I don't get surprised easily, but I was surprised when a candidate said that he thought party affiliation was important in the district attorney's race.
That shows an amazing ignorance of history and understanding of partisan politics.
Allan Grubb said in a recent forum that party affiliation gives you an idea of what a candidate believes. That's not true at all. It shows which party they have aligned themselves with, but in no way is it predictive of how someone believes or how they would govern.
After all, Democrat Richard Smothermon as the District Attorney for the past four terms has fought to keep more harsh sentences for offenders in Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties. Kris Steele, who served in the state legislature as a Republican, conceived and passed state questions to lessen those penalties and is now supporting Grubb's campaign.
Republicans tend to claim the high ground on being tough on crime, but that isn't how this race or previous political skirmishes have panned out.
In the almost 30 years since I registered to vote, I have spent about half as a Republican and half as a Democrat. My core beliefs never changed. I have grown and learned a lot about issues, but my principles have always been the same. My party switches came when a young Republican was asked to run a Democrat's campaign. I switched back when I wanted to vote for a friend in a Republican primary. It was never because any belief changed.
The grandfather of the modern Republican party and its current standard bearer are very popular in Oklahoma. If you say the words "Ronald Reagan" in the Sooner State, passers by remove their caps and say "amen."
And no matter how far his resume and actions take him from true conservatism, Oklahomans love Donald Trump. The current leader of the Republican Party can make Oklahomans fall in love with building walls along the Mexican border, paying off porn stars and fomenting violence against journalists on a daily basis.
Both of these conservative icons spent much of their adult lives as Democrats. So what did their party affiliation tell you, exactly? Trump was a Democrat less than a decade before winning the Republican Presidential nomination.
He was also a member of the Reform Party and was an Independent in recent years. Now he makes Republicans swear loyalty to him. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Trump has had more bedfellows than he has had party affiliations and that's saying a lot.
Reagan was a Democrat until 1962. That's when he decided to change parties and set his sites on higher office.
I wish none of the races had any partisan components and voters had to actually learn about candidates beyond which letter goes in parentheses behind their names.
The district attorney doesn't take it easy on criminals who are registered in their own party. There is absolutely no reason to have a party affiliation in that race. There is even less reason in a sheriff's race. Pottawatomie County proved that since the current sheriff had changed parties while in office and he has been an effective law enforcement leader regardless of which party he claimed as his own.
After seeing the legislature come around this year and do the right thing during the teacher walkout, I am pretty sure that if voters simply looked at gubernatorial candidate platforms, Republicans wouldn't choose a candidate who completely skipped two decades of voting, had no idea that Oklahoma was No. 1 in male and female incarceration rates in the world and didn't believe in immunizing children to prevent diseases like polio and measles.
But the (R) is powerful in Oklahoma because most people watch sitcom reruns instead of the nightly news. Less information causes voters to find a simpler way to pick a candidate when they don't know much about either choice. Flipping a coin doesn't seem right, so they use straight party voting instead.
I wonder how many conservative red state voters would have loved 2008 Trump who was a registered Democrat from New York City. You know who else was a registered Democrat from New York in 2008? Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Funny thought, if Clinton had changed her party and Trump didn't, I wonder which one would have won Oklahoma's Electoral College votes in 2016.
Party means very little. It means less in law enforcement positions. I hope people think about actual qualifications for the job when they vote and don't take the lazy way out and only look at party.
Your vote is hiring someone to do a job. You wouldn't hire an unqualified electrician just because they are a Republican or Democrat. That's a good way to burn down a house.
You shouldn't elect someone that way either.