There are Boston Red Sox fans and New York Yankee fans. In New England, except for southern Connecticut, we lean toward the Sox. However, pretty much everyone, regardless of affiliation, loves baseball. In my salad days, I was very involved in coaching basketball at the elite high school and college levels. The competition was fiercely intense. However, all of us in that competitive world loved basketball.
I use this sports gambit to transition into politics. There are Republicans, Democrats and independents, but one would hope that they all love their country. With respect to our two-party system, analysts use the colors red to denote those states that lean Republican, blue for those that lean Democrat, and purple for those that are approximately balanced.
Sorry, independents, the system hasn’t nominated a color for you — so you are relegated to the purple designation.
Maine, once a die-hard red state, has morphed over the last couple of decades into a purple state. Its Legislature has become more balanced, but even while becoming more blue, it elected a Republican, Paul LePage, to be its governor for two terms.
In the last election, Mainers swung back to a blue choice and elected Janet Mills as their governor.
This balance is also reflected in the state’s choices for senators at the national level. Maine’s junior senator is Angus King, an independent who nearly always votes the Democrat Party line. Our senior senator, Susan Collins, although a Republican, has a voting record which has resulted in her being honored as the senate’s most bi-partisan senator.
All in all, the Pine Tree State is pretty purple.
Now, we are in another election year. In the voting booth, you cannot vote purple; your choices are pretty much red or blue. Independent voters, just like Angus King, will overwhelmingly vote blue. This brings us to the crux of the situation. Will Maine once again be a purple state or will it make a declaration of red or blue?
Well, no surprise that this column would earnestly encourage Mainers to opt for the red side. There are two demographic conditions in our state that are fundamental in making this decision. Surprisingly, Maine, not Florida, has the country’s oldest population, and, perhaps not so surprising, has the country’s ninth lowest average income. With a citizenry, then, that is relatively poor and the oldest in the nation, what are the best political choices to make?
Well, we certainly don’t need a high-spending, high-taxation government. Gov. Mills’ recent budget proposal, at an 11% increase of almost $1 billion, strains our ability to pay for it. It would seem that a Republican administration, such as that of previous Gov. LePage, whose low-tax policies resulted in a state financial surplus, could serve us better.
On the national level, I would opine that Sen. Susan Collins should be the overwhelming choice in this purple state. How could we be better served than by a senator who is the most bi-partisan in Congress? Her deliberative style, always considering the Democratic argument in spite of her Republican affiliation, gives her a status that is uniquely appropriate for Maine. Add to that her leading support for pharmaceutical legislation which will be a huge boon to our aging seniors, as well as her support for tax reform and deregulation that will help with increased wages and moving Maine up the national income ladder, and you have a senator who has your back.
On the matter of increased incomes and wages, the record is clear — the American dream is alive and well. As previously reported here, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has found that, since the tax and regulation reform of the current administration, the bottom 25% of wage earners have seen a 4.5% increase in wages, while the top 25% have seen a 2.9% increase. Furthermore, on Feb. 1, the American Enterprise Institute reported that since the summer of 1990 (a peak in the business cycle) the wages of four in five workers have increased 33%, after accounting for inflation.
Sen. Collins’ support for these policies which have lifted earnings must be acknowledged.
Of course, there will be some who will cry the blues (pun intended) about her terrible “sin” of supporting Justice Kavanaugh. If the best shot that blue opponents have is her courageous support for a man with sterling judicial qualities and who was pilloried with totally unsupported accusations, then they have devolved into political heresy.
I close with a coda on political opinions such as that just given. After each publication of “Another View” a clutch of e-trolls descends on it like ugly on moose. Appropriately, their blue views have no audience other than themselves.
However, a reasonable opinion was recently expressed in a letter to the editor wherein the writer complained about the tenor of this admittedly conservative column and its relevance in these newspapers. At the risk of sounding immodest, may I point out that my writing was recognized by the Maine Press Association with the state’s first prize for newspaper opinion writing in weekly newspapers in 2019. I accepted this honor on behalf of my fellow writers who are a deeply principled and patriotic group.
At the award ceremony in Portland, the master of ceremonies chided me good naturedly for having the temerity of taking first prize ahead of the writer who finished second — Mr. Brower — the owner of the papers which publish this column.
I hope that emcee’s lighthearted jab is not one of foresight.
Another View is a weekly column written collaboratively by Dale Landrith of Camden, Ken Frederic of Bristol, Paul Ackerman of Martinsville, Jan Dolcater of Rockport and Ralph “Doc” Wallace of Rockport.