Category Archives: Elections

Follow the money

Rep. Jana Della Rosa, R-Rogers, argues for House Bill 1427 in committee.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

There’s a scene in “All the President’s Men,” the movie about the Washington Post reporters who dogged the Nixon White House until the president resigned over Watergate. Reporter Bob Woodward, played by Robert Redford, meets in a darkened garage with his background source, “Deep Throat,” played by Hal Holbrook, and says the story is stuck. “Follow the money. … Just follow the money,” Holbrook’s character tells him.

It’s as true today as it was then. It’s my experience covering the State Capitol that most elected officials at the state level are decent folks, and when they compromise, it’s more often out of strategic necessity than a failure of character. Still, if you want to know the whole story in politics, you always have to follow the money.

He was playing chess; she was playing checkers

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Donald Trump won the Republican Party nomination because he was playing checkers while the other candidates were playing chess, and it was a checkers year. In November, the opposite happened: He checkmated Hillary Clinton while she was playing checkers.

Remember the primaries? Those 16 other mostly conventional Republican candidates were all playing chess – trying to execute their grand strategies and position themselves for Trump’s inevitable fade, or to be the last person standing against him. While they were staring at the chessboard, he just kept bouncing from state to state on the checkerboard until he reached the back row and shouted, “King me!”

In the general election, however, it was Clinton who tried to play checkers, while Trump realized it had become a chess match.

2016 wasn’t so bad

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

More than a few people are expressing their hopes for a happy new year by saying good riddance to the old – the basis being that they aren’t happy with the presidential election, along with the fact that a lot of famous people died in 2016, especially lately.

The truth is that famous people die every year, and it’s not the year’s fault. Also, whatever you think about the election, the good news is that we had one.

Consider that on March 1, almost 632,000 Arkansans went to the polls to help select the two major party candidates. Then in November, about 1.13 million Arkansans voted in the general election for one of those two candidates or for one of six others. In January, the current president will peacefully hand the Oval Office’s keys to his successor and become a private citizen, while the new president takes the reins of power only temporarily.

The six voters who mattered

Arkansans hold signs imploring electors not to vote for Trump.
Arkansans hold signs imploring electors not to vote for Trump.
By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

The campaign that began a year and a half ago finally, mercifully ended Monday in the Capitol’s Old Supreme Courtroom, when the only six Arkansans who ultimately mattered in this presidential election one by one said firmly and clearly, “Donald J. Trump.”

Those six were Arkansas’ electors who, in the previous month, had been the subjects of a campaign themselves. Keith Gibson of Fort Smith said he received 70,000 emails, along with 100 handwritten letters and about a dozen phone calls. Most were from out of state and many were just copies sent to other electors with his name inserted, and those didn’t demand much of his attention. But many were personal, emotional and sincere as they pleaded with him not to vote for Trump. Mom was right; he paid closest attention to the handwritten ones.