Archive for the ‘Vote’ Category

>Two polls (that don’t have anything to do with politics)

November 2, 2010

>The Election

If you are like many Americans and many in Alabama and even in Bessemer, in spite of all the hype and crazy people running for office you don’t know much about this (here) election they are putting on today.

All you know is what you see on the political ads that run during the news, during the World Series (congrats to San Francisco!!! and (hot) bearded Brian Wilson), and during every television show it seems.

So you may or may not vote. I mean, OFA and other groups are doing all they can to Get Out The Vote. Democrats are trying to remind voters who first voted in 2008 that it is still important to vote. Republicans are screaming, “Fire!,” in an effort to motivate their voters.

Some of you might even respond to this: here is your voter guideor here.

And still, only 55% of voters are expected to turn out in Alabama, according to Beth Chapman, Alabama’s Secretary of State.

Almost half of the people in this state don’t care. So if somebody wins, say, the governorship, with just a little over half the vote, what it really means is that only a quarter of the people (or a little more) in the state want that person to be governor.

One person who doesn’t want Robert Bentley to be governor is Jimmy Blake, who says he will contest the election if Bentley wins the election today, based on Bentley’s reporting of campaign fund raising.

Polls

We’ve seen polls and polls and polls and polls and surveys. We even had a poller call at 7:10 yesterday evening. What good is that going to do?

Poll 1

Here are some of the results of the reader’s survey I posted on Bessemer Opinions a few weeks ago.

23% of the respondents are straight and 19% are LGBT. That means that 52% of you are either unsure of your sexuality or so deep in the closet and so paranoid about being discovered that you were afraid to answer even on an anonymous poll.

61% of you are white, and only 6% are black. That leaves a lot of people of other colors. Or not.

See that’s the problems with surveys where you can choose multiple answers. Some people didn’t know that, so they didn’t answer the race or sexual orientation questions. Or they are paranoid and they probably didn’t complete their census form either.

The highest number of you, 31%, like the mix of subjects and the unexpected that you find on Bessemer Opinions. 16% want more Bessemer news and less gay news, 7% wanted more gay news and less Bessemer. You are still going to get the mix.

What this tells me is that Bessemer Opinions is popular among a wide variety of people with a variety of interests, and that I should keep reporting as I do on a number of subjects.

Poll 2

Yesterday I wrote this column for Daily Kos that compares the two Georgia megachurch pastors and the churches that have been in the news recently regarding gay issues. At the end of that column there was a poll asking “Which church offers the truer message of Christianity regarding gay issues?” The choices are New Birth Missionary Baptist Church led by Pastor Eddie Long or Church in the Now led by Pastor Jim Swilley, or neither.

Of the 42 people who have responded, 78% think Church in the Now, with the pastor who has been inclusive and accepting and recently came out as gay, is offering the truer message, and only 2% believe New Birth led by the pastor who was accused of having sexual relations with some of his male followers while preaching an anti-gay message is offering the truer Christian message. 19% say neither, and I assume those are people without faith, or people who have been driven away from the church.

Swilley and his supporters are hoping they can change the world. I think all, or most, Christian churches believe that, but let’s hope he is right.

The Challenger

Some of you know that there is now a blog that has been created to stand up against my militancy.

From their “Welcome” page:

This blog exists to spend a little time answering the radical homosexual propaganda of Joe Openshaw, a gay organizer in Bessemer, Alabama. It is also a place for conservative Christians to have their say regarding the militant homosexual agenda in Bessemer.

Radical? One of my straight friends responded to that saying she thinks I am pretty moderate.

Militant? Militant? I can’t even respond to that. Militant?

Anyway, for those of you who are keeping score.

1. There was a newspaper editor in town that threatened to file a lawsuit against me to force me to quit revealing the truth. He’s gone. Fired.

2. There was another blogger, the “Bessemer conservative” I called him in a newspaper column. He’s pretty much given up, but was real good at copying and pasting from those anti-Obama emails that used to circulate with so much mis-information.

3. And then there was Snuffy, who in a letter to the newspaper called me a communist and worse, and compared my loving relationship with my partner to screwing a horse. Anyone heard from him lately?

