the Democrats, Hemingway blamed Rudy Giuliani for many of the legal team’s problems.

Giuliani appeared more interested in creating a public relations spectacle than mounting a credible legal challenge. As his questionable legal strategy faltered, many of the big law firms that had signed onto the Trump campaign’s legal effort didn’t quit so much as quietly back away.

“Rigged”, p. 293.

If one were to consider Donald Trump’s biggest mistakes, number one would have been giving Anthony Fauci the time of day. But arguably a close second was entrusting his legal challenge to the 2020 election to Rudy Giuliani, who seemed to be simply the ringmaster of a circus that also included grifters like Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, whose kraken we still await. I don’t think she meant the Seattle hockey team, did she?

As Hemingway writes to conclude the book, in its final chapter, “Consent of the Losers”:

A growing number of Americans are outraged by the way the left seizes and deploys power. They are sick of the lies, manipulation, and distortion that a corrupt ruling class spins on a regular basis. Those courageous citizens, not the decaying establishment, will determine the fate of our nation. Their efforts will ensure that we pass on our beloved republic to future generations.

In the fights to come, those men and women will have the best weapon – truth – on their side. The only question is whether their leaders will have the courage to use it.

“Rigged”, p. 332.

Like I’m sure she did, I got that bile and anger in the back of my throat simply from retyping the sentence for the quote. It’s not so much that I was a Trump fan, but just the way the history we know of shook out showed that there are people who almost literally take the childhood taunt, “who died and made you king?” as a challenge. They don’t need no stinking laws passed by a legislature to seize power; they’ll just executive order it and dare a court to stop them – too often the courts don’t. (And yes, I’m looking at you, Governor Carnage.)

Rigged is not going to make you happier, unless you’re a power-hungry narcissist. I just hope it adds some steel to the spines because come November we may need it. This one was well worth the investment and read.

Thinking the unthinkable

I don’t always agree with pundit Erick Erickson, but I remain a fan of his because he comes at things from a unique but conservative perspective. Erick was one of those #NeverTrump folks who eventually came around about the same time I did, since we both voted for him the second time. So while the conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump will run and win a second term, Erick pumps the brakes a little bit on the idea in two different respects and I think both deserve discussion.

Given that modern American presidents tend to win a second term, it would be silly for Republicans to restore President Trump to office wherein he could only stay four years. Republicans would be giving up the historic default of eight years for one man to serve two separate four year presidencies. The 2028 primary would begin before the 2024 presidential cycle even concluded. He’d be the lamest of ducks.

It would also be silly for the GOP to put in office a man who’d be no younger than Joe Biden is now. The GOP has a remarkable bench with deep experience. Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Doug Ducey, Kristi Noem, Ron DeSantis, and Mike Pence all have tremendous experience and all are younger than either President Trump or President Biden. Regardless of what you think about any of them individually, it would be a bit nuts to give up a potential eight years for any one of them for no more than four years for a second Trump term.

“It’s Only Sensical For the Nonsense,” Erick Erickson, January 18, 2022.

One could have accused the Democrats of the same thing by nominating a President who at one point openly eschewed a second term. Many thought Joe Biden’s job was that of picking a good vice president so she could be in office for ten years, with Biden stepping aside January 21, 2023. Obviously it could still happen but he definitely screwed up in picking the VP, who is reportedly hated by most of the Obama-era staffers in Biden’s White House.

And any of the names Erickson picked out would be good candidates for president, a light year’s improvement over the current occupant of the Oval Office. I think the top three for me at a 41,000 foot level, without getting into the nuts and bolts of where they stand on particular pet issues, would be DeSantis, Cruz (who I voted for last time in the primary), and Pompeo. I eventually was won over by the policies of Donald Trump but I can see where people may be thinking supporting him in 2024 is a hard pass, which may be why Trump is trying to clear the field by planning so many events this year.

