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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Analyzing Tuesday’s elections

Posted on Nov. 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 9, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.

Richard Leib

Tuesday’s aftermath. Looking back at what happened four days ago.

Locally, the Goshen referendum was the big news. As everyone knows, it passed handily.

I was, and am, in favor of Indiana’s property tax caps. In fact, if I had my way, I would vastly reform property taxes in a way that would eliminate the appraisal system. This would require other tax restructuring in order to make up any revenue that would be lost, but that could be done.

That point, though, is not relevant. Nothing like that is gonna happen.

As it is, schools can get money when they truly would benefit from it. But they must make their case and the case must be taken to the voters. I like that the decision is a local one.

Had I been one who could have voted in Goshen last week, I would have voted “Yes,” as did the majority. Goshen under Mayor Allan Kauffman has blossomed, and I think he made a compelling case for the referendum.

Nationally some interesting stuff happened. New York City voted overwhelmingly to go far left. Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio disproved the oft-repeated adage that liberals can’t win if they admit they are liberals. This guy made no secret of his political views.

I think he’s going to make a mess of the city. I expect it will become “Los Angeles East,” but we will see. It will be a Petri dish worth watching.

De Blasio’s campaign makes me think of the 2012 campaign of François Hollande in France. He, too, avowed strongly progressive “soak-the-rich” governance. France elected Hollande, and so far it’s going badly for him. Last week French riot police fired tear gas at thousands of anti-tax demonstrators.

Ken Cuccinelli’s loss in Virginia intrigues with its under-stories. Parts and parcels of this contest were the internal war within the Republican Party, the inaccuracy of the published polling data and the sneaky tricks that were used.

The establishment GOP underfunded Cuccinelli. They claimed that was because it looked to them as though he didn’t stand a chance. His money ran out the last month. Many observers think, though, that the GOP would have backed him had he not been a tea party candidate.

Then, too, the GOP was looking at widespread polling data that generally showed him to be trailing by double-digit amounts. When he election was over, he actually lost by only 2.5 percent.

And finally there was that “Libertarian” candidate that drew many far-right votes. Except the “Libertarian” was funded heavily by a Democrat bundler. That’s a sneaky but effective ploy. It’s an old trick called “supporting a spoiler.”

Democrats did something similar when Jackie Walorski was defeated by Joe Donnelly back in 2010. The Indiana Democratic Party spent $15,000 sending out a direct-mail piece supporting third-party Libertarian candidate Mark Vogel, touting him as “the true conservative” in the race.

Will a Libertarian spoiler again be used to sap Jackie’s vote count in 2014? We’ll see. It’ll be a donnybrook of a campaign for certain.

And finally, the presidential campaign of “the mouth that roars,” Chris Christie, can now begin. I like him. Naturally some pouting purists of the ultra far right are saying they won’t vote for Christie because he doesn’t fit their definition of conservative. That’s self-defeating, but it’s expected within a certain mindset.

Last Tuesday. There were no great surprises, but there were some lessons to be learned.

Former Elkhart furniture store owner Richard Leib has served on planning committees in several industries. An avid auto fan, he raced in the 1972 coast-to-coast Cannonball Run. He has written on a wide range of subjects.

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