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All signs point to resounding victory for cynical Trumpism in Arkansas on Tuesday. We appear ripe for a meanness mandate in the Natural State.

Arkansas likely will advance its alliance with the only available alternative to the national Democratic liberalism that seems to disgust heavy majorities in this culturally conservative part of the world.

That's the only mitigating context I can offer for the state's meanness--that Arkansans aren't really as awful as Donald Trump or their votes; they simply see no option other than Trumpism to whatever it is about Nancy Pelosi that they find even scarier than a demagogic, values-devoid, right-wing despot of a president who lies, contrives and mocks, thus inflaming the bigots and the crazed.

U.S. Rep. French Hill seems likely to win re-election over a Democratic opponent who brought a sterling resume and smiling niceness to a street brawl.

Clarke Tucker never managed to make Hill answer for voting to take assurances of premium-equity health insurance from cancer patients. Perhaps that was because Arkansans support taking assurances of premium-equity health insurance from cancer patients--at least by a federal mandate that runs up their own premiums.

People ask: What are these Trump voters in Arkansas going to say when they lose their health insurance? The answer is that they're probably not going to say anything, considering that they won't lose health insurance if voters in suburban House districts in northeastern and Californian regions bail them out Tuesday.

Hill probably got much more traction with his disgracefully slanderous intimation that Tucker was in cahoots with violent immigrant gangs. But the fact is that Hill wasn't the first or even primary maker of that charge.

Tucker was running as much against Tom Cotton as Hill. It was Cotton's Republican Majority Fund PAC that spread the gang sleaze using deep research to target mailers and digital ads to Trump voters who had no real connection to Hill and could be motivated to support him only out of ... you guessed it ... fear and resentment.

Cotton's PAC did a lot of what Hill lacked the stomach to do--for a while. Cotton is a full-bore Trumpian--the son the president never had.

It's also a factor that Republicans figured a winning Tucker in the 2nd District would be Cotton's Senate re-­election foe in 2020. Pre-emption is always the best defense.

"Where is the decency?" Tucker wound up asking at the end.

At the moment, it's mostly in those suburban House districts in those northeastern and Californian regions.

Hill has been buoyed by Trump's soaring approval ratings ever since the Democrats blundered in the Brett Kavanaugh affair and Trump went to Mississippi, approximately as mean as Arkansas, to mock a woman who accused Kavanaugh of a teenaged sexual assault.

That Trump approval rating has not been noticeably eroded by the preposterous and Russian-endorsed second-place president's racist lying about the Honduran refugee caravan trying to foot it to American asylum and still hundreds of hard miles away.

Nor is there any indication that Trump's popularity in Arkansas has been diminished by the fact that his tone and tenor at primitive rallies inspired a supporter to mail pipe-bombs to several Democrats. Nor is Trump politically inconvenienced in the state by an American Nazi's murdering 11 Jews in their synagogue in part because the synagogue helped resettle innocent refugees such as those Trump has been railing against.

Meantime, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, otherwise a nice man, will reap 60 to 65 percent on Tuesday amid his relentless ongoing Trumpian ejection of thousands of poor people from Medicaid expansion under the guise of a "work requirement" that, by his own admission, is a political tactic.

He is convinced that he can't keep Medicaid expansion alive at all in this resentment-fueled state unless he delivers uninsured poor people to the Republican-overrun and widely corrupt state Legislature. Republican state legislators blame poor people for not getting off their behinds and winning elections to the Legislature to live off lobbyist retainers and unremitted state income taxes.

The Trump administration is aggressively pushing legally dubious state-by-state Medicaid waivers to install work requirements. Arkansas--with its abundant poverty and history of not much caring about those stuck in it--has gone first. Our state's silly computer-click fiasco will be thrown out in federal court by spring, probably, but that will merely madden the local meanness.

Life is so bad for Arkansas Democrats that, for encouragement, they look to the state's most historically Republican county.

Benton County is booming and dynamic, and, as such, more likely to offer political change than the stagnant rest of the state.

There are admirable young women running for state legislative seats on the usually vacant Democratic ticket in Benton County. Their campaigns have shown vibrancy. Their performances Tuesday bear watching, even if more for an emerging trend than an immediate outcome.