Erickson goes on to make just this point by citing an interesting poll number. This is a longer blockquote, I believe it’s a radio show transcript from this past Tuesday that he added to his Substack:

If you’re listening to me right now, and you are 50 years or older, particularly 55 and older, then you likely believe Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican party. If you are younger than that, if you’re in your 40’s, your 30’s, your 20’s, you are less likely to be looking forward to the return of Donald Trump. It is a demographic thing.

60% of Republicans say they want Donald Trump to run again. He is the leader of the party. That’s down from 90% in November of last year, or November now of 2020. It’s down from 75% after January of 2021 to 60%, according to the polling averages. Averages are a little better indicator than an individual poll. So slightly less than two thirds of Republicans believe Donald Trump is the leader of the party. That’s actually fallen significantly in a year and a half. The people most likely to still believe it are over 50. Younger people are moving on fairly rapidly within the GOP. Some of you are going to send me hate mail and say, “This is all because I hate Donald Trump.” Not true. Just follow along and listen to me here before you rush to your keyboards.

Donald Trump held a rally in Arizona (last) weekend. I only know about the Donald Trump rally in Arizona over the weekend because the people who hate Donald Trump felt compelled on social media, CNN, and MSNBC, to tell us all what he said. The people who are most likely to talk about Donald Trump at this moment are the diehard Trump supporters.

“The Trump Haters Have Only Trump,” Erick Erickson, January 18, 2022.

I wish I had the numbers to back this up, but I don’t recall there being a whole lot of push to bring Jimmy Carter back in 1984, although they got the next best thing, the sacrificial lamb in Carter VP Walter Mondale, nor did we have a call for another term of George H.W. Bush in 1996. That time we got a different retread in Bob Dole, who lost with Gerald Ford in 1976 to the aforementioned Carter/Mondale team.

Interestingly enough, I think Erick brought up at some point previously that both those incumbents (Carter and Bush 41) lost in part because they had primary challenges: Carter in 1980 from Ted Kennedy and GHWB in 1992 from Pat Buchanan. Even more interesting: those two elections were among the most influenced nationwide by third candidates on the November ballot – liberal Republican John Anderson in 1980 and eventual Reform Party standard-bearer H. Ross Perot in 1992, when he ran as a true independent. I don’t think my memory is completely shot yet on these long-ago campaigns, so obviously this poll cited above is a testament to Donald Trump’s popularity with his base, and certainly the GOP will back him should he be the 2024 nominee. The question is: should he be?

To play a devil’s advocate, there are two key factors that would point to a “anyone but Trump” campaign in 2024. Most obvious is Trump’s age, as he would be 78 on Election Day 2024. Assuming Joe Biden makes it that long, our nation goes into uncharted territory this November 20 as we will have an octogenarian as our President for the first time. Do we really want to go with a second in a row? I tell you, those Boomers just can’t let go of power (although, in truth, Joe Biden is a member of the Silent Generation as he was born after 1928 and before 1946 – he almost certainly will be the only such President. After Ronald Reagan, who was close to 70 when he took the oath of office, and the 64-year-old at his inauguration Bush 41, we then skipped the Depression generation by going young with the Baby Boomer Bill Clinton.)

But the second is personality: Trump can be grating to some as he comes across as narcissistic. There are many who like that take-charge, take no crap aspect in the guy, but Joe Biden won the presidency because he convinced a number of mail-in ballot cards that he would be uniter to succeed the divisive Trump, who had really only divided the nation because the media told us so. And after at least eight years (some may argue we’ve been like this since Bush v. Gore) of divisiveness, surely there are Americans who like the America First, working-class everyman idea of the Trump Republican Party but think it’s time to move on from some of the figures who have divided us. At least in the first week of his term, we got an example from Glenn Youngkin in Virginia; however, the new governor’s bigger tests will be in dealing with what his legislature dishes out since the House of Delegates is Republican but the Senate remains Democrat because no seats were contested last year. (Had that been up for grabs, Virginia may well have switched from a Democrat trifecta to a Republican one overnight.)