So I don’t feel threatened by this newcomer, who so far has chosen not to reveal his whole identity. I know this is just a tease, but I am not going to post a link to his blog, yet, because he has already posted some statements which could be damaging to young gay kids. Here I am trying to prevent kids from killing themselves and this “conservative Christian” is destroying their self esteem and possibly contributing to their harmful actions.

If you want a link to the page, email me.

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>Choosing to be straight

October 25, 2010

>Here are the sample ballots for Jefferson County for the November 2, 2010 election. There are several ballots there, because there are County Commission races and state legislator races and such where everyone does not have the same choices so they will receive different ballots.

The ballot is continued on the back.

There are 44 races on the ballot, if I counted correctly. If not, it’s close. There are a lot of candidates to become familiar with in order to make a decision as to who to vote for.

There are a few races that you might be familiar with: Governor, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, but how about State Board of Education District 4? Quick, tell me the candidates.

But there is a solution. Use this quick guide to voting provided by Bessemer Opinions.

Make one mark on the ballot.

Straight Party Voting.

Mark “Alabama Democratic Party” on your ballot.

Remember, if you are voting for Republicans you are supporting a party whose members want to do away with Social Security, wants to take health care away from those who now have it, want to increase unemployment in our state, want to do away with the 14th Amendment, want to re-criminalize homosexuality, want to take away a woman’s right to choose even in the case of rape or incest, want to allow Wall Street to run rampant, who don’t believe the part of the 1st Amendment about not establishing a religion, who want students to carry guns to class, who want to censor books like mine, that have gay characters or are written by gay authors, who want to demonize immigrants, who want to remain in Afghanistan for 1000 years, who disagree with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (If you aren’t familiar with these issues and the Republicans that support these positions, ask me in the comments section).

This picture is actually a message to those 19th century holdovers that believe one’s sexual orientation is a choice.

This is one time that flaunting your straightness is allowed.

I decided I will be straight, on November 2. A Straight Democratic Party voter, that is.

Won’t you be Straight with me?

>Bessemer is not…

October 4, 2010

>…nor will we ever be, San Luis Obispo, CA.

San Luis Obispo is the happiest place in the United States, according to a 2008 Gallup-Healthways poll, which rated the city No. 1 in overall emotional health. This comes from an article in today’s Parade magazine.

But we could certainly be much happier as a city than we are now. The key is further down in this post.

Dan Buettner, who wrote The Blue Zones, has a new book coming out later this month, Thrive, in which he explores happiness.

Here are some key elements to the success of San Luis Obispo.

Support the Arts. I have written about the creative class and how embracing those and welcoming them would improve our city.

Boost Biking and Walking. I have written about bringing trails to Bessemer. Here and also here.

Create a Greenbelt. This kind of goes along with the above, as far as Bessemer goes.

Prohibit Drive-Throughs. It’s a little late for this. but in San Luis Obispo, they were forward thinking in the 1980’s, and banned drive-through restaurants. This helped to keep their obesity rate at 17.6% compared to 26.5% nationally, and God knows what in Bessemer.

Stamp out Cigarettes. San Luis Obispo has one of the lowest smoking rates in the nation, and this stated with their smoking ban in 1990. In Bessemer, there is a smoking ban in restaurants. I promoted this ban for the health of our community. We could expand the ban to our parks and other outdoor public places.

Shrink Signage. I doubt that we could pass a sign ordinance here. I’ll tell you about one sign that I saw today that is a huge waste of money. Richard Shelby’s money. He has a billboard in Bessemer, a Democratic city, on 14th Street. Lol. Anyway, Here’s a sign you need to read before Tuesday’s runoff. More on this further down on this post.

Empower the People. In San Luis Obispo’s case, the article speaks of a 1968 referendum where the people voted to close some streets and create a plaza. Mission Plaza is now a source of civic pride, a place for their farmer’s market and arts and gatherings. Hmmm.

Go back up to the Biking and Walking paragraph and click on the link there. That park involving the railroad trestle could be something the people would be proud of. It would link to Roosevelt Park, which is already popular. It’s a big dream of mine to have that park, and link it to Red Mountain Park by skirting our neighborhood along 14th street and using the overpasses already in place (there is at least one missing that would need to be replaced. But this would be a very interesting use of existing historical architecture, and believe me, it would get some attention), which is being developed. An official of the park told me years ago (during the Ed May era) they had approached the city of Bessemer and could get no response. This is another reason we need to send Ed May home on Tuesday. More about this further down on this post.

