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Steve Brawner


Looking on the bright side in 2016

This presidential election is producing two major party nominees with extremely high unfavorable ratings. You’re probably either a big fan of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, or you dislike them both a lot. If you’re part of that large latter group, you might think this presidential election is a disaster.

Trump played checkers; they played chess

If this presidential election were a chess match, somebody like Sen. Ted Cruz would be calling “checkmate” on the Republican Party nomination about now. Instead, it’s checkers this year, and Donald Trump is winning because he knows that’s the game being played.

Why did Key replace Kurrus?

Reporters have biases, and I’ll admit to mine: Two of the government officials I like the most are Johnny Key, the state’s education commissioner, and Baker Kurrus, the soon-to-be-former Little Rock School District superintendent.

Governor decides private option is best option

The question came to mind as Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed reporters Tuesday: “Governor, when you were a young man fighting to make the Republican Party more than a tiny minority concentrated in the state’s northwest corner, did you ever think it would eventually dominate state politics, and you would lead it, and your most important priority, for a time, would be saving a government health care program?”

Disorder in the court

Apparently we’ll spend the rest of the year with a 4-4 split on the Supreme Court, with the current vacancy left unfilled after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. So here’s a scenario. Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in the election. Democrats take back the Senate. And then Clinton fills the vacancy by nominating President Obama.

The craziest primary, hands down

I cannot believe I’m writing this, but last week saw two of the four remaining Republican presidential candidates commenting about the size of Donald Trump’s “hands.” I’m 46 years old, which means I’m at the age when I start looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but I’m pretty sure presidential elections have never sunk this low in my lifetime.

GOP shows Obama its cards

Generals don’t tell the enemy where they are going to attack. Boxers don’t tell their opponents where they are going to punch. But Republicans told President Obama and the Democrats exactly what they were going to do about the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, and because of that, they may have increased the chances Hillary Clinton will be the next president. After Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, Republicans quickly declared that Obama might as well not nominate a successor because the Senate won’t confirm him or her anyway. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said the seat “should not be filled” until the next president takes office. Most of the party’s presidential candidates made similar statements.