Sunday, November 27, 2022


Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


     In an op/ed in Politico last week, Jeff Greenfield addressed the Republican and Democratic Party presidential nomination process.  Greenfield writes the Trump campaign has an under-appreciated advantage in understanding the GOP nominating process vs. other potential candidates, because they have been through it before. 

     Most registered voters have little idea how a Party selects the nominee.   The two major Parties do not do it the same way.  Democrats require delegates to their national nominating convention be proportionally allocated in each state.  Republicans leave the decision on how delegates are selected up to each state.   

     Some states, including Oklahoma, hold a presidential preference primary.  In Oklahoma, if a candidate receives 50% of the vote in the primary, all the state’s delegates are pledged to that candidate.  If no candidate reaches the 50% threshold, all candidates who receive 15% or more of the vote get delegates.    Other states use a caucus or a state convention to select national delegates. 

     In 2020, Oklahoma had 43 delegates to the 2020 convention.  15 of those delegates were selected at Congressional District level (5 districts x 3 delegates each).  25 were selected at the state GOP convention.  3 were automatic delegates as elected members of the Republican National Committee (State Chair/National Committeeman & Committeewoman). 

     Oklahoma Republican Party rules and Oklahoma State law bind convention delegates to vote for who they are pledged to for as long as that candidate remains in the race.  Every delegate must sign an affidavit before they attend the national convention.  Three points about the process:

     First, Trump does have an advantage in the nomination process.  Knowledge of how the primary system works is crucial.  Early in 2016, the Trump team was clueless about the delegate selection rules.  They even dared to claim the system was rigged- all while they were winning.  Knowing the quirky rules, by state, is fundamental to being effective in a primary campaign.  Ignorance of how the game is played is no excuse- especially for well-organized candidates.

     Second, expect the RNC and some states to alter/change/amend the rules.  It happens every cycle.  A state changes their delegate selection process to a caucus system or a presidential preference primary or move up or back the date of their primary. 

     The RNC attempts to ‘manage’ the process to avoid a brokered convention by dictating which states can go first in the primary order.  They try to impose penalties (not sitting their delegates) on states that don’t comply.  Each state wants more influence in the nomination process.    

     In 2015, former RNC members presented a rotating system that would have rewarded Red states like Oklahoma, Alabama, and Utah, by allowing those states to hold their primaries first.  It would have given more conservative states a greater influence in the nominating process.  That proposal was soundly defeated.  The RNC continues to allow Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida to hold early races, in spite of the fact they are not as conservative as the previously mentioned trio of states.  Don’t expect the RNC to change the primary order in 2024.

     Third, Oklahoma voters cast their presidential primary vote for an unknown representative. That representative is a political activist who will represent them at the GOP national convention.  They will be legally bound to vote the way the district or state voted.  They will spend their own money and time to travel to the convention.  They will be criticized by some for sticking to their word and doing what they said they would do.  Why would anyone do that?  Because they love their Party, their state and their country?  Those fellow citizens should be applauded, not abhorred.  They should be cheered, not discouraged.  Without their dedication, devotion, and commitment, the process would be havoc and anarchy.     

     America was founded on the principle of the government deriving power from the consent of the governed.  Until the majority of the governed deposit sustained ownership in government, the unengaged and uninformed will show no appreciation for political activists and will detest elected officials.  Roger Miller said, “Some people walk in the rain- others just get wet.”

Sunday, November 20, 2022

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump announced he was running for the Republican nomination in 2024.  “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” he told the crowd gathered at Mar-a-Lago. “America’s comeback starts now,!” Trump proclaimed. 

     Some of Trump’s family isn’t on board like they were in his previous two campaigns.  Ivanka Trump Kushner, the ex-president’s daughter and former advisor, did not attend the announcement and issued a statement after the declaration of her father.  “While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena,” Trump Kushner said.  Her husband, Jared Kushner, a former senior advisor to the president, did attend the announcement, as did sons Eric and Barron, but Donald Trump Jr. was not in attendance.

     Reaction to Trump’s announcement was mixed from Congressional Republicans.  Four term Congresswoman Rep. Elise Stefanik, (R-NY), endorsed Trump, calling him the most popular Republican in America, who has a proven record of conservative governance.  Three term Congressman Rep. Andy Biggs, (R-AZ), who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA) for Speaker earlier this week said Trump was the leader of the Republican Party.  Former White House physician, Texas Congressman Ronny Jackson, (R,TX), said he was 100% behind Trump. 

     Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney(who served 15 months in the job) said Trump was the only Republican who could lose in 2024 and it would be a mistake to nominate him.  Outgoing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan agreed.  Sen. Richard Burr, (R-NC), who is retiring after 28 years in Congress, said he could care less about Trump’s announcement.  It is not unheard of for an ex-president to covet moving back to the White House. 

     Three ex-presidents in American history have come back and ran for the job.  President Ulysses S. Grant served two terms as POTUS from 1869-1877, but declined to run for a third term.  He changed his mind in 1880 and ran for the Republican nomination, but lost to James Garfield on the 36th ballot. 

     After losing to FDR, President Herbert Hoover ran for the GOP nomination in 1936 and 1940, but failed to win the Party’s nod. 

     Three other former presidents tried to get their old job back by running as third-Party candidates. Martin Van Buren ran eight years after he was defeated and came in third and got no electoral votes.   Millard Fillmore created the Know Nothing Party’s nomination in 1852,  and finished third with 21% of the popular vote and got eight electoral votes.  Could it have been the Party’s name?

      Perhaps the best-known ex-president to try and win the Oval Office job back is President Teddy Roosevelt.  After serving seven years, Roosevelt chose to not run for reelection.  He handpicked Secretary of War William Howard Taft as his successor, but quickly regretted the decision.  Roosevelt ran against Taft for the Republican nomination in 1912, but narrowly lost.  Teddy then created the Bull Moose Party.  He got 27.4% of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes.  Taft got 23.2% of the popular vote, but only 8 electoral votes.  Taking advantage of the Republicans splitting the vote, Woodrow Wilson won 435 electoral votes with just 41% of the popular vote. 

     President Grover Cleveland is the only former president who has come back after being defeated for reelection to win a second nonconsecutive term.  Cleveland was the 22nd and the 24th president with Benjamin Harrison the 23rd.  Cleveland, the former governor of New York, beat Harrison in the rematch in 1892.    

     Will Donald Trump be successful and serve a second nonconsecutive term like Grover Cleveland?  Will history repeat itself and Trump win a rematch against Joe Biden like Cleveland did against Harrison?  Will Trump be like Grant and Hoover and fail to get the GOP Party nomination?  If he lost the nomination, would he follow Teddy Roosevelt’s example and create a third-Party?  It remains to be seen how it plays out, but one thing is certain: 2024 is taking shape to be an eventful election.

     American philosopher George Santayana famously said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

     Phil Connors in Groundhog Day put it in more contemporary terms: “I wake up everyday, right here in Punxsutawney, and it’s always February 2nd, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”  That’s how most Americans feel about politics and their government.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Celebrity Republicans clearly didn’t convince voters of their competence!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Last Tuesday’s elections didn’t turn out like most political pundits/sages expected.  Instead of a red wave, it was more like a calm pink tide.  Republicans appear to have gained enough seats to take over the U.S. House, but the U.S. Senate will remain under Democrat control.  It appears the Democrat has won in the Arizona governor’s race, so all in all it wasn’t a strong night for Republicans.  Three observations:

     First, Parties don’t win or lose elections, candidates do.  Republican elected officials and so-called political experts recruited, equipped and funded bad candidates.  The Senate GOP candidate in Pennsylvania was Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Turkish Muslim, who lives in New Jersey.  A regular on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Oz was recruited because he had name recognition and Republicans thought Oz would appeal to ‘swing’ voters.  His opponent was the sitting Lt. Governor in Pennsylvania who had a stroke and struggled through a debate.  They were running to replace Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican. Oz had little appeal to Pennamites in the larger metropolitan areas and Democrats picked up the seat.  Oz may know medicine and television, but in politics, he was a political novice.   

     Republicans ran Kari Lake for governor in Arizona.  Lake was a Phoenix TV news anchor who had high name recognition.  Her Democrat opponent was Katie Hobbs, the sitting Secretary of State in Arizona. It appears Lake lost in a very close race.  In Georgia, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate was Herschel Walker, who was a Heisman Trophy winner while at the University of Georgia and a well-known professional athletic.  Walker was recruited because everybody in Georgia knows who he is.  Walker hasn’t lost yet, but he trails his Democratic opponent as they move to a December 6th runoff.     

     None of the three GOP candidates mentioned have held elective office before.  All three were unconventional, out of the ordinary, outsider candidates.  The three were aggrandized as being conservative outsiders in the mold of former President Donald Trump. Yet voters didn’t seem to care about their notoriety or celebrity status.  They chose the more conventional candidates.  Perhaps the days of PT Barnum ‘now in the center ring’ politics has run its course.

