Letter: Building a bench?
As we approach local elections in November, it is worth noting that while those elections are supposedly nonpartisan, that can be a polite fiction. There are candidates for local office that simply gave the opportunity some thought and figured they should toss their respective hats into the ring.
But there are likely a few candidates who are running so they can build up their political street cred via local office before aiming for bigger office. Political parties encourage this because they want to have experienced candidates in the future. This is called “building the bench,” to borrow a sports analogy. Baseball has minor leagues that feed into the majors.
This is normal politics.
What’s abnormal this election cycle is a national phenomena with local ramifications. Steve Bannon, adviser to former President Donald Trump, has urged MAGA-heads to take over local Republican precincts so as to influence how local, state and national elections are conducted. ProPublica recently checked 65 key precincts in swing states and found 8,500 new GOP precinct workers. No such turnover in Democratic precinct organizations.
But wait, there’s more.
Republicans, all over the country, are in a sweaty dither about COVID-19 — whether there should be mask and vaccine mandates for anyone, anywhere, vaccination passports, unusual treatments of COVID-19 like de-wormer paste for horses or Bactine, and whether critical race theory is or should be taught to kindergartners.
Since Republican and Fox Noise angst has fallen by the roadside regarding Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss books, ardent conservatives can run for local offices in pursuit of burning books, blocking masks or vaccine mandates, shaping social studies and history curriculums to avoid critical race theory or even to insist that there’s no such thing as climate change, and children should be taught how wonderful coal and oil are for the economy.
Without pointing fingers at specific candidates running for local offices in Steamboat or Hayden, voters should ask candidates about their values, why they are running, what they hope to accomplish and whether they have a red MAGA cap in the coat closet.
Then local voters need to ask whether local candidates are running in good faith and are truly nonpartisan or “simply want to watch the world burn,” as Alfred warned Batman about the Joker.
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Rather than protest at a rally to raise awareness of an alleged problem, Steamboat Springs High School students should file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.