Amid meanness amok, the state could use even a little hint of a counter-trend.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 11/04/2018

Print Headline: Meanness run amok

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  • mozarky2
    November 4, 2018 at 5 a.m.

    And there's only one of those "admirable" dimocrats that puts their party affiliation on their campaign material. None of the others have enough integrity to.
    What's so admirable about that, Brummett?

  • Dontsufferfools
    November 4, 2018 at 6:47 a.m.

    Yep, yer average Arkie will vilify Nancy, all while benefiting from the cleaner air and water she has championed, the safer workplace, higher wages and unemployment aid. the programs that assist their parents and grandparents with health care and nursing home bills. It’s commonly known that the angry, deluded red state folks get more transfer payments per capita than blue states, which proves JB’s points about blue state voters being the adults in the room.

  • RBear
    November 4, 2018 at 7:25 a.m.

    moz, I see you're trolling Brummett as you do EVERY SINGLE COLUMN. In this case, you throw a bunch of nonsense about "party affiliation." I don't recall French Hill putting his party affiliation on flyers and his website is absent the Republican label. In fact, when you read his bio there is no mention of anything Republican. So I guess Hill is lacking in integrity. Looking at Asa's website and literature, the same is true. No mention of "Republican" anywhere.
    You are such an idiot when you attempt an attack. You never research ANYTHING.

    November 4, 2018 at 7:27 a.m.

    Mr. Brummett must feel the lonely prophet in a land of infidels. He is so right, and most of us are so wrong. One thing for sure, he is a master at name-calling. He is unconcerned about the uncorroborated and directly refuted tales told against Judge Kavanaugh, I guess slander only counts when it is directed at his friends. Brummett said that there should have been a "full and complete" investigation by the FBI based on these allegations, even though Kavanaugh had been vetted by the FBI five or six times in the past. I guess "meanness" to him only exists on the other side of the fence. I am glad to see him at least admit that the D.C. Democratic assault on Judge Kavanaugh blew up in their faces, now possibly even helping Republicans retain the US House of Representatives by spurring Republican turnout.

  • RBear
    November 4, 2018 at 7:28 a.m.

    moz I just watched Asa's TV ad for his campaign. Know what's missing? The word "Republican." Hmmmm. I guess he doesn't have integrity enough to mention it.

  • GeneralMac
    November 4, 2018 at 7:36 a.m.

    Clarke Tucker/Nancy Pelosi

    If you like Nancy Pelosi, you'll love Clarke Tucker

    This campaign ad for Clarke Tucker is approved by GeneralMac

  • RBear
    November 4, 2018 at 7:54 a.m.

    fake presents lies about Tucker. But here's a real fact. French Hill/Wall Street. If you've got pre-existing conditions or know someone who is afflicted with them, don't look to French Hill to protect your healthcare. He voted to kill that protection.

  • Packman
    November 4, 2018 at 11:15 a.m.

    For many months we’ve been told by DNC surrogates like John Brummett the midterms would be a wholesale repudiation of President Trump and a correction of the mistake we lessers made in electing him instead of Hillary. This repudiation would take place in the form of the D’s flipping the House by 40 - 60 seats and the Senate by a solid majority. Instead, it looks like the midterms will be an affirmation of President Trump.
    The D’s will likely regain control of the House but by a far less margin than we were promised for all those months. And R’s will likely pick up seats in the Senate. President Trump will quickly claim victory and smile at the thoughts of Nancy Pelosi as titular head of the Democrats, virtually assuring his re-election in 2020.
    And John Brummett will continue to write to his job description, regurgitating DNC talking points.

  • dph815
    November 4, 2018 at 11:17 a.m.

    Dumb-ass John Brummett has to be totally bonkers for claiming that is the decency in our country is in wacky California and in suburban districts dominated by minority voters that go 90% Democrat. Instead of asking "where's the decency", I ask "where's the common sense". He is a perfect example of the phrase "none is so blind as he that refuses to see".

  • GeneralMac
    November 4, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

    I have to get T-shirt sizes for John Brummett, Clarke Tucker, PopMom, and RBear.

    Those 4 flaming liberals are getting T-shirts for Christmas with the inscription.."Yo no crea en fronteras"

    They need them for the May Day parade next year.