It’s been a good election – for liberals

Hand with ballot and boxBy Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

After four days of the Republican National Convention and two days of the Democrats, one thing is clear: Regardless of who wins in November, it’s been a lot better year for liberals than it’s been for conservatives.

For traditional conservatives, in fact, this election season has been tough, and a bit of an awakening.

The Republican Party has long been thought to be dominated by two factions – pro-business/less government types, and social conservatives. To maintain power, the party has had to appeal to Wall Streeters in New York and pro-lifers in Arkansas.

But it turns out that Donald Trump understood something that the data-driven party establishment didn’t: who really votes for Republicans, and why.

Don’t be a reptile this election

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

You’re not a reptile, so don’t let yourself be treated like one this election cycle.

In legal circles, the “Reptile Theory” is the basis for many plaintiff’s attorneys’ cases. According to a report by Dr. Ann Greeley that’s posted on the American Bar Association’s website, lawyers across the country have stopped trying to focus on building sympathy for their clients and instead are focusing on rousing anger toward the defendant.

The practice got its name from a 1960s theory of evolutionary biology by neuroscientist Paul MacLean, who said the brain at its most primitive core is “reptilian” and focused on survival.

Good news: Schools getting connected

Like all Arkansas public school students, Warren students Jackson Denton and Breize Fellows are being connected to high-speed broadband internet.
Like all Arkansas public school students, Warren students Jackson Denton and Breize Fellows are being connected to high-speed broadband internet.
By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Ready for some good news? Do you remember a few years ago when Arkansas’ public schools had inadequate internet connections, and there was a big controversy, and it seemed like this was going to be another one of those huge political fights requiring a lot of taxpayer dollars?

Problem solved. Seriously.

Mark Myers, director of the state Department of Information Systems (DIS), told the House and Senate Education Committees Monday that by July 2017, Arkansas will be one of three states where every school is connected to high-speed broadband internet. The fiber network will give schools speeds of 200 kilobits per second per student, which is twice the generally accepted minimum standard of 100 kbps. The network is ready to expand those speeds to 1 megabit per second per student without having to buy new equipment.

Spend less to tax less

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin says tightening state government's finances is the necessary first step to cutting taxes.
Lt. Governor Tim Griffin says tightening state government’s finances is the necessary first step to cutting taxes.
By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin is pushing an idea: Cut spending first and then cut taxes. It’s so crazy it just might work, which is why he wants to try it in Arkansas and why, hopefully, someone will try it in Washington, D.C.

Griffin, who has announced he is running for re-election in 2018, points to the state’s ranking in the high 40s in many areas. Sitting across the table from me in a Little Rock coffee shop, he said the state can’t get to the top by tweaking. “Bold is the only option” he said.

A top priority would be the state’s income tax. It ranks in the middle of the country, according to the Tax Foundation, but the top rate, 6.9 percent, is tied for 14th highest and hits all filers with incomes of $35,099, which is not exactly Walton money.