Please, make it end; campaign financials

You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind… Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

I am a self-admitted political junkie and have been one for a long, long time. This presidential cycle, which kicked off with Ted Cruz’s announcement in March 2015, has gone on for about 19 months. It gets more painful by the day. Please Lord, make it end!

I will move past the obligatory “no one is perfect” line. Anyone who has not been living in a cave for these many months has at least a passing knowledge of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump, however, has taken things well past normal knowledge or understanding of the political world. He and his running mate Michael Pence and their fellow travelers are operating in another universe where the truth as recorded in video and audio does not exist. Arguing about facts when facts are documented and preserved is totally bizarre. But that is what they are doing.

The Breitbart-controlled Republican Party went “nuclear” on Sunday night in a desperate attempt to hold on to the party base. Civility and respect for others went totally out the window. As if that was not enough, Trump spent half the debate physically stalking Hillary, evidently trying to intimidate her. Which, of course, didn’t work. Rick Lazio must have been so proud of Trump.

In less than forty-eight hours after the Trump sex-laden tape was revealed, the number of Republican governors, senators and congressmen and women who dropped their support of him grew to 18 percent of their total number. Yesterday Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he would no longer defend Trump, which was of course followed by a Trump tweet denouncing Ryan.

All of this is coming just four weeks before Election Day. Governors, senators and congressmen are jumping off the sinking ship and the country’s highest elected Republican is avoiding the Republican nominee for president. The best theory I have heard about what is going on is that these same Republicans were not moved to abandon Trump when all he was doing was attacking POWs, Muslims, minorities, the disabled, or Rosie O’Donnell because those attacks did not affect people that the Republican politicians spend much time being concerned about. The Trump sex video, however, with its disrespect for women, has a much bigger impact on voters the Republicans have counted on in the past. Thus, their panic.

A new NBC poll, taken after the tape came out but before Sunday’s debate, shows Clinton now extending her lead into double digits. Polls will continue to bounce around over the next four weeks. I happen to think there is a more telling indicator about where this thing is going: those 60 or so Republican governors, senators and congressmen who have abandoned Trump. There will be more. They are the canaries in the mine that tell us how this will all end.

It can’t happen here

Trump’s sinister threat during the debate to, if he were to win, appoint a special prosecutor to go after Clinton to send her to jail is Breitbart-Conway plotting at their worst. The threat is yet another parallel between Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel “It can’t happen here” and what is continuing to play out in the Republican Party campaign. You can read my earlier blog post about the book here.

In the book, after the populist-fascist candidate, Brezelius Windrip, is elected president, he has his former campaign opponent arrested and locked up. A hundred or so congressmen are also arrested when they refuse to go along with the new president’s demands for total control to run the country.

It can’t happen here.

The latest campaign financial reports

Campaign committees were required to file their latest financial reports last Friday with information available through October 3rd. Here is the summary for major local races:

  • Erie County District Attorney. Democrat John Flynn and Republican Joe Treanor are nearly tied in the amount they had in their campaign treasuries as of October 3rd. Flynn had a balance of $1,764; Treanor $1,742. Flynn has a liability of $10,000. Flynn has a fundraiser planned for next Monday, October 17th. Treanor says he is self-funding, but he will accept contributions from the Republican Party. One other note about the Flynn fundraiser: he is informing potential donors that he will not accept any donations from staff of the District Attorney’s office or their families.
  • State Senate, 60th District. The TV ads are flying in this district for both Chris Jacobs and Amber Small. Jacobs’ ads, which are kind of off-beat, seemed to have been paid for indirectly by the State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, which recently donated $119,000 to Jacobs’ committee. He had a balance of $243,512. Small’s account had about a tenth of that — $24,594. There are TV ads running for her that are paid for by New York State United Teachers.
  • State Supreme Court. There is a four-way race for two seats in the Eighth Judicial District. Actually there is a fifth candidate, from New York City, who is running to facilitate a Working Families Party political deal on Long Island, but there won’t be any activity here from him. Republican candidate Mary Slisz had a balance of $189,353. No TV buys were reported yet. As of 8 AM on October 11th the other Republican candidate, Daniel Furlong, did not have a campaign report recorded. Democrat Lynn Keane’s account showed a balance of $75,805, but she had already purchased $46,000 in TV air time. The second Democratic candidate, Grace Hanlon, reported a balance of $37,352, having raised $48,703 thus far. The race for the two Supreme Court candidates will be impacted by turnout and votes for president on the Democratic and Republican lines. I’ll have an analysis of such things later this month.

A parting note

Some campaigns are deep into their final push while others seem to be just getting started.

The Republican candidate in the 26th Congressional District against incumbent Brian Higgins is Amherst businesswoman Shelly Schratz. She once served on the Town Council and has run for other offices including County Clerk.

schratzSchratz’s campaign seems to be moving into high gear. I have personally seen two lawn signs. One is located at the Harlem Road entrance to the 290. The other is at the end of the Kensington Expressway at Michigan and Goodell.

I am not sure who might be paying for the signs because they are not exactly campaign signs. They advertise Schratz’s restaurant, Bing’s, on top, with “Shelly Schratz” printed below. Next to her name, in very small print, are the words “Owner.”

So maybe she is just advertising dinner specials. Or maybe it is her way to link her business experience to the campaign. In any case, I offer some unsolicited advice here – Don’t quit your day job.

There have been rumors speculating on who might, at least temporarily, succeed Chris Jacobs as County Clerk if he is elected to the State Senate. Schratz’s name has been mentioned. Word on the street is that it’s not going to happen. Perhaps planning a new fall menu would be in order.

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