All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Our thoughts on Election Day eve

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
A forest of political signs at 23rd and Classen in Oklahoma City.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Ever since Donald Trump announced his plans to run for president in the summer of 2015, Red Dirt Report has made it clear about the concerns we have about this man.

We have highlighted his disturbing, fascistic tendencies, his authoritarianism, his demonization of minorities, his misogynistic treatment of women, and his dismissal of the Constitution, particularly the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

And then there is the question of Trump’s mental health.

That doesn’t mean we don’t understand Trump’s “appeal” to segments of the working class, particularly amongst white males who feel that their interpretation of “America” is slipping away from them, as their jobs disappear in an era of globalization.

This, of course, is the rallying cry of white supremacist groups who have endorsed Trump in recent weeks and months.

Sadly, Oklahoma will go overwhelmingly for Trump tomorrow. At least that is what the polls are telling us. This is a deep red, conservative state. We know that. The Republican Party knows that. Trump knows that. But are the policies that the current brand of Republicans are selling Oklahomans – and the rest of the nation – really benefitting all citizens? The voters will decide, of course.

On the other hand we have Democrat Hillary Clinton. And Clinton is not getting a pass from us.

Our concerns about Clinton are vast. And this is not coming from some right-wing, anti-Hillary echo chamber. We question Clinton’s judgement and her time as a senator from New York and as secretary of state. She is clearly in the pocket of Wall Street and a warhawk happy to do the bidding of the Deep State. There is a lot of baggage there that really concerns me and should concern you. She is a terrible candidate and the Democrats should be ashamed having nominated her. But they did, so there you are.

The latest FBI-led, non-investigation of Clinton and the email issue is further evidence that those in power protect their own. Same as it ever was …

But then we thought of Hunter S. Thompson’s piece in his Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie, where he covered the 1992 presidential election, where Bill Clinton was elected president. Thompson shares his misgivings about Clinton and the fact that he is just a political animal with no real “north star" guiding him, from what we can tell.

Wrote Thompson: “Let’s face it Bubba. The main reason I’ll vote for Bill Clinton is George Bush, and it has been that way from the start … There is no way around it (for me) and reason to apologize for it. George Bush is a dangerously failed president and a half-bright top-level nerd who has spent the last four years avoiding grocery stores and gas stations while he tried to keep tabs on the disastrous fallout from the orgy of greed and short-selling that was the ‘Reagan Revolution.’”

Recall that it was during the go-go Eighties that Trump’s star really rose, as did his obscenely large fortune, as his own protective bubble grew ever thicker. Trump was the king of Trumpworld. Either you were along for the ride, or you were not. A lot of people buy the ticket and take the ride.

But you know, there is a third way, in Oklahoma, for the first time since 2000. Libertarian Gary Johnson is on the ballot. Sure, he’s not a perfect candidate, but he has been getting some solid attention – and endorsements from some sizable newspapers around the country – the Chicago Tribune, The Detroit News, The Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, and even the politically-influential Union Leader in Manchester, New Hampshire.

If Hunter S. Thompson were alive today, we suspect he would be in the Libertarian camp and behind Johnson. In his final years, Thompson became friends with wrestler, actor and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, an independent-minded man who is firmly for Johnson. Although I doubt reliable Democrat and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner probably wouldn’t have let the good doctor endorse Gary Johnson in the pages of his glossy.

And today we see that The Post and Courier, out of Charleston, S.C. has told its readers that they are endorsing Johnson and vice-presidential running mate William Weld.

As sagely noted in The Post and Courier: “Gov. Johnson “is not, as Mrs. Clinton is, under investigation by the FBI for improper use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State. He has not, as Mrs. Clinton has, repeatedly lied about that case, expanding a credibility gap for a troubling pattern of deceit that began long before her latest scandal.

And Mr. Johnson is not, as Mr. Trump is, a crude braggart who has consistently shown alarming ignorance on both domestic and international issues. He does not, as Mr. Trump does, have a blatantly weak claim to any constitutional or conservative perspective. Nor does he exhibit, as Mr. Trump does, an excessive self-confidence that borders on blinding narcissism.”

Are we endorsing Gary Johnson? Well, why the hell not? He doesn’t alarm and offend me the way these two other off-the-chart candidates do. And Oklahoma is already strongly in the Trump corner this election. So, go to bed Tuesday night with a fairly clean conscience and vote Gary Johnson.  

But in a way, we are more interested in the state questions that voters will face on the ballot on Tuesday. We are sure plenty of you have already made up your mind, one way or the other, but here is where Red Dirt Report stands on the state questions:

SQ 776 (Oklahoma’s death penalty)

We are strongly against this one. If anything, we should be working on eliminating capital punishment once and for all. Not cementing it into our state’s constitution. There is something unseemly and bloodthirsty about it. Vote no.

SQ 777 (“Right to Farm” in Oklahoma)

This is an ALEC-approved measure that would give constitutional rights to the agricultural industry. This is fearmongering on the part of Big Ag and it should be soundly defeated by the voters of Oklahoma.

SQ 779 (Boren’s penny sales tax for education)

While it looks good on paper, a deeper exploration will show that this appears to be a stealthy effort, on the part of charter school advocates, to undermine Oklahoma’s already troubled public education system. This is a badly written state question that should have gone back to the drawing board months ago, and as such, it should be deep-sixed by voters on Tuesday. (For more information, check out this piece by contributing writer Mark Faulk.

SQ 780/781 (Criminal justice reform measures for Oklahoma)

With our jails bursting at the seams and more women incarcerated in Oklahoma than any other state, we need to be doing everything we can to begin reform our criminal justice system. And these two measures are a great start. 780 would make crimes like drug possession a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, for instance. And 781 use the funds saved by the passage of 780 to begin building programs that would help rehabilitating folks who were, for instance, arrested for possession of drugs. This is being smart on crime, while also being compassionate. Oklahoma definitely needs to start somewhere and we support both of these measures.

SQ 790 (Separation of Church and State)

Oklahoma does not need any more federal lawsuits, particularly when it comes to religious supremacists who want only Christianity promoted, as is clearly evident with the Ten Commandments monument that was at the State Capitol for a while, before being removed.

Essentially, SQ 790, if passed, would remove the portion of the state’s constitution which prohibits the government from using public money or property for the direct or indirect benefit of any religion or religious institution.

The lawsuits will come if SQ 790 passes. This is something the taxpayers do not need in this very cash-strapped period of Oklahoma history.

Red Dirt Report is firmly in favor of separation of church and state and is firmly against SQ 790.

SQ 792 (Alcohol sales in grocery stores)

Initially, Red Dirt Report was supportive of this state question. With all the times we’ve been to Texas and have been able to buy wine at the H-E-B store, well, it made us a little jealous and feel behind the times. And that feeling is being tapped by the monied, pro-792 “modernization” crowd.

But there is something else to consider: already established liquor stores around Oklahoma that will likely go out of business if 792 passes, and allows out-of-state grocery store chains to have an unfair advantage, taking that money out of Oklahoma.

We acknowledge that beer and wine sales in Oklahoma need to be modernized, but we don’t think SQ 792 is the answer.

So, vote tomorrow. The polls open at 7 a.m. And if you want a sample ballot, hop on over to OK.gov/elections for more information.

And remember, don’t feel compelled to vote for everything on the ballot if you are having any apprehensions about a candidate or state question. Voting is a very heavy thing. But it’s important to be engaged and be part of the process, particularly here in Oklahoma where political engagement is at the bottom of the barrel. 

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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