Guy W. Farmer: What we learned last Tuesday

So, did President Obama earn a clear mandate last Tuesday to continue to implement his free-spending, Big Government agenda? No! In fact, his narrow, two-point (50-48) victory over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ensures four more years of divisive politics in Washington, and around the nation.

Once again I worked the polls at the Fuji Park Exhibits Hall and learned that the Carson City electorate is younger and much more diverse than it was when I first volunteered as an elections worker 16 years ago. Back in 1996 most of the voters looked like me (older white folks), and that wasn't a good thing. I was pleased to see so many first-time voters last Tuesday, even though many of them don't agree with my political views. That's because our democracy is stronger when everyone participates in the political process.

President Obama won big among single women and minority voters, but Romney carried everyone else. The Nevada results illustrate how our state has changed over the years. Two-thirds of Nevada's votes now come from Clark County (Greater Las Vegas). Obama carried Clark County 57-43 - along with Washoe County (52-48), while Gov. Romney won 55-45 in Carson City and the rest of the state.

The results were similar in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Sen. Dean Heller, a Carson City Republican, and Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Las Vegas Democrat. Berkley carried Clark County 55-45, but Heller won the rest of the state 63-37. Another Carson City Republican, Mark Amodei, was easily re-elected to his Northern Nevada House seat, so we still have two local boys in Congress.

My Republican friends should now reassess how they present themselves to the voters. They won't win another national election until they soften their image and refuse to kowtow to the extreme right-wing Tea Party minority in their party. The Tea Partiers cost the GOP a couple of crucial seats in the U.S. Senate last Tuesday and their laser-like focus on divisive social issues like abortion and gay marriage turned off independent voters like me.

Democrats and Republicans will now have to figure out how to get anything done in Washington and how to avert a looming year-end fiscal calamity. They might consider something called compromise, a bad word in far-left and far-right political circles.

Local Results

Of course I'm delighted that Carson City voters rejected the controversial CC1 Nugget Project proposal in a 68-32 landslide. As Library Director Sara Jones acknowledged on Tuesday, "The people spoke and the deal is off." Despite mounting a $100,000 propaganda blitz, Nugget President Steve Neighbors, of Boise, Idaho, and his silly "Proud Grandmas" wasted their money in support of an expensive project we didn't need, didn't want and couldn't afford.

Hopefully, we've heard the last of phony "pride" and weird seances with the late Mae Adams. So long, Steve.

Fortunately, the new Board of Supervisors will be dominated by fiscal conservatives Brad Bonkowski, John McKenna and Jim Shirk, who will oppose future "feel good" projects that we can't afford. Bonkowski defeated Dennis Johnson, who performed a public service by putting the Nugget Project on last Tuesday's ballot. Well done, Dennis.

•-Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.


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