GROWING CONCERNS – Sitkans Andrea Fraga and Kaleb Aldred of Middle Island Gardens introduce themselves to an audience of around 100 this afternoon during the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in Sweetland Hall on the SJ campus. The three-day conference, organized by Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, runs through Sunday at several Sitka venues. Some of Saturday's topics include farming in Fairbanks, pest control and cultivating gourmet mushrooms. Vendor tables will be set up on Saturday and Sunday at Harrigan Centennial Hall. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The Election

The emergence of a popular TV showman as a viable, though unprincipled, candidate for U.S. president refutes our long-standing belief that democracy as practiced in this country has built-in protections against the election of a demagogue as commander-in-chief.

As it turns out, there are no such protections. By tapping into the deepest fears, insecurities and prejudices harbored by masses of Americans Donald J. Trump stands a chance of becoming president.

We find the alarming part of the situation is that he would not stand a chance of being elected without the assistance of voters who, despite this candidate’s vile utterances and demonstrated unfitness for high office, will fall in line behind him in the name of party solidarity.

The irony is that the party that these voters are defending stands to suffer even greater damage than Donald Trump has already recklessly inflicted during this year’s seemingly endless campaign.

The three members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation, all Republicans, have tacitly recognized this fact and have already bailed on supporting their party’s nominee. Nevertheless, Alaska is forecast as a “red” state in the upcoming election. If borne out in the results, this will do harm, in our opinion, to the image and reputation of a state whose people by and large, we feel, do not support what Donald Trump believes in.

A close examination of the trope about “two equally unpopular and unfit candidates” for president serves to demonstrate the falsity of the comparison.

Donald Trump is damned by his disdain for the rights and dignity of others, demonstrated by his conduct in business as well as by campaign statements that fly in the face of the values that most Americans hold dear.

The unpopularity of Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, can be attributed in large part to an unremitting 30-year campaign of vilification by such well-financed right-wing ideologues as Roger Ailes, and his cable news network that is the antithesis of “fair and balanced.”

We don’t need to compare Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump to reach our own conclusion that she is highly qualified to be president, and has earned her right to be elected. Any personal failings she may have, in our opinion, are insignificant considering the many fine qualities she has demonstrated over years of accomplishments while under the hostile scrutiny of her political enemies.

Other issues in this election:

We’ll give Lisa Murkowski and Don Young a bye, failing any showing that their continued service representing Alaska will cause undue harm to the state.

For Legislature, we point to the dedicated service of Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins the past four years, and his emergence as an influential player in the organization of the House as reasons he should be elected for a third term.

Bert Stedman has no opponent, but deserves our support for his willingness to make the hard judgments that so many of his fellow Republicans are failing to do in the Senate.

There are two Constitutional amendments on the ballot. They are uncontroversial, in our opinion, and both deserve to pass because they will make voting more accessible to more people and will take at least a small step to make college more affordable to more students.

 

 

 

 

 

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