Perhaps the Trump strategy is to run again with a young VP he can count on to carry on his legacy for another eight years, since there’s no way we’re repealing the 22nd Amendment anytime soon. (Trump only won 30 states the first time, and such a repeal – which was also discussed during Reagan’s, and to a far lesser extent, Obama’s second term – isn’t going to grab any of the states where Trump lost both elections.)

Someday historians may find out that the 2020 election was our “WTF” moment, the time when all logic seemed to go out the window and Americans voted for a slow national suicide. If we don’t want to fall like Rome, we need to make a course correction and it’s going to have to last at least eight years with a compliant Congress and court system that has restoring our Constitutional system in mind. If Donald Trump is the guy to lead that effort, more power to him – but he can’t be the only one.

Update: If you thought Erick Erickson was bad, you should get a load of what Ann Coulter had to say about Trump’s chances in 2024, comparing him to how Sarah Palin flamed out before the 2012 campaign. Remember when she used to be one of the biggest Trump backers?

Maybe showing up is not enough.

As I promised the other night, this is the second part of my impromptu series that began when I quoted the Delaware state Libertarian Party chair at length. I want to go back and remind you of the portion that was the springboard for this part of my thinking:

The “Patriots of (sic) Delaware” and before them the 9-12 groups and Tea Party groups also showed up and volunteered and did all the things. The result has been an absolute tanking of DEGOP vote totals since Christine O’Donnell knocked out Mike Castle in a primary and now the Republicans do not hold a single statewide office and can’t even block bills requiring a 2/3rds vote in the Delaware Senate. They have been catering to the people who show up instead of the people who don’t and it’s destroying them.

Will McVay, Delaware Libertarian Party Chair, December 5, 2021.

Part of the problem I have with that assertion is finding out that the trend away from Republicans began long before Christine O’Donnell ever ran for anything.

If you look at Delaware now, you would see a state that is solidly blue politically. What Will McVay said made me go back and do some research, using voter registration and election data from the Delaware Department of Elections. With some exceptions, their online database goes back to 1972, so let’s begin there.

This, then, is a short and abridged history of the downfall of Delaware’s two-party system.

1972: At that point fifty years ago, Democrats only outregistered Republicans by just over six points (41.2% to 34.9%.) That was as close as the GOP has come to the Democrats over the period I’m covering, and in that year’s election the results were bipartisan: Richard Nixon carried Delaware in his re-election bid, bringing along House member Pierre duPont. Sherman Tribbitt was elected governor as a Democrat, and he had a mate in some young unknown to the U.S. Senate seat named Joe Biden.

1976: Perhaps the shift toward Democrats began with Watergate, as the Democrats picked up four points among the electorate in four years, expanding to a 43.3% to 32.9% registration lead. Jimmy Carter won Delaware as he did nationally, but the Delaware Republicans bucked an otherwise dismal trend by keeping GOP Senator William Roth in office and buttressing him with newly-elected House member Thomas Evans, Jr. The House seat opened up because fellow Republican Pierre duPont won the governorship, defeating incumbent Sherman Tribbett.

1982: While Republicans held at 32.9%, Democrats continued to increase by rising to a new high of 44.6%. (I’m using 1982 registration data because the 1980 set is missing.) In that 1980 election, Ronald Reagan carried Delaware for the GOP, bringing with him Thomas Evans Jr. and Pierre duPont for another term apiece. Two years later, Evans would be replaced by Democrat Tom Carper, which brings us to…

1984: As part of his 49-state stomping of Walter Mondale, Ronaldus Maximus carried Delaware. He also began a restoration of Republican fortunes in Delaware as their registration total rebounded to 33.6% while the Democrats held practically steady at 44.7%. The Reagan revolution also kept the governorship in GOP hands as Mike Castle won the job. Delaware, though, retained Democrat Joe Biden in office and kept his party-mate Tom Carper in the House. (You’ll notice a lot of these names begin to sound familiar.)

