The Trumplican base; Republican efforts to end fusion voting; the News’ new owners take aim at their staff

As things go today, the Republican Party has more or less morphed into the Trump Party, an organization resembling a cult worshipping their fearless leader.  No creative thinking is allowed.  No more bothering about government policies, just non-stop harping about cultural issues that drive the divisions deeper in this country.

There is no denying that the Trump base is large, but it never has and never will exceed much more than about 40 percent of the national electorate; the percentage is much smaller in Democratic states like New York.  Forty percent or less of voters doesn’t win an election. 

The Trumplican base and its leaders are not interested in expanding the party tent beyond Trump true-believers.  An example of such intragigence can be seen in recent efforts by former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra to become involved in the conversations about the Reps’ selection of a candidate for New York governor in 2022.  Giambra, despite his interest, was denied participation in a recent party conclave in Albany that did allow the likes of Andrew Guiliani and other people with no credentials for the office to participate.

Giambra followed up his exclusion by suggesting in a letter to state Chairman Nick Langworthy that the party should work to expand the New York chapter of the Trump Party in order to position themselves better for 2022.  He noted that Democratic Party members equal about 50 percent of registered voters, while the Republicans only have 22 percent.

Giambra’s specific suggestion is that the Republican Party should encourage a primary for governor in 2022.  “Such a primary,” Giambra wrote, “will double the time that GOP candidates will be campaigning, and this will bring with it a corresponding increase in media coverage… The GOP should allow unaffiliated voters to vote in statewide primaries…  This will correspond to the New York GOP nominating someone with a much wider base of support.”

Langworthy would have nothing to do with the suggestion.  He told the Buffalo News “[w]e will not weaken our rules so that Cuomo acolytes can infiltrate our candidate selection process.”

It should be noted, of course, that the Democratic Party would likely also reject the idea of allowing independent voters to participate in party primaries, but when half of the potential voters are already affiliated with the party, the “base” is already pretty strong.

The bottom line is that having the Trumpiest Republican as their candidate for governor in 2022 sends a message to state voters about the type of politics that their candidate advocates, something New York voters have already more than once rejected by considerable margins.  The apparent selection of Congressman Lee Zeldin by the Republican and Conservative Parties as the 2022 nominee gives Democrats 18 months to focus on Zeldin’s total support of Trump political and moral corruption, right up to the denial of the election results, which led to the Trump insurrection on January 6th

Republicans working to end fusion voting

Okay, Conservative Party leaders, settle down.  I’m talking about the Republican Party of South Carolina.

The party in South Carolina, as part of their efforts to suppress the opportunity to vote, is promoting a series of bills in the state legislature, including one to “clean up our absentee ballot excuses and tighten up that process to prevent everyone in South Carolina from voting by mail, like the Democrats want to happen.”

The party also points out:  “[y]ou may not know this, but candidates can run for office representing more than one political party. Democrats will use this tactic sometimes to try and get more votes. It’s called fusion candidacy. This bill would prevent that from happening by requiring one political party per candidate.”

In New York State Republicans are attached at the hip to the Conservatives and are totally dependent on fusion elections.  In South Carolina the party sees fusion voting as evil. 

So no big tent for the Republicans.  Maybe guards should be posted at the entrance to the tent just to make sure no infidels enter.

The Buffalo News under new ownership

It has been more than a year since Warren Buffet got out of the newspaper business in Buffalo.  Buffet made millions of dollars operating the Buffalo News, but by the time he left profitability was also on the way out of the door.

The new owner, Lee Enterprises, publishes 75 daily newspapers in 26 states and more than 350 other publications.  It is one of the largest newspaper groups in the country. You probably haven’t heard of most of their publications.  They are big in Iowa and Nebraska.  The company describes itself as “a leading provider of high quality, trusted, local news and information.”

They have laid off journalists and outsourced work throughout their holdings.  Unfortunately that is not unique in the news business these days as revenues fall.

The News is not the same paper that it was five or ten years ago.  If you read the New York Times and/or the Washington Post yesterday you have already seen some of the stories in the News’ first section today.  The sports section seems to be thriving, but how many stories can you read about the Bills’ draft choices or the Sabres’ woeful performances.  Sports scores from last night’s games, even when they are played on the east coast, don’t get published until two days after the game.

There are positives.  The investigative reporting of Dan Herbeck, Lou Michel and Matt Spina is excellent.  Beat coverage of City Hall and County Hall is up-to-date.  David Robinson keeps us informed about the latest economic developments.  Other local news, however, from town halls to public agencies run by political appointees is spotty at best – a disservice to the general public.

The Buffalo Newspaper Guild is currently in negotiations with Lee Enterprises for a new contract, which will be the first for the new ownership.  The Guild has issued a statement about the negotiations:

“Lee Enterprises, based in Iowa, wants to lay off one-quarter of the Guild workers at The Buffalo News, outsource their jobs to Mexico, Oklahoma, Indiana, Wisconsin and Virginia, and freeze the pensions of all Buffalo Newspaper Guild members even though the fully-funded pension doesn’t cost Lee Enterprises a dime… 

 “These contract demands from Lee Enterprises will have a negative effect on the quality of The Buffalo News and on the customer service our subscribers and advertisers expect. 

“The Guild believes more errors will get published. The world-class design of The Buffalo News will suffer if our designers are laid off and their work is done at a cookie-cutter hub in the midwest. Our deadlines will be artificially early, and late breaking local and national news and scores from sporting events will vanish from your paper. 

“The delivery of the newspaper will also be hurt. Good luck telling a low-paid call center worker in Mexico that your paper wasn’t delivered to your home in Amherst, Cheektowaga or Tonawanda.”

Subscribe to the News.  Buy a paper.  Or maybe better yet, email the CEO of Lee Enterprises, Kevin Mowbray at and tell him Buffalo wants a quality newspaper, and that Lee must staff the paper properly to produce that kind of product.