I often tell people that this presidential election reminds me of the 1991 gubernatorial election in Louisiana. Normally I don’t follow Louisiana politics, but my former Guam Cable TV news director and good friend John Morvant hails from the Mardi Gras state, so he is the one who, a long time ago, told me about the infamous 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial election bumper sticker, “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”
In Louisiana in 1991, the Democratic candidate was now former governor and convicted felon Edwin Edwards, who at the time had already served three terms as governor of the state. During his third term, Edwards was indicted on a variety of corruption charges – mail fraud, bribery, and obstruction of justice. He was eventually acquitted, but in 1987, lost a bid for re-election to Gov. Buddy Roehmer, because, as Morvant explained to me, the feeling of the people at the time was “anybody but Edwards.” A journalist for the now-defunct Shreveport Journal reportedly wrote that the only way Edwards could ever be elected again was if he ran against Adolf Hitler.
Come the 1991 election. Edwards decides to run again. After the primary is over, it turns out his Republican opponent is David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and an avowed white supremacist. Remember the journalist’s comment from the previous paragraph? To give you an example of just how much of a loon Duke is, in 2006, Fox News reported that Duke had been invited to a conference questioning the Holocaust in Tehran, Iran, by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Fox story quotes Duke telling the Associated Press, “The Holocaust is the device used as the pillar of Zionist imperialism, Zionist aggression, Zionist terror and Zionist murder.”
Ok, so back to 1991. The people of Louisiana now have to decide: Do we want a known crook for governor, or a maniacal white supremacist? As you might imagine, the campaign produced a slate of bumper stickers. The best one, obviously produced by someone with wicked sense of humor, said, “Vote for the crook it’s important.” Edwards won by a landslide - 61 to 39 percent.
So even if you think Hillary Clinton is the biggest crook since Edwin Edwards, with the email scandals, the alleged “pay for play” scandal and everything else she has been accused of, well, look at the choice the people of Louisiana had to make in 1991. An overwhelming majority of them voted what they thought was right. Our nation has survived crooked politicians practically since day one. But you just can’t have a racist in the highest office in the land. Cannot. Period. Vote for the crook. It’s important.
Our votes for president on Nov. 8 are only a straw poll. They don’t count, because as I mentioned in a previous column, we are an unincorporated territory of the United States. As such, we do not get to vote for president. But Guam has been amazingly accurate in its presidential straw poll since it started holding straw polls back in 1984. So we do represent the pulse of the nation.
(Jayne Flores is a long-time journalist. She currently works at Guam Community College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)