Gaming politics then and now

A couple of important books just came out that serve as good reference texts for the present campaign season.  The books are Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections by Fred Lucas of The Daily Signal (Stairway Press, 2016) and The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech by Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal editorial board (Twelve, 2016).

We can't know the end of the 2016 election now, but probably everyone agrees that the next thirteen weeks will be a raucous ride.  Perspective on the journey may help foster reasoned thinking and important decisions on the stakes of the election outcome.

Enter Tainted by Suspicion.  Veteran White House correspondent and author Fred Lucas takes an in-depth look at several historic controversial elections including John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson, Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden, and of course George W. Bush vs. Albert Gore, among others.

Regarding the Bush vs. Gore controversy, Lucas speculates that a President Gore "would not have sought expanding offshore drilling as Bush did, and would have stepped in the way of fracking."  (These are two decisions that could have had profound negative effects on America's present energy superiority.)

Even with the "skullduggery" suspected with four key elections examined by Lucas, he concludes that "all presidents were constitutionally elected."

For the serious election enthusiast, Mr. Lucas's well documented book shines the light on political shadiness of the past and illuminates the path for perceptive fans of the present election cycle.

In The Intimidation Game, the brutal tactics of the Obama administration are not left to the imagination.  Throughout Kimberley Strassel's account, the importance of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling is omnipresent.

Strassel gives meticulous, blow-by-blow detail on the IRS targeting of conservative groups.  She also expounds corporate shakedowns, general attacks on private citizens, and Obama loyalists "singling out people by name and spouting untrue facts," and she rounds out her perceptive work with the left's "good" and "moral" fight for saving the climate and leftists' self-righteous disparaging of enemies of their view.

The tools used by the left in the modern intimidation game include "disclosure rules [to] let them identify opponents"; "a (willing) government they could pressure to employ finance laws against those opponents"; "the extraordinary new power of the Internet and social media, which liberal activists could use to mobilize instant pressure campaigns against any target"; and the left's telling "a credulous public that all their action were aimed at 'cleaner' and 'more open' elections."

Strassel concludes that the left's intention is "to make sure they forever own the debate."

But with the perspective provided by Lucas in Tainted by Suspicion and realization of the frightening possible outcome of electing a promoter of the current administration's tactics as delineated in The Intimidation Game, the savvy voter could further increase his understanding, enthusiasm, and urgency regarding the critical election of 2016.

 Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).