What else is there in the news now except politics and violence?
To add to the topic of politics, the numbers from Arkansas' primary deserve some attention even though the national parties don't pay much attention to us. Using the information published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette the morning after the mostly complete totals were available (March 3, 2016 which did not include Carroll County), I was able to tabulate the following for the purpose of discussion over coffee at the local roundtables.
State wide, the 74 counties in the report had 624,672 ballots with 65.1 percent of them in the Republican Primary. Benton County had 10.43 percent of the total Republican vote with 42,394. Benton County had 4.79 percent of the 218,120 Democratic ballots with 10,451 voters. Almost 2,000 more people voted for candidates in the Republican presidential contest than voted in the U.S. Senate race. Is it possible that a number of Democrats voted in the Republican race to support Donald Trump? There were numerous instances on television of individuals in other states calling themselves Democrats who reported on exit polls as having voted for 'The Donald.' Also, the networks interviewed some individuals who said they had never voted before but wanted to vote for Trump, so they voted on Republican ballots.
I doubt that it surprised anyone that Hillary Clinton won in the Democratic Primary, but her margin was not as great as I would have expected considering her former status as Arkansas' First Lady. In Benton County, she had 5,650 votes to Sanders' 4,696 -- a bare 954 vote margin. (The other four names on the Democratic ballot had a total of 105 votes between them.) By contrast, in Pulaski County, Clinton's vote total was more than three times Sanders' count.
Across the state in the Republican election for presidential candidates, Trump came in first with 32.75 percent, Cruz had 30.47 percent and Rubio was third at 24.90 percent. Kasich was barely visible with less than 4 percent. Since numerous names appeared on the ballot from candidates who had already dropped out (Carson's totals are in this group even though he actually was still in the race at the time), the nine individuals received 33,202 of the state total. Favorite son and former Governor Mike Huckabee accounted for 4,703 of the state's other votes.
The totals for Benton County are of more interest to most of us and reflect a much different priority than the state wide results. In Benton County, Marco Rubio came in first with 12,863 votes -- 30.3 percent of the 42,394 vote total. Ted Cruz was second at 11,909 -- 28.1 percent, and Trump was third at 11,828 -- 27.9 percent and less than 100 votes behind Cruz. Kasich was fourth with 2,272 and the other nine totaled 3,522. Most of those were cast for Dr. Carson who is no longer in the contest.
It is difficult to determine if we are a "typical red state" from the results since we don't have detailed figures from other states. However, the first observation is that we fit the norm for red or Republican states. Our results are consistent with a Clinton Democrat nominee and Trump ahead in the state but not having a 50 percent popularity at the polls.
The Republican Party continues to embarrass itself over Trump's success and now we have threats of violence if he is not awarded the nomination according to the current party rules. It is no wonder our elected leaders in Washington have accomplished nothing during the last two years. Self-interest abounds in our legislative branch. Neither political party is without fault in the overall failure to serve our national interests. Hence the rise of Donald Trump to recognize and lead the frustration of the angry and disenchanted population.
Hillary Clinton seems to be certain of the Democratic nomination even though many feel she is not trustworthy, has lied about her email server and has abused her government position to enhance the finances of the family's Clinton Foundation. Perhaps the FBI investigation is the motivation for Bernie Sanders to keep his campaign alive. He is consistent about his message and the funding for the campaign seems to keep coming in. We only have to endure the process for another seven and a half months, more or less, and whatever the outcome we can only pray for things to improve after the election is over.
Editor's note: Leo Lynch is an award-winning columnist. A native of Benton County, he is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.Editorial on 03/23/2016
Print Headline: Politics still consumes the news