Downtown Election Night

…and a great darkness fell upon the land.

Just kidding! In case you haven’t heard, both Democrats skunked their Republican opponents. No hyperbole here, I forget the actual numbers, but Trasoff beat Ronstadt 2:1, while Uhlich beat Dunbar 3:2. Yikes! While your humble servant did predict a Democrat sweep, these margins are a surprise.

I stopped by the Hotel Congress early in the evening. I chatted with Steve Leal briefly after being the first to congratulate him on his victory (he’s running unopposed). He suggested that Dunbar might loose because of the suit she filed. He suggested that suing a teacher was the equivalent of kicking a nun in the eyes of the voters. I almost suggested to Steve that kicking a nun might increase Democrat crossover voting, but thought better of it. I thought him wrong at the time, now I’m not so sure.

There was no one else there that I knew, so a strolled back to The Manning House were the Republicans were holding their party. I enjoyed the walk immensely. The unseasonably warm weather made for moderate temperatures after dark. There was enough urban light that the streets were never really dark, though it was well after sunset.

There were a couple of restaurants and a club or two still open for business. A tall woman in a black ensemble stood in a doorway with three or four shopping bags lined up against the wall. I passed a street gentleman whom I passed by earlier – this time he declined to repeat the earlier entreaty for a monetary transfer to which I sent negative signals. I passed a couple who had paused in the middle of the sidewalk so the gentleman could photograph a rather plain shuttered window. He was in a baggy black suit, while she was wearing a sort of sex-kitten costume complete with whisker make-up. It occurred to me that I might tell them that the Democrats were at the Hotel Congress, but then I figured that they probably already knew that.

Downtown Tucson in the early evening is a snapshot of itself. It is not dead, neither is it alive and vibrant. It’s just there, much like the space between the inhalation and the exhalation – a moment of peace to be embraced.

I turned onto Paseo Redondo by the Redondo Towers Apartments and quickly found myself in front of the stately Manning House. The front was dark. The Republicans, presumably due to their minority status, had to enter through the back door. I followed a drive that led to the back. I knew I was in the right place when I saw the media trucks with their generators running and a series of cables taped across the sidewalk.

I ran into Brad Lang and his lovely wife and daughter. He works for Kathleen Dunbar at the Ward III office. We spoke briefly about the election. Brad is really too nice a guy to concern himself with election politics. The last time we spoke, a week or two ago, he expressed frustration over the Democrat assertion that Kathleen was controlled by “special interests.” He told me that he knew all the neighborhood association presidents in Ward III from seeing them at the Ward III office; he added that he had never met either Jim Click or Don Diamond, and would not know them if he saw them. I thought of explaining the strategy of applying an established national template locally, and pandering to a base that sees Republicans as stereotypes, but he seemed to be taking it too much to heart.

I entered the building and made my way to the hall. Along the way I met Judi White, head of the Pima County Republicans. She looked preoccupied. “Have you seen the numbers?”, she asked. I had not, but the first set of numbers broadcast by the news services indicated heap big bad news for the Republicans.

Fred Ronstadt was there. He answered some questions for a camera, then proceeded to retire to the courtyard to smoke cigars with the College Republicans. I waited a while before hustling a cigar for myself. It was a corona sized Macanudo, yum! By this time, Fred was off by himself an aid trying to get through to Nina Trasoff on a cell phone to offer his congratulations. I approached him and thanked him for his eight years of service to the community. We smoked together for a few minutes, then he had to go inside to make his speech.

I lingered outside – not wanting to abandon such a fine cigar – and eaves-dropped on the College Republicans. They talked about politics at both the national and local levels. They all seemed happy with the lunatic behavior of the Democrat leadership at the nation level, and hoped that it continues. At one point, one of the leaders complimented the rest for their efforts. They seemed mildly disappointed, but undaunted. By the way, they were not dorks with horn-rimmed glassed, blue blazers and ties; they were regular kids complete with body piercings.

I went back inside to hear the end of Fred’s speech. Kathleen Dunbar had arrived. She followed Fred’s speech with one of her own. I waited around until I had a chance to thank Kathleen for her four years of service to the community, then I split for the Democrat party.

