By Art Parker
Every election-day Steve Flowers and I talk and/or send text messages to one another trying to get a grip on things. Last Tuesday was no different and we both agreed there would be a low turnout. And it was.
A Primary Election and Primary Runoff day is when many folks are elected, especially in Alabama, which is nearly a one party state. A runoff often answers the final question as to who will serve and we should have big turnouts on those days.
But we don’t. That’s a shame.
Last week I read an interesting passage in a piece in The Huffington Post that was published last year:
57 percent of Americans voted in the last Presidential election. 93 million Americans stayed home. To put it differently, more Americans did not vote in the last presidential election than there are citizens of Egypt, Germany and Iran. Nearly twice as many Americans did not vote in the last Presidential Election as the total number of people killed in the Second World War. 7-million more Americans did not vote in the last Presidential election than the record setting 86-million people who watched the final Presidential debate.
A Presidential election always creates the greatest turnout and really that race affects us much less than people realize. I still subscribe to the theory that state and local government impact our lives far more than the federal government. Just let your garbage go uncollected or have part of it scattered in your yard because the city sanitation workers did a poor job. You will not watch the Presidential debate because you will be out there cleaning it up and, you are more likely to call someone at the city the next day and complain because you’re mad as hell. When the police take much too long to respond to your call you will not even think about Trump and Putin being too buddy-buddy.
Yet for state and local elections our failure to vote is much greater than it is in Presidential election years. And what’s worse, we pay virtually no attention to who these people are and what, if they are an incumbent, they have done.
Okay. So much for that. What did happen despite the low turnout was a partial draining of the swamp-to put it in modern terms.
The biggie in my book was the victory of Will Ainsworth over Twinkle Cavanaugh in the Lt. Governor’s race. This is terrific news for Alabama since Cavanaugh represents the old guard and is a soldier in the Bob Riley/Mike Hubbard camp. Any victory over Riley’s army is welcomed news in my book.
Stan Pate defeated long time legislator Gerald Dial for the Agriculture and Industries top job. I view this as good news as well.
Montgomery’s Alvin Holmes, who has been hanging around the State House since I was a sophomore in college, was walloped and will not return to the Alabama House of Representatives. I must admit that I will miss ole Alvin. I didn’t agree with Holmes that much but he was very entertaining. I do believe he represented the people of his district far better than most members of the legislature.
Of the results I find most disturbing is the U.S. Second Congressional District, a seat that will be retained by Martha Roby after she defeated Bobby Bright, and will almost certainly prevail against her general election opponent. I really think re-electing Roby will be the continuation of a disaster. I am convinced that Roby lacks what it takes to be effective in Congress and she will continue to be a ‘yes man’ to whatever the party bosses tell her to do.
Next up is the General Election in November. We have a race for Governor, A young mayor from Tuscaloosa, Walt Maddox, will challenge incumbent Kay Ivey. I’ve already made up my mind and believe Ivey needs to go to the sidelines. Like so many, she has been hanging around too long.
The best news is that all of the lies and advertising are over…for now. We will see some of the same old stuff come around about Labor Day. And then we will be subject to all of this campaign stuff again.
I bet you just can’t wait.