Oh, we’re there. I found a several page flyer on my gate when we returned home headlined “Ed May leading the city to the brink of destruction.” Quotes from this blog make the case on that flyer. There is also a section headlined “Bingo Deception” (Mayor May vetoed Bingo more than once, while his law firm was receiving payments for representing Bingo interests in Bessemer, according to the flyer).

Another section is headlined “Appropriated Education Funds Denied,” that explains that May’s withholding of about 8 million dollars from education (that the city owes) demonstrates gross negligence and hurts our children!

We are not a happy city. We could be much happier if we elect a mayor and council that will represent our city in a proud way. I’ve written about the candidates that the Bessemer Progressives have endorsed.

Here is what I said about city council candidates that are now in runoffs.

Chester Porter – “wants to revitalize downtown, wants to bring arts to Bessemer, wants to establish a quarterly community clean up day.” Chester is running for the seat vacated by Louise Alexander.

Ron Marshall – “Most of the questions asked this group were about economic development, and Marshall was very effective in pointing out his marketing background and how this would be an asset in promoting (or allowing other entities to promote) the city. He also has experience in managing a city department.” Ron is running in District 5, and seeks to replace Albert Soles.

Cleo King – “When asked what the number one issue facing the city is he responded “lack of communication.” He said we need to change the image of the city and the council needs to set the example. The current council person from District 7, Earl Cochran, has been a disappointment. He answered his first question talking about a failure. the failure of the city to pass his bingo initiative. He answered the second question talking about failure. The failure of the city to be accountable. he sounded too much like Larry Langford when he urged voters to choose him and only then would he reveal his secret revenue generating plan. Ms. Jones was voted out in 2006 because voters had had enough of her. We’ve still had enough.” Cleo is seeking to replace Earl Cochran, who has shown us how to embarrass the city when television cameras are rolling.

And we have endorsed Ken Gulley for mayor.

The Ken Gulley parade rolled by my house around 4 today. The Cleo King parade rolled by about a half hour later.

Do not vote for incumbents.

Vote for Ken Gulley for mayor on Tuesday

Vote for Chester Porter in district 2 on Tuesday.

Vote for Ron Marshall in district 5 on Tuesday.

Vote for Cleo King in district 7 on Tuesday.

>On Tuesday

August 23, 2010

>This is a reminder about August 24, 2010.

It is Election Day in Bessemer.


Whether you are reading this on Monday or Tuesday, consider the following.

Do you want to continue to have crime ignored?

Do you want to continue to keep the money we pay for the schools in taxes to be hoarded and mis-spent by the city on lord knows what?

Do you want to continue to have the city finances kept secret?

Do you want to continue to have a mayor and council at odds, who act as though they have taken a vow to act like tom cats all after Miss Kitty?

Do you want Bessemer to pay its first responders so poorly that once they are trained they are tempted to go elsewhere just because the pay is better?

Do you want the business community, which brings dollars, jobs, dollars, tourists, dollars, prestige and more dollars to our coffers, to continue to be ignored?

Do you want outside business entities that are considering a site for business to continue to overlook our city, thus losing potential, no actual, jobs that our citizens could hold?

If these are the things you want for our city, just don’t vote. Let things stay the same.

But if you want the opposite of the above, if you want to see Bessemer improve, vote for change in Bessemer;

vote Ken Gulley for mayor.

While you are at it, vote for:

David Vance – council 1

Chester Porter – council 2

Jessie Burrell – council 3

Ralph Hodge – council 4

Ron Marshall – council 5

Jesse Matthews – council 6

Cleo King – council 7

Janet Ruffin – Education 2

Wanda Thomas – Education 7

Here are some of the reasons for those choices.

>Vote Today, Town Hall Tonight

May 12, 2009

>If you live in Alabama Senate District 19, and have not already done so, get to the polls and vote!

Since I got such a good response to the Bonnie Tyler videos here is another one, arguably her best known hit. She is from Wales and was born Gaynor Hopkins. Remember those early videos from the 1980’s? Here’s one for you.

