Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Culleton: Many factors to consider in 2018 election

First some good news. In recent elections, actual voter fraud has been almost nonexistent. Of course, the current administration is starting an investigation to prove the opposite is true. The American people are more fired up than ever. Attempts to hold down the minority vote have had the reverse effect, as shown in Alabama.

Current polls show that the Republicans will lose in a wave election next November. But comparable polls showed that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump. Insofar as actual votes are concerned she got more than Donald Trump. The Electoral College plus winner take all rules in many states caused Trump to eke out a victory that no one expected. That won’t happen again. The mythology that amateurs at governance can outperform the pros has been laid to rest. Trump claims to have passed more bills in his first year than any president in recent history. The fact-checkers have proved that the opposite is true. He is dead last.


His performance has caused the pendulum to swing rather strongly toward the party not in power. This is expected in mid-term elections. But there may be a hidden pro-Trump vote. People may vote for his party and his policies but not admit it to poll-takers.

The electoral impact of the tax cut is yet to be measured. The elimination of the Obamacare mandate on those who decline to have health insurance will certainly cause a rise in health insurance premiums. Medicaid and Medicare remain untouched. So Republican action has crippled the private sector component of our health care system but left the public component intact. Go figure.


The elimination of deductions for property taxes may cost many Marylanders more than they save in the slightly lower tax rates.

The ballooning of the deficit in a period of prosperity simply can’t be excused. During good times we need to be reducing the national debt. Republicans posing as deficit hawks failed to follow their own principles on this issue. This will hurt them in the fall.

There are more Democratic than Republican senatorial seats up for election in November. Therefore overcoming the one-vote majority may be harder than it looks. With a Republican vice president, the Democrats need to pick up two Senate seats net to take charge.

In the House, a number of Republican incumbents are not running for re-election. Plus the current enthusiasm on the Democratic side is remarkable.

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Current statements by some Republicans may scare people into voting Democrat. Rep. Francis Rooney from Florida is quoted as favoring a “purge” in the FBI of employees who disagree with President Trump. This is appropriate in a dictatorship but not in a Democracy.

It is my impression that most FBI employees tend to favor the Republicans already. So attacks on the agency by the president and some Republicans are, frankly, weird.

It appears that there is something in the probe into Russian interference in the recent election that bothers President Trump a great deal. The general public doesn’t yet know what it is. It is possible that something in his tax returns may show improper relationships or actions on his part. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to attack Hillary Clinton. This is flagellation of an expired equine. She is day-before-yesterday’s news. Republicans control all the instruments of governance. If they have issues with her they can take appropriate action. It is put up or shut up time. Running against Hillary simply won’t work this time around. She is not on any ballot.


This column cannot detail all the recent missteps and misstatements of the current administration. There is not enough room on the page. Read the news columns. Great damage has already been done, from loss of climate control programs to Wall Street deregulation. We are fast becoming a second-rank nation.

If the Dems take over Congress in November they will have a lot to repair. But I am confident that they can make America great again.