2020 Vision in 2018

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Remember Conner Eldridge? He was the Democratic opponent to Republican Sen. John Boozman in the 2016 general election. Because Republicans are hot stuff these days and it’s tough to tackle an incumbent he lost. He’s back to lawyering.

There’s any number of good people like Eldridge who at least for the moment end their political aspirations once defeated. This is why I’m not stating which candidate I will choose in Tuesday’s party primaries.

Also, my record on endorsements and election predictions is under 50 percent so I likely could jinx my pick.

Over the weekend, I posted a problem on Facebook. My neighborhood is in the 86th District of the Arkansas House. If you’re on the liberal side of things, we rock: It’s so traditionally Democratic there’s no Republican candidates. Whichever Dem wins the May 22, 2018, primary heads to Little Rock in January.

[UPDATE, May 22, 2018: I was reminded at the ballot box today that we live in the 85th District, represented by Democrat David Whitaker, who faced no competition today and has no GOP opposition in November. Otherwise, the rest of this column is cq.]

This time out, the 86th is considering two similar candidates, Fayetteville City Council member Mark Kinion and community organizer Nicole Clowney. (Names are linked for their vitals.)

Both would be strong legislators for Northwest Arkansas.

The response was lively. Supporters of both, and opponents of either, wrote in public comments and private messages.

A third side also wrote in, calling for “strategic voting.” As Arkansas has open primaries — a voter asks for the party ballot on signing in, rather than being on the record as D, R or I — we can for the moment belong to the other party. In this case, choose a Republican to the right of incumbent Gov. Asa Hutchinson and one to the left of 3rd District U.S. Rep. Steve Womack. This mid-term year has few contested races. In this neck of the woods, little might be lost by crossing over this time.

Strategic voting gives me the willies, although I see the point. Elections have so many variables, I just don’t see how they can be gamed consistently.

Consider this article by friend Bobby Ampezzan, “Republican Dominance, Open Primaries Makes One Party’s Picks Ripe For Crossover Vote.”

A cross vote might make sense if the candidate is near critical mass and your choice is a few votes short. Otherwise, it’s 2016 again, where Bernie Sanders fans who so resented Hillary Clinton they didn’t vote for anyone for president or voted for Trump or a third-party candidate. They’re to blame for DJT, too.

This field, this primary, actually is worth voting in. Look at these candidates for the 86th and what’s being said, and choose. It IS important. This is where your vote counts the most.

Here’s the deal, though. On Wednesday the 23rd, one of these fine choices will be the loser, no matter whom I’ve chosen or if I’d asked you to join me.

That person — I’m begging — should start to consider this week what to do for 2020. I hope that’s a run in a strong race for an area or statewide position.

We need both Mark and Nicole to help repair our state and nation from the damage caused by flaccid fascist Donald J. Trump and those who work for him, support him or acquiesce to his policies and their flip-flops and his decisions, hesitations and reversals.

©2018 Ben S. Pollock Jr.
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