AP Reports From Corinth, Maine

Though this is a bit late I wanted to add this item to my blog as it comes from James’ hometown, Corinth, Maine.

Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press , WCSH 10:01 PM. EST November 12, 2016

CORINTH, Maine (The Associated Press/Marina Villeneuve) — Minutes before setting off on a deer-hunting trip in East Corinth, Maison Goodrich said it was pretty funny that the mainstream media describe Donald Trump’s election as an “upset.”

Goodrich sat at a local coffee shop, laughing with a group of men decked in blaze orange shirts about elite media’s failure to see Trump’s widespread support in communities roiled by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Trump’s victory made history in Maine, the nation’s whitest state, where the more rural 2nd Congressional District sent one electoral vote to Trump.

“It was not an upset,” Goodrich said. “When the media says the election was an upset, it’s a ploy because the polls are so incorrect.”

In New England’s sprawling northernmost state, there’s long been the idea of two Maines: the hearty, northern “real Maine” that’s protective of traditions like hunting, and the urban, coastal region that Republican Gov. Paul LePage refers to as Northern Massachusetts.

But no election, and no Republican before the anti-establishment Trump, has so captured Maine’s 2nd Congressional district, the vast district encompassing land north of Augusta and Portland. Trump won by 11 percentage points in the district – a shift from 2012, when Obama won by 15 percentage points statewide.

Clinton found support in southern, coastal Maine and picked up a smattering of inland towns in the 2nd Congressional District, which has embraced the Republican Party in recent years by electing two businessmen-turned-politicians: LePage in 2010 and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2014 and this year.

Rural voters also sent a resounding “No!” to a failed ballot measure that would have required background checks for private firearm sales and also transfers. Towns in the 2nd Congressional District voted an average 70 percent against the referendum, with critics decrying it as overreach symbolic of an out-of-touch, liberal government.

Inland communities were less likely to support successful ballot questions increasing the minimum wage and having voters rank candidates.

Trump saw some of his biggest Northeast support from Maine communities like Corinth, a town outside of Bangor with a population of 2,800. The town, which has 369 Democrats, 827 Republicans and 671 unenrolled voters, gave him 71 percent of its vote.

That’s compared with 19 percent in Portland, and 31 percent in Brunswick.

“I think things are bad enough that people wanted a change,” said Maison’s brother, Richard Goodrich, who lives in Holden. He cited a “movement” of rural, working class voters upset by the loss over the years of textile, shoe and paper manufacturing jobs.

It’s an economic reality not as keenly felt in Maine’s urban south, where a service-based economy has grown in a post-industrial era. Some northern communities have seen unemployment as high as 20 percent in recent years – even as the state’s unemployment rate dropped.

“In some ways, the Trump campaign reflected those two Maines. He was appealing to the people who felt that they were ignored,” said Sandy Maisel, professor of government at Colby College.

In general, political candidates who’ve managed to appeal to both Maines were centrists, like Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and former Sen. Olympia Snowe.

As retired financial adviser and Clinton supporter Larry Towle poured detergent at a laundromat in Corinth, he mused that rural Maine saw in LePage an “intemperate nature that spoke to them.”

“He says what he thinks!” interjected Trump supporter Brian Thompson, as he repaired a laundry machine.

LePage, who frequently likens himself to Trump, has harped on Washington, D.C. and “coastal” elites whom he says harms northern Maine’s economy by lobbying for regulations and a national park. And as the state slowly grows more diverse, LePage has blamed the opioid crisis on minority traffickers and says drug dealers are impregnating white women.

One 2nd Congressional District resident said foreigners shouldn’t get jobs over “Americans,” and another said he didn’t vote for Clinton because she’s a woman.

But it’s creating jobs and cutting welfare – trumpeted by both LePage and Trump – that’s attracted voters like Corinth resident Nancy Harper. She voted for Obama in 2008 but feeling disappointed, voted Republican in 2012.

She said she worries about Trump’s stance on women’s rights and his demeanor, but Clinton seemed too corrupt: “That whole Clinton Foundation thing.”

Richard Goodrich said if Trump fulfills promises like rebooting the military and helping veterans, his supporters will be happy.

“If not, he’ll be a four-year president,” Goodrich said.


Unique Gift For Music Lover On Christmas List

I was wrapping some gifts this week and placed in the DVD player “The Best Of The Johnny Cash TV Show” (1969-71). This is a new addition to our home music library.
It is so much more than country music and so well worth a look if at all there is someone on your list that likes music and/or something rather unique.  This two DVD set has everything from Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Carl Perkins along with the heart of country music such Tammy Wynette, Charley Pride, and Loretta Lynn.  All the music is sung from the Ryman Auditorium from the original Cash shows.
Four hours of perfect imagery and 66 performances.  I was most taken with it and thought perhaps others might enjoy it too—or know someone who might.  I will admit to getting less done with wrapping due to the watching…but I have time.

Why Do Americans Distrust Scientists?

James graduated from Middlebury College and so several times a year the college magazine arrives in our mail.  The fall edition is especially interesting with a cover story on how it is that an increasingly large segment of the nation distrusts scientists.  It is a fascinating read.

Like most U.S. adults, I believe that genetically modified foods are unsafe to eat; scientists believe otherwise. In a 2015 study conducted by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), just 37 percent of the general public said that it is safe to eat genetically modified foods. By contrast, 88 percent of AAAS scientists say that such foods are safe. And that 51-point gap? It’s the largest opinion difference between the public and scientists on any issue surveyed. It’s larger than the differences in opinions on whether humans have evolved over time (98–65 percent); whether childhood vaccines should be required (86–68 percent); whether climate change is mostly due to human activity (87–50 percent). (In all of these cases, scientists represent the higher numbers.)

So, you tell me: Should I have led with an anecdote about genetically modified food, since on no issue are scientists and the public further apart?

I guess that’s to be debated.

What really isn’t up for debate is the main takeaway from the Pew report, which is that “citizens and scientists often see science-related issues through different sets of eyes.”

I wanted to know why, so I turned to a psychologist, a philosopher, a political scientist, and a physicist to shed light on this issue.


We touch on the subject of trust, and Dickinson said that when we view our governing institutions as out of touch with our concerns, as a significant portion of the electorate does, “we increasingly are willing to discount what they tell us is the truth. And if you don’t trust the government, why should you trust the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health?” The populist movement that has aligned itself with Donald Trump on the right and with Bernie Sanders on the left has further exacerbated these inclinations, Dickinson said. “One of the hallmarks of populism is a distrust of elites, and that seems particularly pronounced in this election cycle. And science can be a part of that.”

Just Think, Next Year It Will Be Scott Baio!

What a truly tasteful and exciting event yesterday at the White House as Medals of Freedom were presented by President Obama.


Hillary Clinton Up By Over 2 Million Votes

David Wasserman shows that Hillary Clinton’s current lead over Donald Trump in the national popular vote is now over 2 million.


I Simply Cannot Make This Stuff Up

Donald Trump is selling “Make America Great Again” ornaments for your Christmas tree. They’re just $149 each.  I guess he is doing this due to being a working class champion!

Why does Trump still want to sell things to people, even though the campaign is over? Generally speaking, campaigns accrue debt over the course of the election that they then need to pay off. This is usually trickier for losing candidates than winning ones, because losing candidates are not often considered great investments by donors. Earlier this year, Trump co-hosted a fundraiser in New Jersey to help Chris Christie retire the debt from his presidential campaign. So while this particular pitch is a bit odd, the process itself isn’t.

But that does not make it less tacky.