1989: Don’t ask me why, but the state has 1989 registration totals under their 1988 file. Regardless, the GOP continued to eat into the Democrats’ lead, trailing just 43.6% to 36.1%. The 1988 election, though, would be the last time the GOP won Delaware’s electoral votes as George H.W. Bush carried the state, along with William Roth maintaining his Senate seat for the GOP and Castle winning a second term as governor – the last GOP governor to be elected. Tom Carper was the one successful Democrat, keeping his House seat.

1992: This was the year of the big switch in more ways than one. The Republicans were at their peak, garnering 36.8% of registered voters compared to 43.4% for the Democrats. Bill Clinton won the Presidential election, but the controversy was in Mike Castle and Tom Carper trading jobs, with Castle relocating from Dover to Washington as Delaware’s newest member of Congress while Carper came home to become Governor. Neither Senator was on the ballot.

So in the first twenty years of this study, the Republicans lost ground for awhile in the post-Nixon Watergate era but steadily gained it back under Reagan/Bush to return pretty much to where they were when this began.

1996: Whether it was the Perot factor, or reaction to the Gingrich-era Contract with America, both parties lost ground in the mid-90s. Democrats fell to 42.4% – a low they have since continued to recover from – while the GOP slipped to 35.5%. And aside from Castle keeping his House seat for the Republicans, it was a disaster for them as Bill Clinton still won the state and Joe Biden and Tom Carper retained office.

2000: Republicans fell to just 34% of the voters in Delaware, while Democrats moved up to 42.6%. Al Gore carried the state, while Tom Carper returned to Washington to become Senator and his former LG, Ruth Ann Minner, advanced to become Governor. Mike Castle continued in the House for the GOP.

2004: Still slipping, the GOP fell to 32.9% of the voter share, while Democrats continued to increase as they recovered to 43.7%. John Kerry carried the state, while Castle and Minner stayed in their positions. (No Senate race.)

2008: The GOP registration decline accelerated in the mid-aughts, as they slipped close to the 30% mark for the first time (30.2%) while the Democrats established a modern high of 46.4%. Needless to say, they carried the state with Barack Obama as president, Joe Biden (winning a Senate seat he would have to resign weeks later to become vice-president), and Jack Markell as Governor. Mike Castle remained in the House for what would become his last term.

2010: The O’Donnell-Castle election. This was the first election for the TEA Party, and when they came on board the GOP was in its most dire straits yet. The GOP was now down to 29.3% of registered voters, while the Democrats finished a decade of domination by reaching another new high of 47.1%. In a decade, the margin between the parties had grown by nearly 10 points. Democrat Chris Coons won the special Senate election to finish the term Joe Biden began, while John Carney took the House seat Mike Castle abandoned in his unsuccessful Senate bid. The Republicans held on to just one statewide seat, losing in the AG and Treasurer race but retaining the Auditor’s seat.

In the decade since, the GOP has only one statewide election win (Ken Simpler for Treasurer in 2014) and has seen further erosion of their statewide share of voters from 29.3% to its current low of 27.5%; meanwhile, the Democrats have gone up from 47.1% to a new high of 47.7%. Compared to the 2000s blowout, the 2010s were a slow leak, even with the whole controversial Trump term.

So now that I’ve taken 1100 words to set this up, the question is what has caused this long decline? What was different about the two parties in 1972 (or even 1992) that voters were relatively evenly distributed and both parties could win a statewide election?

I think what McVay would argue that the Republican Party has become too conservative, catering to the populist bent of Donald Trump’s supporters and losing its tolerance of what used to make it a “big tent.” At the same time, Delaware Democrats have been more reserved in their march leftward, rebuffing challengers from the left of the incumbents in their two most recent primary elections for Governor and U.S. Senate. (Much of that, though, is probably name recognition or lack thereof for the upstarts.)

Yet the popularity of the party in the Reagan-Bush years belies that assertion. There’s no question Ronald Reagan was a conservative Republican, but he also had a certain amount of appeal to the working class and built a wildly successful coalition of Republicans, independents, and so-called “Reagan Democrats,” bridging the gap between white- and blue-collar workers to dominate electoral politics for a decade. (If he weren’t Reagan’s VP, do you really think George H.W. Bush would have won in 1988?)