The party at Hotel Congress had spilled into the street. Karin Uhlich was outside shaking hands and posing for photographs. I managed to catch up to her and congratulated her on her victory. She thanked me for coming. I worked my way inside and congratulated Nina Trasoff on her victory. She also thanked me for coming. It was odd seeing so many jubilant Democrats – you’d think that Al-Qaeda had bombed the White House or something. I wandered through the crowd looking for other familiar faces, or anything of interest; but there was just a bunch of regular folks, happy and celebrating.

I left the party. I could still taste the Macanudo. I went over to the Crescent Smoke Shop to get another cigar. It was closed, as were the restaurants. I walked back to my truck and drove down to Broadway and turned east, dipping down under the overpass and coming up underneath the Snake Bridge – more commonly known as the Bridge to Nowhere.

9 thoughts on “Downtown Election Night

  1. Excellent election night coverage, Jonathan – I really enjoyed it (your post, not election night).
    …Thanks again for a great post, you made me smile.

    Be well,


  2. Oh me oh my, Sammy Sammy Sammy. Though I enjoyed your article I must say the idea that Democrats would be pleased by an Al Queada attack seems beneath you… though I’ve only begun to read your commentary. Democrats, of whom I know many, as do YOU, tend towards two basic principles: Compassion and open-mindedness. Republicans, of whom I know a few, and certainly grew up amongst here in the foothills of Tucson tend toward two basic principles: Greed and greed. Sorry, did I say that? Well, if it’s something else I’d be curious to know what it is. Maybe greed disguised as “personal responsibility” or “moral” superiority. In any case, I enjoy your style if not your implications, Keep on, my brother.

  3. My dear Ramona,

    O.K., but did you think it funny – the Al-Qaeda attack part? If not, then you must deny the root of truth that exists here, as in all hyperbolic humor. The Democrat leadership at the national level consistently spins events in favor of the enemy, no one would honestly try to argue against this fact – just watch the news and listen to them. They appear to be willing to do anything, including loosing the war, to gain ground in the next couple of election cycles. Is imagining their joy at a successful terrorist attack really such a stretch? Most of the Democrats that I know have little in common with the natioal leadership, but if bumperstickers are any indication, an alarming number of Tucsonans do.

    Compassion? Is the creation of a 21st century plantation system for people of color compassionate? Is telling people of color that they cannot succeed, and must obey their overseers (Jackson, Rangel, Farrakan, et al), and condemn the uppity ones (Clarence Thomas, Armstrong Williams, Condi Rice) who leave the plantation? Are these purveyors of “gun control” and abortion – two policies rooted in racism – really all that warm and fuzzy? I just grabbed the first issue that came to mind, there are many more.

    Open-mindedness? Are we speaking of the same Democrats? The ones that will not suffer a conservative speaker on any college campus? The ones that talk a big “Diversity” line but demand monolithic thought? The ones that burn books…yes, a couple of years ago an author on a book tour made the mistake of stopping at UC Berkeley. He was shouted down as he took the podium, not allowed to speak, and the books he had for sale in the back of the back of the hall were taken outside, piled up, and burned. His crime? He wrote a book about the murder case against Mumia, and actually suggested that maybe he did it just like the jury said.

    You probably did not hear of this BOOK BURNING on the news. Now, I would like to leave you to contemplate three questions: 1, Do you think that a BOOK BURNING by a mob in America is worthy of national attention?; 2, Do you think that BOOK BURNINGS made the the national news in Germany in the thirties?; 3, Do you think that a Republican mob burning books would have made the national news?… Just contemplate them…

    BTW, Thank you for providing further evidence for my assertion that Democrats see Republicans as stereotypes.



  4. As a Republican who is also an environmentalist and Tucson native and activist on many issues (that people who like to draw stereotypes, as above, would call “liberal”) and who has spent many many years working “in the trenches” with Democrats AND Republicans on said issues, I can say that . . . the most narrow-minded, judgemental, sexist people I have ever had the displeasure to be around are not necessarily of a certain party, but those who would call themselves “liberal” to the end of their days. They usually mean “liberal” as in the “as long as you agree with me I’ll be liberal with my views. Any women heading up major enviro orgs? (zippo) How was Clinton’s admin on women (oops – let’s not say that that way)?

    Sammy – it WAS a funny comment. We guffawed.