Tonight, the ACLU of Alabama is sponsoring a Town Hall Event “Restore Our Rights.”

From Guantanamo to civil rights to First Amendment freedoms,our country faces many challenges. What are our elected leaders doing and how should they respond? How can we restore our rights?

Join the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama for an engaging and interactive town hall featuring special guest, Michael Macleod-Ball, the ACLU’s Chief Legislative and Policy Counsel in Washington, D.C.

WHAT: “Restore Our Rights” Town Hall Event
WHEN: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham
4300 Hampton Heights Drive
Birmingham, AL 35209

See you there!

>Free Movie

September 9, 2008

>No black hole yet, so I get at least one more post in.

Michael Moore has spent 20 years making groundbreaking movies such as Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko.

Now he is offering a feature length film for free with an internet download available 2 weeks from today, September 23.

Sign up for the free download at Slacker Uprising .

Slacker Uprising traces Michael Moore’s 62-city tour of the swing states during the 2004 Presidential election and records the thrilling — and frightening — response he received across the country.

Trailer

Neither Moore nor Brave New Films will make any money from the film, which had a budget of over $2 million. “This is being done entirely as a gift to my fans,” said Moore. “The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls in November. I think ‘Slacker Uprising’ will inspire million to get off the couch and give voting a chance.”

Along with Moore’s appearance, “Slacker Uprising” features live performances or appearances by Eddie Vedder (of Pearl Jam), Roseanne Barr, Joan Baez, Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine), R.E.M., Steve Earle, and Viggo Mortensen.

Sign up today, and spread the word.

>Vote Today…but why? And Marriage Equality

June 3, 2008

> You should too. Polls are open till 7:00.

People in South Dakota and Montana are voting today as well. I expect Senator Clinton to bow out gracefully, after tonight. If and when she does…I will unite with other democrats in support of Barack Obama.

In the meantime, we will watch tonight’s returns with interest, as history unfolds before us.

But as I voted today, I couldn’t get Hacking Democracy out of my mind.

We watched the HBO documentary last night, and if you see the first 5 minutes, you have to watch the rest. During those five minutes, they remind us that in Volusia County Florida in 2000 that Al Gore received negative 16, 022 votes in one precinct. A precinct that had only 585 registered voters. 412 of those voters actually cast ballots, and Bush got 2813 and Gore -16, 022. On Diebold Voting machines. You don’t think their machines can be hacked? Watch .

You can watch Hacking Democracy on HBO in Demand, or just go to Youtube and search “hacking democracy” and there it is, in several parts, 1,2,3…9.

And we are supposed to have faith in the system? Well, yeah…so..vote! And believe that housewive’s in Seattle and professors at Princeton are on top of things.

Meanwhile, as we wait for tonight’s results, attitudes about same sex marriage are changing. Much like attitudes toward interracial marriage changed, but at a slightly quicker pace.

Here is a graph of attitudes toward interracial marriage.

In 1958 94% of Americans were against the concept while only 4% approved. In 1968, around the time the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that interracial marriage could not be denied, only 20 % approved. Not until 1991, 25 years later, did more people support than oppose, and now, a large majority does.

Now look at the graph for same sex marriage.

Blue line is support, red is oppose and black is don’t know. The blip is around 2004 when Republicans used gay marriage as a wedge issue. At this point, according to the latest Gallup poll, about 46% approve, so the clear trend is acceptance, and I predict that 2009 will be the year that the lines cross. As marriages occur in California, people will see that it is OK, even preferred, to allow people to live in loving committed relationships that support one another and support society.

Jay Brannan has a new song, Housewife. Who would not want a life partner like the one he sings of? This song is NSFW, it includes the F word, so don’t play at work. Unless you work in a really cool place. The song is available on itunes, the album will be out in July.

Vote Today…but why? And Marriage Equality

June 3, 2008

You should too. Polls are open till 7:00.

People in South Dakota and Montana are voting today as well. I expect Senator Clinton to bow out gracefully, after tonight. If and when she does…I will unite with other democrats in support of Barack Obama.

In the meantime, we will watch tonight’s returns with interest, as history unfolds before us.

But as I voted today, I couldn’t get Hacking Democracy out of my mind.

