A better Electoral College

Elections aheadBy Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Voters across this country are being reminded once again this year that, if they live in 39 states including Arkansas, presidential candidates either take their votes for granted or write their votes off.

That’s because we don’t elect presidents by the popular vote but through the Electoral College. Arkansas gets six votes out of the 538 cast, and everyone knows who will win those six – the Republican, in this case Donald Trump. In a Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll published Sept. 22, Trump was trouncing Hillary Clinton, 55-34 percent. But the outcome was obvious long before then.

On Election Night, the Associated Press and the TV networks will call Arkansas for Trump the instant the polls close and then move on to the swing states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

19 not-angry students

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

All adults have been 18 once, but most of us have not been 18 in 2016. There’s a difference, which I kept in mind as I spoke to 19 freshmen taking part in a special leadership course at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith last week. 

The students were there because the university’s chancellor, Dr. Paul Beran, believes they’re future leaders, and for some reason he thought I might have something to say to them. So I encouraged them not to get mad. Proverbs 22:24 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man,” so don’t be that angry man. 

No debate: Tough for Arkansas Democrats to win statewide races

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

You can’t blame a guy for trying, and that includes trying to be a U.S. senator.

I’m referring to Democratic candidate Conner Eldridge’s latest attempt to debate Republican Sen. John Boozman, or at least to remind whoever is listening that Boozman doesn’t want to debate him.

Which he doesn’t, and why would he? Debates are unpredictable, and Boozman might make a big mistake, although this campaign is showing that a candidate can say or do just about anything and still become a major party presidential nominee. Boozman has agreed to one debate, sponsored by AETN Oct. 12.

Boozman will continue doing what all front-running incumbents do: Avoid his opponent no matter how much the opponent gets under his skin, stay out of trouble, and use his huge fundraising advantage to run television ads, which Boozman has begun doing with a recent $300,000 ad buy. The ad shows him in a positive light and doesn’t mention Eldridge, who isn’t on TV yet.

Casino vote makes strange bedfellows

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

There’s a lot more to this debate over the proposed casino amendment than just whether or not Arkansas should have more slot machines than it already does – which is quite a lot between Oaklawn and Southland.

Issue 5 would create a constitutional amendment authorizing the building of one casino each in Washington County, Miller County and Boone County. The casinos would be required to pay the state 18% of their net and would pay 1.5% to the city where they are located and .5% to their local counties. An Arkansas Gaming Commission would regulate.