Opinion

Our political crystal ball was a little hazy

For many years, a bunch of us political junkies have gathered on Election Day for lunch and prognosticating under the direction of our leader Ralph Munro, now the former Secretary of State.

Ralph was still voting out of his longtime home on Bainbridge Island then, so he had to come up to Kitsap from Olympia on Election Day anyway.

He calls it the “dumbos and jackasses” gathering since it includes a mixture of Republicans, Democrats, independents, legislators and ex-legislators, county officials and exes, city officials and exes, business folk and me.

Attendance has been by invitation, and sometimes people showed up who weren’t invited, but we’re hospitable.

We scale it down during off years like this one where we had 16. But if that sounds small to you in considering how we voted on ballot issues and candidates, bear in mind that most national polls only include a couple of thousand recipients in a county of 300 million.

Our 16 were diverse in bases but tilted Democratic, as does Kitsap County.

Here’s how we expected the vote to come out, not necessarily how we wanted it:

• On I-960, Tim Eyman’s latest effort to limit the Legislature’s ability to raise taxes, 7 yes, 8 no.

As usual, in any poll and on any ballot, not everybody votes on everything.

We were on the wrong side of the squeaker. At this writing, I-960 passed, 52-48 percent.

• Referendum 67, the Democrats’ gift to the trial lawyers to force treble damages from insurance companies found to be unreasonable in denying or reducing claims, scored 10-6 at our hands so we were right on that one.

• We were way off on EHJR 4202, changing the 60 percent vote requirement on school levies to a simple majority and eliminating the minority turnout.

We said it would pass, 13-3. Fortunately, voters statewide saw it differently, rejecting it, 48-52 percent.

• We guessed right on passage of the three lesser ballot measures on higher education investments, prison labor and the rainy day fund.

• We also read the voters right who dump-ed Megalopolis’s roads and transit tax in-crease in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. We said no, 6-9.

Voters said no, 44-56 percent.

• We did the same with Bremerton’s Proposition 1 tax increase, 6 yes, 8 no.

• We said unanimously that Lary Coppola would be mayor of Port Orchard.

• We gave Larry Stokes 9 votes to 6 for Bremerton Port Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington.

• Asked who would be the Republican nominee for president next year, our folks gave Rudy Giuliani 10 votes, John McCain 2, Mitt Romney 3 and Mike Huckabee 1.

• We gave Hillary Clinton 15 votes as the expected Democratic nominee and Barrack Obama 1.

• We played it cool on who the next president will be, in case we were wrong on the nominee. We gave 9 votes to whoever the Democrat is, and 2 to the Republican.

• Asked to guess who might be the biggest surprise candidate or non-candidate in any race in 2008, guesses were that Gore would run, Rep. Doc Hastings would not run and John McCain would be the only Republican left standing.

• Our final question tested our historical memories. Three times a presidential candidate has won the popular vote but lost the electoral college vote and thus the presidency.

In 1876, that was Republican Rutherford Hayes over Democrat Samuel Tilden. In 1888, it was Republican Benjamin Harrison over Democrat Grover Cleveland.

In 2000, it was Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore. But who won both the popular and electoral votes and still lost the presidency? Andrew Jackson to John Quincy Adams in 1824 in the only party then, the Republicans.

No wonder the Democrats want to dump the electoral college for the popular vote.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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