Election 2016: October 2016 Archives

As is usual about three weeks before an election, I've received several requests for a voters' guide. Already voters who plan to be out of town are getting ready to cast an absentee ballot. If the presidential race weren't perplexing enough, we also have to decide seven state questions and whether or not to retain State Supreme Court justices and criminal and civil appeals court judges.

Even before I had a blog, it was common for friends to ask my opinion in the run-up to election day. One of the reasons I started a blog was to be able to "refer the honorable gentleman [or lady] to the answer I gave some moments ago."

I'm happy to be of service, and I'm honored by the trust BatesLine readers place in my judgment. But it takes time to do the research and to turn that research into writing. Although I'd be doing some of that research anyway, for my own use in voting, it takes much less time to read and study enough to decide my own vote than it does to gather and organize and present an article capable of providing the BatesLine readership with not only my opinion but my reasons and research, too.

My family and my employer have dibs on my time, and it seems my free time is quickly eaten up with yard work and laundry, and I'm behind on both. There's money invested, too, in hosting and domain fees -- the basics to keep BatesLine online -- and there's often some expense in doing research.

So before I invest that time in gathering and presenting this information to you, let me ask you, dear reader. What's it worth to you?

If the information you get here on BatesLine, particularly during election season, is valuable to you, there are some tangible ways to show your support:

The first way is to hit the PayPal tip jar over on the right sidebar. You can use your PayPal account or a major credit card to make a contribution to BatesLine. I don't have any totebags to send you in return, but I'll publish your name and donation amount on a list of contributors which will be prominently linked through election season (unless you ask me to withhold either name or amount).

The second way is to buy an ad on BatesLine. BatesLine readership is always at its highest in the run-up to an election, so it's a great time for a candidate (or any business that wants the attention of politically active Oklahomans) to run an ad. Even if you're not a candidate, you could still run an ad in support of your favorite candidate. (You're responsible for reporting it as an in-kind donation to the campaign.) Ads start as low as $30 a week for a text-only spot, $50 a week for a small ad with text and an image. There are discounts for multiple weeks.

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That's the soft sell. Here's the hard sell, in the spirit of the late, great Gene Scott: I'm not going to blog about the Oklahoma 2016 election until you people GIT ONNA PHONES PAYPAL and demonstrate the value of the teaching.

Play "I Wanna Know"!

To put it more plainly, I'll start posting stories about the state questions and judicial races once there's been a response that indicates genuine interest.

While donations are welcome, a BatesLine ad is a smart move, giving you, your company, or your visibility with the thousands of Oklahoma voters who'll be dropping by over the next few weeks.

(NOTE: I reserve the right to reject ads or contributions. Reasons for rejection may be arbitrary or capricious but more likely will be so I can avoid posting something on my blog that advocates for a cause or a candidate that's anathema to me.)

Brett Farley resigned his post Saturday as Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Republican Party after the party chairman refused to issue a statement calling on Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

Writing on his blog, Farley said that he sent a message Saturday morning urging OKGOP chairman Pam Pollard to release a statement along the following lines:

"The Republican Party was founded to promote certain principles, rights and values that befit a free and moral people and to advance candidates for office who will defend them. It has been demonstrated finally and without question by this most recent revelation of what Donald Trump has said and what he said he does that he is wholly unfit to continue as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. We, the Republican Party of Oklahoma, join the growing chorus of party leaders and elected officials around the country in demanding that Mr. Trump withdraw as a candidate for president in order that the Republican National Committee may begin the necessary process to select an alternate nominee who will more appropriately represent our party and its members."

Farley explains his strong objections to Trump's conduct in the context of his role as a father of daughters:

I am the father of three daughters with a fourth daughter due in February. One of my greatest joys of late has been teaching my oldest daughter of twelve years about the sort of character and Christian ethic that befits a man worthy to call himself one day her husband and my son-in-law. I cannot and I will not, then, through some twisted logic attempt in the same breath to justify a vote for a man who is the quintessential opposite of everything I am teaching her to expect in a man. To put a finer point on it, I cannot bring myself to place a mark next to the name of a man whom I cannot trust to be alone in a room with my daughters.

Once upon a time the word 'party' meant more than simply a letter after a candidate's name. Not so long ago, membership in a political party meant necessarily that one ascribed to a set of principles and policies that he or she believed along with fellow members would aid our republic in creating a brighter future for our posterity. That word now clearly rings hollow.

If many of my Republican colleagues are to be believed, we have some sort of unholy imperative to cast a vote for a man simply for the fact that the letter 'R' follows his name, despite that that man has publicly professed values and positions in recent years -- and in many cases within recent months -- that are diametrically opposed to the very platform passed by the same delegates who gave him our party's nomination.