     Second, the grand old Party missed a great old probability.  Inflation is at a 40 year high.  The economy is in the tank. Exit polling showed the economy/inflation was the number one issue with over 50% of voters.   Odds were in Republican’s favor.  Democrat’s failed economy policy is hurting the average family.  Even Democrat pollsters projected the GOP would win big on Tuesday, yet Republicans failed to capitalize on the number one issue.  They instead ran candidates based on personality and not policy. 

     Third, Oklahoma and Florida were the two bright red spots.  Oklahoma voters cast their ballots overwhelmingly for Republicans, which is not surprising.  Republicans easily won their races in the Sooner state, in spite of the fact millions were spent in dark money ads attacking Governor Stitt and Ryan Walters. 

     Florida is another story. The sunshine state reelected Governor Ron DeSantis to a second term 60% to 40%.  DeSantis won Miami Dade county, a traditionally Democrat county, by 10 points- the first time a Republican has won it in over twenty years.    Republicans in Florida won all statewide races and now have super majorities in both the state House and Senate (Oklahoma did it in 2014).  That gives DeSantis a launching pad for a 2024 presidential run.  Florida is a key swing state. 

     The lesson from Tuesday is candidates win or lose elections- not Parties.  Ill prepared, amateur, greenhorn candidates have little appeal to the knowledgeable voter- and they rarely fool the uniformed one.  Running a candidate with little substance so an extra chair is needed at the caucus meeting is a foolhardy strategy.  A notable luminary on the ballot is no different than the unknown career politician.  Both must convince the voter they are competent to do the job.  Celebrity Republicans clearly didn’t do that on Tuesday.


Sunday, November 6, 2022


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     On Tuesday November 8th, America votes.  As of this writing, Republicans are expected to win enough seats to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Control of the U.S. Senate hinges on three very close races.  Results in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Georgia will determine control of the upper chamber.   Polling indicates races too close to call, but pollsters have been wrong.  Some believe the state of the economy (record inflation, supply chain issues) will result in a Red Wave with Republicans taking control of both chambers, rendering President Biden’s next two years politically impotent. 

     In the Sooner state, record amounts of money have been spent on the governor’s race.  Dark money groups have spent millions attacking Governor Stitt.  The lack of transparency and disclosure of who funds the obnoxious, outrageous ads should concern everyone, matter their Party affiliation.  The anonymity allows rich donors to remain undisclosed to the public, while spending millions to influence and buy an election. 

     Federal courts have ruled Americans have a right to use their money to fund campaigns pushing their values and views.  They rule it is a freedom of speech issue. But the public should demand to know who is funding the campaigns.  Until the laws are changed requiring exposure, the public should pay no attention to any dark money ad campaign.  If dark money lurid, dramatic ads were ignored and became ineffective, donors would stop funding them. Three observations about the midterms: 

      First, the best candidate doesn’t always win.  The vast majority of voters are woefully ignorant of issues and candidate’s qualifications and experience, and often base their vote on which candidate has the best marketing plan.  Politics doesn’t require truth in labeling, so lying is an accepted and encouraged practice.  Candidates who do not slander, misrepresent or distort their opponent are considered weak and frail.  Candidates who win because they exaggerated their opponent’s weaknesses and inflated their superiority may win, but they don’t magically transform into gracious, civil, responsive elected officials.  The character and ethics with which they ran their campaign follow them into office.

     Second, America needs resolute leaders.  Hopefully the victors this week are determined, uncompromising and consistent in their convictions.  They should recognize only God knows everything and they should be humbled they were triumphant.  They should listen to their constituents.  They should seek wise counsel from a wide variety of counselors, not just those who funded their campaign.  Sadly, many politicos have become nothing more than puppets for a special interest group that funded their campaign.

      Third, Tuesday’s elections are temporal.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t important, but the space/time continual is not going to be destroyed no matter the outcome.  Christian believers should recognize that God is in control and He sets up authorities as He sees fit.  Winners and losers on Tuesday should recognize that as well.  If more professing believers in elective office governed using the two great commandments as their guide (love God/love neighbor), perhaps God would show mercy on America. 

     Tuesday will not end the discussion of politics.  The 2024 president race will begin immediately after the polls close.  Aspirants in both Parties will begin to test the waters and put together their ‘exploratory committees.’  Americans will not catch a break.  The electioneering will continue!