  5. Dear Sammy,
    While I enjoy a good historical debate based on isolated incidents and amusingly blind personality assessments (I guess you missed the 8 million absurd, hate-insighting, war-mongering, foolish, inaccurate, deceptive and oft-times just plain laughable comments the “Republican leadership” aka George “W” Bush and Dick Cheney have made in the last several years?) I prefer to base my opinions on personal experience. As a former grass-roots peace lobbyist I can tell you that the compassionate, the caring, the thoughtful and the just plain intereresting people I met going door to door in both rich and poor neighborhoods in California were clearly and without contest those who would define themselves as “liberal”. It was these people who were not only showering kindess on strangers (uh, me) but were willing to give of themselves to work towards peace and love and all the other virtues the “values-based” Republicans so vociferously publicly claim to support. Conversely, when I canvassed in largely Republican precincts I was (a young woman with nothing more than a clipboard and high political ideals) was treated so cruelly, so coldly, that I can only conclude the virtues of universal love and non-judgemental treatement of others taught by Jesus are only applicable towards those who are offering one a tax break. If hypocrisy is a political value, then your Republican friends have embraced it with open arms.
    While I agree with your friend Roseann that there are “liberals” who are narrow-minded, etc (I worked at the Democratic headquarters during the last presidential elections and met some of the people she’s referring to, I hate to admit), and while I am not a fan of Clinton myself, there is only one political distinction which matters to me and draws the dividing line I will never cross:
    Liberals are ultimately those who choose to remain open-minded
    Conservatives are those who choose to be closed-minded.
    While we may need both types as a society for some as yet undiscovered Darwinian purpose, I will choose to keep my mind open. It is that which allows me to see.

  6. While I admire the breezy prose style, I have to answer your question to Ramona (and in a non-partisan way), that no it was not funny. “O.K., but did you think it funny – the Al-Qaeda attack part?” I’m not being over-sensitive here or concerned with the political debate about whether Democrats give comfort to the enemy. I’m not a political person with party affiliation. No, it’s just not particularly funny. It has little wit. The phrasing and it’s subtle subjunctive grammar has too much desperation in it. Nice prose style, really, though not particularly informative, definitely evocative. It’s just not funny. Being funny is an art and not one I claim to have, but it requires the ability to slightly frighten the reader. The al-Qaeda remark seems, frankly, beneath you and kind of petulant. As for whether the Democrats would enjoy an attack by al-Qaeda, clearly, it seems that the Republican party has made greater use of such events (misleading the country into war, Halliburton contracts, skyrocketing oil prices, dubious election victories) than the Democrats. That’s funny. That’s frightening. Behind six points in the polls, the administration calls a Code Orange heightened terorism alert. Kind of wishful thinking. Al Qaeda defines your president, Sammy., not his opposition. Terrorism is a phrase so commonly muttered by the Republican party, I believe it’s now replaced “please” and “thank you” in Republican Beltway manners. I believe even Tom DeMay said recently, “Boy, the terorism I get around here for getting you all elected!” Anyway, you seem like a bright guy (and thusly, perceptively condescending to your readers), but funny? No, not really. Not to wory, it’s been a fucking hilarious five years of Bush, DeLay and Frist. I think you would serve your intelecct well by being somewhat less a party stooge and perhaps more a thinking man ro which you clearly incline. Your jokes’ use by dates have all expired. Your ability to think and reason has promise.

  7. Dear Ramona,

    Well, one thing that I can say for sure is that we live in two discrete realities. Fortunately, we can communicate across the divide through the portal that is Tucson Sammy! Since God is omnipresent, He exists on both sides – this is good because it means that you can pray for the despicable Republicans in your universe, and I can pray for the despicable Democrats in mine. In this way, we can heal both worlds.



  8. Dear John,

    Thank you for your complements regarding my writing style and my promising ability to think and reason.

    Alas, humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. I agree that it has been a whacky five years. I’m not sure which is more bizarre – the Democrats betting the farm on American defeat, or the Republican’s reluctance to engage them. You know, the Democrats could have gone along with Bush’s action to end the Iraq war (it is the same one that began in 1991), thereby avoiding the alienation of most Americans, and then crush him on domestic, or any other set of issues…Maybe the Republicans are not as stupid as they seem. Perhaps they are staying out of the Democrats way, and letting them self destruct.

    I share your dislike of the Republican’s use of the word “terror”, as in “war on terror.” As Vin Suprynowitz has pointed out, terror is a tactic, not an enemy.

    By the way, I thought your Tom DeLay joke was funny.



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