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02
Maybe you think the legislature ought to cut taxes and spending a lot more. Or maybe you don’t like legislators requiring vaginal ultrasounds for women.
 
Tough – for about 2 in 5 voters.
 
 
“Nearly a quarter of the state legislature won re-election Wednesday without a single ballot being cast. Those lawmakers - 10 senators and 29 House members - didn't draw a challenger. Excluding Libertarian candidates, the number of lawmakers who won't face a major party challenge jumps to 71, or 42 percent of the legislature. At the statewide level, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper was the only official who didn't attract a competitor.”
 
In other words, voters in about two in five legislative districts will have no choice this year.
 
This is what happens when politicians pick their districts and incumbents suck up campaign contributions.
 
Two questions: Are voters paying attention? And do they care?
 
The field is wide open for the politician who can awaken the sleeping giant.

 

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01
An eagle-eyed reader caught a typo on my blog “The Democratic Field” on the governor’s race. The first paragraph should have read:
 
“Dan Blue’s decision NOT to run didn’t surprise many Democrats. They had seen him do this dance before." I had left out "not."
 
As an old copy editor, I’m embarrassed. Not.
 
 

 

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01
My cousin Spencer sat down, opened the newspaper, stared at the headline and landed in a world where old white WASP’s (like him) are dinosaurs.
 
Being a historian by avocation Spencer set about studying the collapse of WASPdom; at first he figured immigration (not modern immigration but old-fashioned immigration back in the 1820’s and 1840’s when hoards of Irishmen and Germans invaded the New World) was the taproot of that headline. I said:
 
Any sixty year old white male descendant of an Irishman or German reading that headline is thinking the same thing you are.’
 
Spencer thought about that a moment. ‘Then it probably started with Women’s Suffrage.’ I said:
 
‘Forget that. Getting the women in our family stirred up means doom.’
 
Spencer paused then progressed to the ‘Sexual Revolution.’ He said, ‘It’s a line straight as the scarlet thread from Sexual Liberation to Women’s Liberation to Gay Liberation to that headline.’
 
Beneath the headline was a picture of a smiling doctor in a white coat with a goatee who heads the Boston Children’s Hospital – only he wasn’t curing mumps or measles. He was curing children, as he said, of being “born in the wrong bodies.”
 
I never reckoned, Spencer said, it could come to this.
 
One night a sixty year old WASP lays down in his own bed and goes to sleep then the next morning he wakes up in a strange land where the newspaper headline reads: “Sex-changing treatment for kids is on the Rise.”
 

 

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01
In almost every any conversation about the Democratic governor’s race, somebody says something like: “Walter Dalton is a nice guy, but …. “
 
What follows “but…” is generally a variation of, well … “dull.” Not “dull” as in “not bright.” But “dull” as in “not exciting.” You’d think his name is Walter Dullton.
 
I rise in defense of “dull.” During my 16 years working with Governor Hunt, I went to many governors conferences – national, regional, policy-centered, you name it. I probably met and saw in action more than 200 governors.
 
I assure you: These are not the most exciting people in the world. Oh, there are a few exceptions – the stars like a Bill Clinton or the oddballs like Jesse Ventura. But, for every Jerry Brown and Sarah Palin, there are 10 Mitch Danielses (Indiana) and Jack Markells (Delaware). You could drop them into a convention of Rotarians or insurance salesmen and not notice a bit of difference.
 
See for yourself. Glance through the National Governors Association roster of current governors.
 
There’s a reason for this. Governors are executives. They have big jobs that affect a lot of people. They exercise a lot of individual power. Voters might go for flash and dash in a Senator or Congressman. But they figure: “How much harm can one nut do? There are 99 other Senators and 434 other Congressman to straighten things out.”
 
But in a governor, being safe, a bit cautious and, yes, even dull can go a long way.

 

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