Mike: Cynthia, are you breaking up with me?
Cynthia: My goodness, no. I’m declaring my independence for your sake, Mike, and the sake of the country. You’re bright and funny and so reasonable…and a Republican! You really need to run for president.
As for me, I’m thinking of becoming a Sumo wrestler. Did you know they compete to make babies cry?
Seriously, though, since it is our last column before the 2016 election, we owe our readers a few predictions, don’t you think?
Who’s going to win the GOP primary for president?
Mike: I’m only 31, and the Constitution we Republicans love so much requires candidates to reach age 35. So I predict Gov. Kasich will be the last man standing, ultimately edging out Ms. Fiorina. Yet guessing the GOP race is like predicting the 2018 women’s luge gold medalist — no one knows, but many have favorites! I’m pro-Clukey, yet not backing a candidate yet.
Cynthia: If Republicans love the Constitution so much, why are so many of your presidential candidates talking about “anchor babies” as if the 14th Amendment didn’t exist?
And since when does someone’s religion determine their suitability for office?
Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton as their candidate, but it will be a battle and she will go into the general election wounded by those in the party who administer ideological purity tests.
What about the Second Congressional District? Bruce Poliquin has taken heat lately for losing Maine jobs thanks to his reluctance to support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. And Republicans are no longer singing his favorite tune about debt and deficit. Is he a one-hit wonder?
Mike: There is an interesting academic debate about jus soli birthright citizenship, but at this point it is just that — academic. And the Constitution prohibits religious tests for office; you’ll notice most Republicans voiced such responses.
Meanwhile, Bruce hasn’t voted against the Ex-Im Bank since there have been no votes, although he has expressed concerns. But today to November 2016 is longer than his entire tenure in office thus far, so don’t count him out just yet. I think we’ll see Rep. Poliquin Part II in 2017.
Cynthia: Wholesome family values are rightly associated with the Baldacci name, and Joe and his brother and sister-in-law, Gov. John and Karen Baldacci, are widely respected in the district, but the organizational strength and financial backing of Emily Cain’s campaign will push her over the finish line in the primary.
At the state level, the outcome of House races could have the biggest impact on the day-to-day lives of Maine families. More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers are termed out so the fight to maintain the majority and serve as the backstop to the LePage agenda will be intense.
Gov. LePage will be pulling out the stops to put a Republican in the speaker’s office.
If every legislative candidate seeking a ticket to Augusta is asked by voters to take a pledge on the impeachment of Gov. LePage, I predict voter turnout will break records.
He’s not running in 2016, but will Paul LePage be on the ballot, Mike?
Mike: If the 2016 Democratic platform is “impeach LePage,” we’ll see another Republican sweep. In 1998, the GOP overreached in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, angering voters, and I can only hope Maine Democrats ignore that lesson. Unfortunately, I don’t believe your party is that foolish, so most of the debate will be caught up in referenda on things other than Paul LePage.
We’ll have tax reform, welfare reform, ranked choice voting, marijuana, another bear question, and potentially more on the ballot in 2016. Since we won’t get to hash these out again in the BDN, how will the votes go?
Cynthia: If by “tax reform” you mean the governor’s bid to end the income tax and rupture state finances, the measure will be wisely rejected by voters. And since Maine voters haven’t yet figured out we shouldn’t bait black bears with donuts, it seems unlikely they’ll figure out how ranked choice voting works. Unless of course they’re stoned.
I’m going to miss our bear arguments, Mike, and it’s fitting this is how the story ends.
But I have to ask — even if I’m writing a column for a competing newspaper and you’re continuing to write for the BDN — can’t we be friends?
Mike: Cynthia, if we’ve done anything with this column, I hope we’ve proved that people can disagree vehemently while still being civil, laughing, and, yes, being friends. Best of luck with your next adventure.