We watched the HBO documentary last night, and if you see the first 5 minutes, you have to watch the rest. During those five minutes, they remind us that in Volusia County Florida in 2000 that Al Gore received negative 16, 022 votes in one precinct. A precinct that had only 585 registered voters. 412 of those voters actually cast ballots, and Bush got 2813 and Gore -16, 022. On Diebold Voting machines. You don’t think their machines can be hacked? Watch .

You can watch Hacking Democracy on HBO in Demand, or just go to Youtube and search “hacking democracy” and there it is, in several parts, 1,2,3…9.

And we are supposed to have faith in the system? Well, yeah…so..vote! And believe that housewive’s in Seattle and professors at Princeton are on top of things.

Meanwhile, as we wait for tonight’s results, attitudes about same sex marriage are changing. Much like attitudes toward interracial marriage changed, but at a slightly quicker pace.

Here is a graph of attitudes toward interracial marriage.

In 1958 94% of Americans were against the concept while only 4% approved. In 1968, around the time the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that interracial marriage could not be denied, only 20 % approved. Not until 1991, 25 years later, did more people support than oppose, and now, a large majority does.

Now look at the graph for same sex marriage.

Blue line is support, red is oppose and black is don’t know. The blip is around 2004 when Republicans used gay marriage as a wedge issue. At this point, according to the latest Gallup poll, about 46% approve, so the clear trend is acceptance, and I predict that 2009 will be the year that the lines cross. As marriages occur in California, people will see that it is OK, even preferred, to allow people to live in loving committed relationships that support one another and support society.

Jay Brannan has a new song, Housewife. Who would not want a life partner like the one he sings of? This song is NSFW, it includes the F word, so don’t play at work. Unless you work in a really cool place. The song is available on itunes, the album will be out in July.

Tuesday’s Primary…and the Alabama Sturgeon

June 2, 2008

I will be surprised if this post ends up on Bessemer Opinions because, at least at this end, the “internets” (to quote our president) is acting funky.

Tomorrow is the Alabama Primary, and although we already had the presidential portion of our state primary, the rest of the offices are up for grabs Tuesday. Believe it or not, I only have a couple of comments.

Number one, if voting in the Democratic Primary, which everyone should, vote for Dan Weinrib for tax assessor. He is the incumbent, and even though his office slipped up a bit when assessing opponent Gaynell Hendrick’s tax liabilities, he took full responsibility. Dan came and spoke with us at an Alabama Stonewall meeting, and certainly is the most qualified candidate.

His opponent, Ms. Hendricks, you remember, played the race card and tried to prevent Patricia Todd from assuming the office she had won at the ballot box. We are moving past race based politics (one can dream, again) so we should move past her as well.

On the Republican side, there is not much to crow about, except for the Public Service Commission President race. Here there are three candidates. One is Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, who has the endorsement of Mike Huckabee. That in itself is reason enough to vote against her, but in the ad he stresses that she is pro-life. Of course, that is the expected position of republicans, but does being pro-life have anything to do with the public service commission?

Then there is Matt Chancey, whose ads make me laugh every time, still, that I see them: “Radical environmentalists have stopped nuclear power and are the leading cause of our high energy bills.”

The leading cause of our high energy bills? Radical environmentalists? Which oil field covered desert sand does this guy have his head buried in? TVA may be interested in building a nuclear plant, and there are pros and cons of this type of alternative energy, but Matt…the Public Service Commission has no oversight over TVA and neither will you.

Also, Matt seems upset that the Alabama Sturgeon is being protected, saying “Recently, Alabama Power and others lost a lawsuit in federal court to remove a certain type of fish from the Endangered Species List. The fish in question is genetically identical to other fish not on the endangered list. But this did not stop environmental extremists, who care more about the habitat of one type of fish than they do about the habitat for human beings” on his web site.

But he fails to mention that Alabama Power Company’s customers are paying for both sides of the lawsuit, as our tax money funds the government side of the case and your (in Bessemer we don’t use Alabama Power) rate payments paid for Alabama Power’s side. A waste of your money, just like those stupid bird advertisements.

article about that.

