We vote for representatives, to decide our freedoms by sdmn
The results of the August 16 elections are not yet known. At the time of going to press, 20% of the votes had yet to be counted. The proclamation of the winners, after 100% of the votes have been counted, will take place on August 31. But trends can already be glimpsed and what dangers lurk for Alaska and the rest of the United States.
The most remarkable thing about the 80% of the votes counted in Alaska is that Democrat Mary Peltola is well ahead of Trump supporter and former Governor Sarah Palin, to replace the late Don Young. But it’s still not enough. Young was a Republican representative for the at-large congressional district. He succeeded another Republican, Nick Begich, whose grandson, Nick Begich, Jr., is now running to “succeed his successor.” Begich has moved into third place in Alaskans’ preferences, almost ten points behind Peltola and just three points behind Palin.
All indications are that Peltola, a Yup’ik Eskimo, may make history, snatching the seat from the Republicans and giving a Democratic swing that would undoubtedly be felt in the House of Representatives. Recall what Peltola said in Sol de Medianoche last month, “Alaska needs diverse and experienced leadership (...) We need more leaders who understand the needs of the people and know how to compromise to improve the lives of ordinary people.”
The state will make final vote tallies and proclaim the choice of Alaskans, in order of preference, on the last day of this month. Until then, Peltola’s lead over Palin may increase, because most of Alaska’s rural and some of Anchorage’s progressive-leaning districts remain to be counted.
This is the first election in Alaska under the “ranked-choice voting” system, and if Peltola doesn’t get over half plus one of the votes (50% + 1 vote), Palin’s second place and Begich’s third place, with the votes still remaining, could decide the victor.
Will Nick Begich’s supporters back Sarah Palin? For many, she is not the ideal candidate. Palin has a controversial past. She became mayor of Wasilla (1996) criticizing overspending, mayoral pay, and taxes but once she became the mayor, raised those taxes to fund a multi-sport facility and an indoor ice rink. As governor of Alaska, she had to resign in 2009, before her term was up, over skyrocketing legal fees for ethics complaints investigations.
Palin supports the far-right Tea Party and is an enthusiastic and vocal supporter of controversial former President Donald Trump, who is under investigation by the FBI and may face serious criminal charges in court. For her part, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowsky has advanced to the general election along with Kelly Tshibaka, her Trump-backed Republican rival. The former president uttered serious disparaging remarks against Murkowsky at a rally last month in Anchorage.
Outside Alaska, in Wyoming (the most conservative state in the country), Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has lost to Trump-backed ultra conservative Harriet Hageman.
The “Trump candidates” have won the gubernatorial primaries in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and the Senate in Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These elections have mobilized “anti-Trump” Republicans like Cheney or former Vice President Mike Pence. They want the Republican Party to overcome Trump and his electoral denial. If the Trump endorsed candidates win, many constitutional rights will be seriously jeopardized. As it just happened with Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, until the conservative-majority Supreme Court, composed of Trump-appointed justices, overturned it.
Now, half the country (mostly Republican states) is poised to ban this constitutionally protected right of women. At risk is the Constitution itself, the right to marry people of other races, church-state separation, co-education and equal rights for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans.
If the Republicans win, if Trump wins, our freedom will be in grave danger. The same freedom that has characterized this country since it was founded.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska