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Decision Day

By Walter Geiger It’s decision day again. If you have not already done so, today is your last chance to help winnow the field of presidential candidates by voting in Georgia’s Presidential Preference Primary. I will cast my ballot and I hope you will, too. Voting is a right and a privilege ‘“ one that we could lose if enough of us fail to exercise it. This has been the most interesting presidential campaign I can remember for a lot of reasons. The main reason is Donald Trump. He has, to put it mildly, upset the apple cart. I thought he would fade away but he hasn’t. Trump is the only person in the world who can criticize the Pope and watch his ratings go up. He is beyond being man or a myth. He is a phenomenon unto himself. The first president I can recollect from my youth is Dwight Eisenhower. I knew he was a war hero and I recall his being widely-respected but presidents drew respect back then because they were the leader of the free world. I was in the third grade when JFK was shot and killed. I still remember my tearful teacher walking into class to tell us of his assassination and reading about it in the Savannah Morning News. We were out of school for several days. It was a somber time. I remember the Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater race. My dad was for Goldwater. My granddaddy was for Johnson. Johnson won. I always wondered how his wife, Lady Bird, got her name. Next up was Richard Nixon vs. Hubert Humphrey with segregationist George Wallace on the fringe. RFK got shot during the campaign for the Democratic nomination. Nixon won. Daddy was happy. Granddaddy, the union man, was not. In 1972, I got to vote for the first time. Wallace got shot. I voted for Nixon who routed George McGovern who even Grandaddy didn’t like. Nixon later disgraced us all. In 1976, I broke ranks with Daddy and voted for Jimmy Carter. The Allman Brothers liked him but he was a world class meddler. A top rank Christian gentleman, he was not much of a president. Four years later, I voted for Ronald Reagan who toppled Carter. Four years after that, I voted for Reagan again as he crushed Walter Mondale. I have voted Republican ever since and won some and lost some. George H.W. Bush crushed Michael Dukakis in 1988 but lost to Bill Clinton in 1992. H. Ross Perot, who some have likened Trump to, got some votes that year. Four years later, Clinton won again, outdistancing the stiff Bob Dole, Perot and Ralph Nader. Nader was like the weird uncle that no one talks about except around family. George Bush then won twice in a row, toppling Al Gore, the inventor of the internet, and Nader in 2000 and edging out John Kerry in 2004. That was the year the term ‘˜hanging chads’ was added to our electoral lexicon. Next came the rule of Barack Obama who walloped John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. Obama has done more harm than good. Just look at your health insurance bill. But, that is a column for another day. So this will be the the 16th presidential election of my lifetime, the 14th I really recall and the 12th I have voted in. The stakes are high today. There are 595 Republican delegates out there to be won on Super Tuesday with 1237 needed to take the nomination. On the Democratic side, 1004 delegates are in play today with 2382 needed to get on the November ballot. We all have our own electoral histories. We add to those histories each time we cast a ballot. Go vote and make history today. Walter Geiger is the editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and the Pike County Journal Reporter.

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