Little Backfire On Playing Politics

(Teachers, I don’t know if you can trust anything posted on the Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education page at this point. People possess vested personal interests. Do your own research. Don’t rely on a Facebook page. Don’t take my word for it, either.—Kurt Hochenauer)

Angela Clark Little holding elect Adam Pugh sign

What if you support a supposed weaker or maybe a little better candidate on the other side in a primary election, and then your support ends up electing that person to office instead of the candidate definitely on the side of an organization you represent?

That’s what could happen in the District 41 State Senate race in Edmond to replace Clark Jolley, the term-limited, anti-education, right-wing extremist. The organization Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education continues its support for Republican Adam Pugh over Republican Paul Blair, but a very REAL teacher, Kevin McDonald, a member of the Democratic Party, waits in the wings for the general election. He needs support now.

When will the organization strongly support McDonald instead of a candidate, who announces boldly on his web site: “Adam Pugh: A Conservative Patriot.”? Here’s more from the site: “I have flown missions across the globe and I understand that freedom is worth fighting for, on the battlefield and in the halls of our Capitol.” (Oh yeah, he notes that he has been a substitute teacher.) The Fight. The Battlefield. The Freedom. That’s what he seems to be all about. He’s pandering to the right-wing voter base.

The idea of supporting the supposedly weaker or maybe a little better candidate on the opposing side in a primary election is nothing new nor is voting for the lesser of the two evils. The problem becomes that it can confuse voters when an organization gives unabashed support for a primary candidate even though it supposedly, maybe or not, is going to support another candidate in the general election. It can become dishonest, and, yes, I get that politics is basically a totally dishonest endeavor with a few notable exceptions.

I don’t want Paul Blair to win the seat either. Blair could become the state’s new Sally Kern, only even more powerful, dangerous and radical. He’s the pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond. He’s also a former NFL player. He also actively opposes and fights against same-sex marriage and reproductive rights for women.

But would the conservative patriot Adam Pugh be much better? Maybe.

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What Backlash? GOP Congressional Incumbents Roll To Victory

The most depressing news for progressives about Tuesday’s primary election results is that all the incumbents of Oklahoma’s archconservative Congressional delegation won their races in what media outlets described as “blowouts.”

The numbers support that description. U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine won with 80 percent, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin won with 63 percent, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas won with 77 percent, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole won with 71 percent and U.S. Rep. Steve Russell won with 80 percent. (I’ve rounded the numbers.)

What this means is that there’s probably little to no realignment or major dissatisfaction happening among the Republican electorate here, and hope for progressive victories, especially at the Congressional level, remain slim. This could also be a sign that Republicans will continue to rule Oklahoma with large majorities in the House and Senate at the state Capitol.

I wrote “could” because it seemed like a mixed night for the so-called “teacher caucus,” the group of candidates with educational experience who ran focused pro-education campaigns. Oklahoma Watch reported that there are “at least 40” such candidates and . . . “only 20 of those 40 candidates, almost all of whom were political newcomers, will continue this political season.” Note the use of the word “only” here. But as Oklahoma Watch also noted, some 23 candidates with educational experience didn’t face an opponent in the primary so there’s still a sizable number of candidates running under the common cause of improving funding for education.

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Earthquakes Shake Up Reality In Oklahoma

The earth is still shaking beneath us here on a regular basis in Oklahoma. We just don’t make a big deal of it anymore. It has become a new normal created by the oil and gas industry here.

It’s true the overall number of earthquakes has dropped from last year. The Energy In Depth site reported back in May that the number of earthquakes has dropped 52 percent from January to April of this year over last year, but let’s make no mistake about it. The earthquakes keep coming.

Energy In Depth reported in its analysis of Oklahoma Geological Survey data that there were still 172 earthquakes in January registering at a 2.8-magnitude or higher. That dropped to 82 in April. That’s a sizable drop, but it’s still 82 earthquakes, and that doesn’t even count the smaller temblors. I’m also unsure if the drop isn’t really tied to a lower rig count and production because of the worldwide oil glut. That’s a reasonable question that needs an answer.

Last weekend alone, there were reports of a 3.1-magnitude and a 3.7-magnitude earthquake in the state. I’ve felt several small quakes in the last week in central Oklahoma. There’s so many I still lose track. I felt one larger earthquake last week, or maybe ten days ago or so, that I found out “only” registered at a 2.6-magnitude. I anticipate and feel dread over every little shake or noise in my house and at my work. Sometimes, it’s just the air conditioning starting up or it becomes clear it’s a plane in the sky; sometimes, it’s ambiguous whether it was an earthquake or not. Sometimes, it’s obvious. That’s life here now.

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