Reflections on the Buy and Sell Side of Politics by Al Sikes

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Politics past, and especially the recent past, recall the overriding law of the jungle—eat or be eaten. Predators prevail.

C.S. Lewis, in Chronicles of Narnia, wrote his youthful protagonists into the jungle where they encountered many perils along with the lion, Aslan. While Aslan’s appearance was ferocious, his temperament was graceful. He led them beyond their indiscretions.

The world’s greatest leaders were, when needed, ferocious but all had at least a modicum of grace. I recall quickly: Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, and Anwar Sadat. Apologies for leaving out your preferred example for I suspect each of us has a list; that is a good thing. We always need to hold on to what might be.

President Trump decided to make Tuesday’s election about himself. He is incapable of doing otherwise. His exploits are always the “best ever.” He subtracts humanity, and as he belittles, he makes himself small. Fortunately in America, every two years we get to vote.

Tuesday proved once again that small is not enduring. To be somewhat more precise, Trump’s stance caused an increasingly widening gap in the female vote as many women who might be predisposed to conservative approaches disdain him or for that matter a Party in his image. Thank you for reminding us that ferocity without at least a touch of grace is not enough. If Trump remains graceless, he will lose.

Talbot and Kent Counties

In both Talbot and Kent counties, Governor Larry Hogan won overwhelmingly; he topped out in Talbot with 77.9% of the vote. At the same time Jesse Colvin, running for Congress as a Democrat, won both counties. In Talbot alone, Congressman Andy Harris received 5,134 votes less than Hogan. Unsolicited advice to Harris: the next insurrection, which might occur in your Party, could be politically fatal.

It is also apparent in Talbot County that there is a sizeable swing vote that pivots on smart growth. Republican Laura Price and Democrat Peter Lesher finished one and two in the balloting and the face of less restrained growth, Jennifer Williams, lost, polling 1,670 votes fewer than Price.

Split Congress

There was a time when I thought a split Congress was a bad thing. No longer. Most politicians seem incapable of “working across the partisan aisle” unless forced to do so. I am still not sanguine as most elected officials seem to have no higher purpose than to be reelected. Only when voters begin to reward authentic efforts at bi-partisanship, on intractable issues, will members of Congress come around. We have some intractable issues; why not start with a timely budget that takes a chunk out of the projected trillion dollar annual deficits.

Jesse Colvin

Jesse Colvin prevailed in Talbot and Kent Counties in part because he understands honor. He served his nation as an Army Ranger and now has served his nation in maintaining an honorable campaign, even after President Trump took him on in a robocall. Jesse is poised to be a generational leader, and I look forward to following what I know will be a success.

Kudos to the Much Maligned Media

The Talbot Spy and Chestertown Spy publications gave voters an intimate view of each candidate. Kudos to Dave Wheelan for letting each candidate turn to video to make his or her case.
And to the Star Democrat, thank you for investigative reporting on what turned out to be a heated and at times quite deceptive campaign for the Talbot County Council.
Democracy’s linchpin is the news media and when their job is well done the Republic is much stronger.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

Letters to Editor

  1. Robert B. Amdur says:

    Al: You failed to mention that Andy Harris garnered more than 60% of the total vote in the 1st congressional district. That’s a terrific showing for any candidate. …Robert Amdur

    • George Lawrence says:

      Hear, hear. Congressman Andy Harris has been a very strong and responsible congressman. He shows up for work, votes with digniity based on research, and did the right thing more than 94% of the time. Shame on the Democrat false information (lies) . And Andy is the only Republican in the Congressional Delegation. What a piece of mince-meat Nancy Pelosi and Elijah Cummings would make of a nice new freshman member of Congress. MD-01 did the right thing voting 70% for Congressman Andy Harris. A Man of experience, wisdom, and integrity. The State needs more Andy Harris’s.

  2. Another excellent article, Al, thank you. I wish Jesse Colvin had carried our entire district for so many reasons and also look forward to following his successes. I, too, applaud the Talbot Spy for their coverage of the candidates, and all who expressed their opinions; it was very insightful.

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