In my estimation Donald Trump tried to rebuild the Reagan coalition, but despite his television experience Trump wasn’t really the “Great Communicator” Reagan was. But he also faced a Democrat Party establishment that was radically different than the one in Reagan’s day – while it happened a couple times under Reagan, the George H.W. Bush term was when we really saw that, when Republicans reached across the aisle, the Democrats would rip off their arm and beat them with it. Remember, “read my lips” was supposed to come with spending cuts, too. Guess which part of the bargain wasn’t held up?

So we have had a hardening of the sides and a coarsening of political discourse. More importantly, though, we have to ask the question: when was the last time you heard anything good about the Republican Party?

People tend to operate in an information silo, so when most of these outlets say nothing good about the GOP people tend to shy away from their party and, by extension, their ideas. To a small extent, Donald Trump had pulled back that curtain but he still lost the House at his midterm election, ruining the trifecta built up with takeovers of the House in 2010, Senate in 2014, and Trump himself in 2016. (Delaware had nothing to do with any of that, though. Those red waves bypassed the state.)

The message the Democrats have managed to sell to the state of Delaware is that they are business-friendly moderates – but they’re generally only a step or two behind California, Massachusetts, and Maryland in enacting liberal policies. We have to get enough people fed up with the way things are going to enact change, but you can bet your bottom dollar the Democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) will do their best to maintain the status quo by deriding Republicans as racist, radical, and uncaring – never mind they are none of the three.

Now you would think that the thousands who have arrived in Sussex County over the last decades would help turn the state toward the Republicans but it’s obvious enough of them have maintained the voting habits that made their former states uninhabitable to them that they’re fouling this nest.

Maybe what’s needed is a Contract with Delaware. Something is needed to shake up the lethargy in the Delaware Republican Party before it falls further into irrelevancy. There are good, conservative candidates out there who need to tell us what they are for, not what they’re against.

But to answer the contention: how can you cater to the people who show up when no one shows up? As I said in part one, at least having the 9/12 Delaware Patriots and Patriots for Delaware means we have a bit of a force to counter the waves the other side can bring from the union ranks. It’s a start, so once our side learns which hills are best to attack and which ones aren’t worth dying on, we can begin to make real progress in this state.

Was Delaware gerrymandered?

Earlier this week the state of Delaware had new legislative districts come into effect. They had to be in place by one year before next year’s election so, after the usual suspects blamed Donald Trump for the late Census data – which had to be finagled to account for the last known address of the prison population – the Democrats got their maps through.

Over the next week or so, I’m planning on digging deeper into these numbers and districts. I don’t know where pockets of R or D voters live specifically, but just based on the population and registration numbers there are a few things which merit a second glance. I know my districts didn’t change, so there is that.

Since the candidates may now file in their new districts, I was hoping the state would update their website accordingly so we could see who was already running in 2022. Alas, it was not to be.

However, I did find an interesting calendar of municipal elections for next year. Our friends in Laurel are one of just a handful of towns in the state with no election next year – however, they were one of those that didn’t cancel their balloting this year. (Just one Delaware town remains yet to decide this year, although I happen to know that just across the border in Delmar, Maryland they vote next Tuesday in a hotly-contested mayoral race, among other things.) Maybe next year there will be interest in the tiny town of Bethel, which is just up the road a piece from me.

In looking at this year’s list, I noticed most of the spring elections were bagged, probably due to a lack of candidates. But more of the fall elections took place, which to me shows a newfound interest from the grassroots. It’s something to follow once the calendar flips over to 2022.

So I didn’t want you all to think I forgot about you. This is the month I start getting together my compilations and update some of my pages – hard to believe we are two weeks from Thanksgiving, 20 days from sweet sixteen for my site, and three weeks from inducting the Class of 2021 into the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. It’s a busy month behind the scenes here.