As for the claim that the fish are genetically identical, Chancey needs to read this article, Genetic distinction of pallid, shovelnose, and Alabama sturgeon: emerging species and the US Endangered Species Act , by Donald Campton et al, published in Conservation Genetics in March 2000 ISSN 1566-0621 (Print) 1572-9737 (Online).

From the abstract: “Overall, these mtDNA results indicate significant reproductive isolation between pallid and shovelnose sturgeon in areas of natural sympatry, and recent evolutionary divergence of Alabama sturgeon. These mtDNA results provide the first molecular genetic evidence for distinguishing the three Scaphirhynchus species and, coupled with morphological and biogeographic data, indicate that pallid and Alabama Sturgeon should be evaluated as distinct species under theESA.”

“Recent evolutionary divergence.” Something that Chancey may not understand. But what it means is these three fish have/are in the process of becoming distinct species. OMG! Evolution, right before our eyes!

About the fishies

So, just don’t vote in the Republican primary, that is the solution to this problem.

>Tuesday’s Primary…and the Alabama Sturgeon

June 2, 2008

>I will be surprised if this post ends up on Bessemer Opinions because, at least at this end, the “internets” (to quote our president) is acting funky.

Tomorrow is the Alabama Primary, and although we already had the presidential portion of our state primary, the rest of the offices are up for grabs Tuesday. Believe it or not, I only have a couple of comments.

Number one, if voting in the Democratic Primary, which everyone should, vote for Dan Weinrib for tax assessor. He is the incumbent, and even though his office slipped up a bit when assessing opponent Gaynell Hendrick’s tax liabilities, he took full responsibility. Dan came and spoke with us at an Alabama Stonewall meeting, and certainly is the most qualified candidate.

His opponent, Ms. Hendricks, you remember, played the race card and tried to prevent Patricia Todd from assuming the office she had won at the ballot box. We are moving past race based politics (one can dream, again) so we should move past her as well.

On the Republican side, there is not much to crow about, except for the Public Service Commission President race. Here there are three candidates. One is Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, who has the endorsement of Mike Huckabee. That in itself is reason enough to vote against her, but in the ad he stresses that she is pro-life. Of course, that is the expected position of republicans, but does being pro-life have anything to do with the public service commission?

Then there is Matt Chancey, whose ads make me laugh every time, still, that I see them: “Radical environmentalists have stopped nuclear power and are the leading cause of our high energy bills.”

The leading cause of our high energy bills? Radical environmentalists? Which oil field covered desert sand does this guy have his head buried in? TVA may be interested in building a nuclear plant, and there are pros and cons of this type of alternative energy, but Matt…the Public Service Commission has no oversight over TVA and neither will you.

Also, Matt seems upset that the Alabama Sturgeon is being protected, saying “Recently, Alabama Power and others lost a lawsuit in federal court to remove a certain type of fish from the Endangered Species List. The fish in question is genetically identical to other fish not on the endangered list. But this did not stop environmental extremists, who care more about the habitat of one type of fish than they do about the habitat for human beings” on his web site.

But he fails to mention that Alabama Power Company’s customers are paying for both sides of the lawsuit, as our tax money funds the government side of the case and your (in Bessemer we don’t use Alabama Power) rate payments paid for Alabama Power’s side. A waste of your money, just like those stupid bird advertisements.

article about that.

As for the claim that the fish are genetically identical, Chancey needs to read this article, Genetic distinction of pallid, shovelnose, and Alabama sturgeon: emerging species and the US Endangered Species Act , by Donald Campton et al, published in Conservation Genetics in March 2000 ISSN 1566-0621 (Print) 1572-9737 (Online).

From the abstract: “Overall, these mtDNA results indicate significant reproductive isolation between pallid and shovelnose sturgeon in areas of natural sympatry, and recent evolutionary divergence of Alabama sturgeon. These mtDNA results provide the first molecular genetic evidence for distinguishing the three Scaphirhynchus species and, coupled with morphological and biogeographic data, indicate that pallid and Alabama Sturgeon should be evaluated as distinct species under theESA.”

“Recent evolutionary divergence.” Something that Chancey may not understand. But what it means is these three fish have/are in the process of becoming distinct species. OMG! Evolution, right before our eyes!

About the fishies

So, just don’t vote in the Republican primary, that is the solution to this problem.