Friday, March 11, 2016

When you mix ignorance with democracy

Before the memory of the Texas Primary — now all of nearly two weeks old — completely fades, I’d like to entertain you with examples of what we might call idiot democracy.

Idiot democracy occurs when voters have little or no idea of the merits of the candidates on the ballot, but nevertheless choose to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Let’s start with Robert Morrow, whom the highly educated Republicans of Travis County chose over the incumbent to be their party’s county chairman.

Morrow is a former Michael Dukakis and Ron Paul supporter who has done his best to gain a reputation as a conspiracy theorist.

He has worked hard to sell the notions that Lyndon Johnson ordered the hit on John Kennedy, that Hillary Clinton had brain cancer and wouldn’t run for president, and that Rick Perry is a “rampaging bisexual adulterer.”

Five years ago he attempted to prove this last charge by running a full page ad in the alternative Austin Chronicle asking, in large type, “Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry.”

Apparently the effort was unfruitful.

Local Republican officials are trying to figure out how to un-elect him.

At least Morrow understands democracy enough to suggest that he won because his name was at the top of the ballot.

Not so, Scott Walker. 

Scott Walker is the Wisconsin governor who became a conservative darling for defeating public employee unions and imagined himself president.

But he was among the first to drop out of the race.

A different Scott Walker is a North Texas lawyer who filed for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and won 41 percent of the vote.

The most qualified man in the race by far, San Antonio’s District Judge Sid Harle, didn’t make the run-off.

Walker apparently received not a single campaign contribution and did almost no campaigning.

Did he win because of his name?

Not so, he told Express-News columnist Gilbert Garcia.

“The key is, I started praying about this before I even got in the election. I really believed that God was leading me to do this. I spent a lot of time praying,” Walker said. “God really blessed me with a great victory.”

There’s a good chance Walker will be elected to the state’s highest court for criminal cases, since the runner-up trailed him by 20 points.

Here’s some advice to lawyers who appear before him:

Forget precedent. Lean on prayer.

There’s an even better chance Mary Lou Bruner of East Texas will serve on the State Board of Education.

In a heavily Republican district, she won 48 percent of the Republican primary vote.

I suspect most voters were unaware that she believes President Obama not only is not an American, but he used to be a male prostitute in New York.

Or that she is convinced the Grand Canyon was formed by the biblical flood, during which time Noah loaded baby dinosaurs onto his ark.

Or that sex education is designed to indoctrinate children to be gay.

But I could be wrong.

If the voters did know these things, it may be evidence that Texas schools are worse than anyone knew.

Finally, there was the fact that in a race for the Texas Supreme Court, Rick Green came within a hair’s breadth of defeating long-time incumbent Justice Paul Green.

Statewide, Paul won 52-48.

In Bexar County, Paul’s home, Rick came even closer, garnering 49.4 percent of the vote.

So much for my ringing endorsement of Paul Green two weeks ago, in which I pointed out that Rick Green had hardly ever practiced law, much less been a judge.

That in a single term in the Legislature he used his Capitol office to film infomercials for two sleazy companies.

One of his few accomplishments in office was to lobby to get a convicted swindler who had loaned him $400,000 out of prison.

And that he works for an organization dedicated to ending the separation of church and state.

There you have it: Four examples of what happens when you mix ignorance with democracy.

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