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If You Ask Me

We, the people, don’t really pick our president every four years

It’s good to see the two people most intimately involved in next month’s meeting of the Electoral College have had similar views on that institution’s place in our democracy.

After the 2000 election, the first in 112 years that saw the winner of the popular vote lose the presidency, Hillary Clinton said, “It’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president.”

Hillary’s hubris cost her the Electoral College win

Donald Trump broke almost all the rules in his successful pursuit of the presidency. But Clinton broke some too, and her rule-breaking proved fatal.  

She lost because she showed disdain for Trump’s supporters instead of trying to attract some of them. (The “deplorables” remark was about as deplorable as it gets.)  And it turned out her strategy was pretty awful for so seasoned a politician, while his strategy, while mocked by many, worked.

Getting the news from all the wrong places

As we struggle through the final rounds of this vile presidential campaign, I was taken by the words of a writer who left journalism decades ago to write novels.

“All the better newspapers were struggling as if the news were no longer a priority or even a convenience. News was now a function of the mill called social media,” writes Ward Just in “The Eastern Shore,” the story of an elderly editor not unlike, said a reviewer, Ben Bradlee, the legendary Washington Post editor who died in 2014.

Boos ring out at dinner where candidates are always nice

Looking for some relief from this ugliest of all presidential contests, I decided to write about how kind the candidates were at the always benign Al Smith dinner. Then I watched it. 

If newspaper endorsements still count, Trump’s toast

Newspaper endorsements for president of the United States were once extremely important but that was long ago when most people got their news from professional journalists.

But if they still matter at all—and I devoutly hope they do—we’ll be enjoying a serving of Trump toast on Election Night, unless he’s no longer running by then.

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Judge’s truth hurts in blistering education ruling

Shameful, isn’t it, that it took a ruling by a Superior Court judge to acknowledge what we have known for so long: that Connecticut deprives its poorest, mostly minority students of their constitutionally guaranteed right to a proper education.  

Governors and legislators of both parties have known that this shameful condition has existed for more than half a century; the educational establishment, teachers, their unions, local governments and the courts have tolerated it; even, at times, upheld it.

Chris Shays will keep his Bush Award

Having left its candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to fend for themselves and lose on their own, the Connecticut Republican Party had time to engage in a little dispute the other day over whether or not to dishonor the last man it elected to Congress.

Best case for Hillary: She’s not the worst option

As I write this, Hillary Clinton has not had a full-fledged news conference in this election year. That’s nearly nine months and counting—more than a year if you begin with the last one, as reported by NBC News, in the fall of 2015. One observer noted that event was held—appropriately—in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Revive the draft, without any of the loopholes

We can make America greater by reviving the draft, along with alternate forms of mandatory public service, for all of America’s  young men and women.   

A military draft would mean other people’s children would never again fight for the rest of us and therefore make hastily considered warfare less likely.  But even a draft with alternatives like the Peace Corps would be a giant step toward liberty and equality for all as well as a character builder for millions.

‘Ma, ma, where’s my pa?’ meets ‘the continental liar’

It’s been said there hasn’t been a presidential election as nasty and divisive as the current debacle since the 1884 contest between James G. Blaine and Grover Cleveland ­— and that one really was, in the language of the day, a doozy.

But on examination, the 1884 election was benign when compared with the present contest between the pair kindly referred to as “flawed.” If 1884 is indeed the second-worst, we have come a long way in the wrong direction to this one.