The campaign is almost over, so it’s time for me – a wise and experienced Maine political observer – to tell you – an obvious doofus – how to vote. You probably don’t believe you need my help in casting your ballot, but clearly you do, because of one or more of the following factors:
1. You have a homemade Donald Trump sign on your front lawn with his name misspelled.
2. You think ranked-choice voting will improve our electoral process, just the way public campaign financing and term limits have.
3. You’ve started getting paranoid, so you just went outside to check the spelling on your Trump sign.
4. You can’t wait to get to the polls to vote either for or against Paul LePage – even though he’s not running for anything this year.
5. You can’t name your state representative, your state senator or a single member of your local school board, but you can list every player on the New England Patriots roster and a dozen members of the practice squad.
6. You brag about being able to do that while drunk.
7. You just found an alt-right website that spells it “Trummp,” so that’s gotta be correct.
8. You’re voting no on Question 3 because you saw a sign on your neighbor’s lawn telling you to do that – although you’ve got no idea what Question 3 is supposed to do. Something about welfare, maybe.
9. You’re the sort of doofus who takes a selfie in the voting booth.
10. You actually are Paul LePage, and you claim the misspelling on your “Trummp” sign is the result of vandalism by out-of-state drug dealers. You don’t necessarily believe those creeps are black or Hispanic, but you’ve got evidence in a three-ring binder indicating there’s a 90 percent chance they are.
11. You think the election is rigged. You’re not sure by whom, but your best guess is black guys in a car with Massachusetts plates. Either that or radical Islamic terrorists.
12. Wait, it could be Russians.
Fortunately, no matter how many of these afflictions you suffer from, I’m sure I can help. Well, not if it’s number 10. Or any of the other ones with misspelled Trump signs. But most of the rest.
The problems facing this state are not, as most politicians claim, simple. They’re complicated, and the solutions to them are, likewise, complex. Liberals will tell you everything would be swell if we just expanded Medicaid, welcomed immigrants and ate more kale. Conservatives insist we could achieve a more perfect union by cutting taxes, creating more charter schools and jailing anyone who doesn’t stand up during the national anthem. Moderates are wedded to the concepts of civility, compromise and ranked-choice voting. All of them are wrong.
It took a long time for Maine to get into the economic mess it’s in, and it will take even longer to get out. Doing so will require patience (I think moderates are in favor of that), diligence (a solid conservative value), innovation (liberals are so down with that) and beer (everybody’s friend). Unfortunately, the solution isn’t sexy, the impact isn’t immediate, and the idea isn’t the least bit original.
Rather than dithering around with tax breaks for call centers and bond issues for nebulous research and development projects, the state should invest in bringing high-speed broadband to the underserved hinterlands. In time, that would attract all manner of entrepreneurs to parts of Maine devastated by loss of jobs and out-migration of young people, because those are places where rents are cheap, and the quality of life is high (if you happen to like trees and/or kale). This wouldn’t solve all the state’s problems. But over the next decade or so, it would put us in a position to address many of them. It would broaden the tax base, thereby allowing tax cuts. It could increase diversity, thereby making us … uh … more diverse. It might cause us to forget all about silly ideas like ranked-choice voting, but probably not.
So, when you go to the polls on Nov. 8, vote for anybody who’s in favor of this – which will be a lot like not voting at all.
And always use Spell Check on political signs.
- Published in Politics & Other Mistakes