Farley dismissed the "Trump because SCOTUS" argument:

Never before has our party so willingly turned a deaf ear to history and practical political reality until now. Even in our best days, Presidents Reagan and Bush, solidly conservative Republicans, managed to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who gave the deciding votes in some of the most egregious decisions in the Court's history. Yet these same colleagues argue that we can trust a man who has broken promises to customers, business partners, wives and God himself to uphold his tentative pledge to nominate conservative justices.

Farley contrasted the GOP's rejection of Bill Clinton's sleazy behavior with the party's embrace of the same sort of sleaziness with an (R) after it.

December 17, 1998, my 22nd birthday, is a date I will never forget. It was the date originally scheduled for the impeachment vote by the House of Representatives for President William Jefferson Clinton. I recall vividly watching the television two days later at a Pizza Hut just off the campus of the University of Oklahoma as Republican members of the House voted finally to impeach. They did so after having concluded that the unbecoming behavior and subsequent obstruction and perjury by Clinton met the threshold for 'high crimes and misdemeanors."

Not even 20 years hence a majority of the members of that same party have nominated a man who publicly brags about that same felonious behavior. Not only has he refused to repent of his transgressions, Donald Trump celebrates them in the worst instance and, at best, offers a token apology that "some may have been offended." Is this what our party stands for today? Is this the man we want our children and grandchildren to look to as the exemplar of that "shining city on a hill"? I pray not.

In a Monday Facebook update, Farley stated that he "declined numerous on-camera and in-studio interviews because the story isn't about me; it's about the future of our party, our state and our country."

I respect Farley's willingness to take a stand at the cost of his livelihood.

I am disappointed in many of my Oklahoma Republican friends -- specifically our state party leaders -- who did not use the power at their disposal to stop Trump from becoming the nominee. The Oklahoma GOP executive committee could have nominated a slate of delegates to fight against Trump's nomination at the National Convention. Instead, Oklahoma GOP leadership decided to pretend that this was a normal year. They cooperated with rule changes that make it harder, if not impossible, for future conventions to block unfit candidates from receiving the nomination, that put our party's future at the whim of primary voters swayed by mass media.

We didn't have to face this disgusting dilemma between two major-party candidates who are both morally and ethically unfit to serve as George Washington's successor as our nation's Chief Executive.

RELATED: Evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem has walked back his earlier statement that voting for Trump was a moral choice and is now calling on Trump to step aside.

There is no morally good presidential candidate in this election. I previously called Donald Trump a "good candidate with flaws" and a "flawed candidate" but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump's moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.

His vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women were morally evil and revealed pride in conduct that violates God's command, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). I have now read transcripts of some of his obscene interviews with Howard Stern, and they turned my stomach. His conduct was hateful in God's eyes and I urge him to repent and call out to God for forgiveness, and to seek forgiveness from those he harmed. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.

Some may criticize me for not discovering this material earlier, and I think they are right. I did not take the time to investigate earlier allegations in detail, and I now wish I had done so. If I had read or heard some of these materials earlier, I would not have written as positively as I did about Donald Trump. I am grateful that Townhall.com has agreed to remove my earlier statement.

Grudem goes on to explain his dilemma: He is "deeply reluctant to simply walk away from the process in disgust, or vote for a write-in candidate," he is sympathetic to the concern that "voting for either candidate will destroy our Christian witness for the future," and he is concerned about the implications of a Clinton victory:

What if we fail to vote against the liberal support for abortion rights, government imposition of gender confusion on our children, hate speech laws used to silence Christians, and government-sanctioned exclusion of thousands of Christians from their lifelong occupations because they won't bow to the homosexual agenda -- will our failure to oppose these evils also destroy our Christian witness for the future? Will our grandchildren ask us why we failed to stop the imminent triumph of anti-Christian liberal tyranny when we had the ability to do so?

As to how I will vote, I honestly don't know at this point. The election is still a month away. I have friends on both sides who are surprised that I do not find this an easy question to decide. But I do not find it an easy question. I continue to pray and seek God's wisdom, and ask that God will yet provide a better solution.

Grudem concludes by calling on Christians to turn their eyes to God's sovereignty:

Though we may be tempted to become fearful or despondent, this turmoil in our nation provides a wonderful opportunity to renew our faith in God each day, "for kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28). We should continue to pray, mindful of what Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon long ago: "The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" (Daniel 4:17).

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2016 category from October 2016.

Election 2016: September 2016 is the previous archive.

Election 2016: November 2016 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



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