And yes, I will delve into this data.

Beggars and hangers-on with both sides

Over my last (infrequent) series of posts, I’ve taken time on a couple occasions to pick on grifters from the left so in order to be equal opportunity I decided to take on a right-leaning outfit looking to part the gullible and their money.

To set up the story, I heard from an old friend of sorts the other day. Over the years I’ve blogged quite a bit about the Tea Party Express (TPX) on my site, but that wasn’t many pixels compared to when I wrote Rise and Fall. (It’s scary to remember that just about five years have now passed since I first embarked on that project, which came out almost 2 1/2 years ago now.) As part of that book I wrote a much more comprehensive history of the TPX, covering its evolution from being the Our Country Deserves Better PAC in the 2008 election through its chance encounter with a TEA Party rally in Sacramento to being a Presidential debate co-sponsor three years later. After that peak, the TPX slowly declined as they laid off the bus tours they were most famous for after the 2014 primaries and became just another political insider organization subsisting on handouts.

So it almost hurt to read the well-worn script imploring donors to help the TPX “ensure conservatives take back the House in 2022” and promising “we ensure donations ONLY go to proven conservatives, NO RINOS.” What they’re not counting on you recalling is that some of those RINOs were surely people they backed in the first place.

Of course, they mention how “Nancy Pelosi and her lap dog Adam Schiff disgracefully assaulted President Trump,” and that the Left’s goal was not just silencing Donald Trump, but our voice as well. Yeah, yeah, I get all that.

But, you see, the blogger of 2021 is not the gung-ho TPX backer he was back in 2009-10 when he pined for the TPX to make a stop on the Delmarva. Perhaps I saw the light when onetime TPX chair Amy Kremer decided to drop it like a bad habit due to a strategy disagreement and eventually latched onto the Trump phenomenon as her grift. They definitely lost their luster with me as time went on and they moved on from what made them great.

Speaking of the TEA Party, it’s funny that this TPX appeal came a day or two before I listened to a new podcast from an old conservative blogging friend I know, Jen Kuznicki. I think she may be a little more bullish about the TEA Party than I am, but I learned that she was once again in the belly of the beast as a county GOP chair. Yet she points out the difficulty of working behind enemy lines, as it were, in a rural part of Michigan analogous to the situation we here in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland face. (The part about having four votes for her little rural county vs. dozens for the big cities – hey, that sounds vaguely familiar! Just the numbers are a little different.)

I know Jen’s been writing for awhile, so I also know she was a participant in the TEA Party’s attempt to take over the GOP (much like I was, several states away) just as she now advocates the Trump backers to do the same. Yet there always seems to be an issue with getting “establishment” people out of the power positions, regardless of how well you try and take over the local groups. Those in control are not above spreading rumors and innuendo or inserting stalking horses into the race to maintain their hold.

So if it’s true that insanity is believing that you can do the same thing and get different results then the same is true with handing money to the Tea Party Express. It’s money that would be far more useful to the conservative cause if it were donated to a local conservative candidate or traditionalist slate running for school board. That goal amount of $50,000 donated to the TPX will, if they indeed entice the sum from the unwashed, likely fatten the coffers of chosen consultants who will work on the periphery with messaging spots against the Democrats that get tuned out by the electorate instead of going to the candidates who wear away their shoe leather and burn their gas seeking votes where they can find them.

With my sincere apologies to Jen, it’s all a movie I’ve seen before and I really want a different script this time. Maybe the initial organizers of the TEA Party were right in wanting to stay away from the two-party system – after all, once a side assumes they have a group in its pocket (such as the black vote for Democrats or the evangelical vote for Republicans) that’s when they know they only have to provide lip service to your issues. And the TEA Party got a LOT of lip service over the decade it was prominent.

So it was easy to give a hard pass to the TPX. My local patriot group isn’t begging me for money but I bet they’ll work harder for their chosen candidates.

Editor’s note 8-21-21: Jen has promised me she will address this in her next podcast, so keep your ear to the ground.