Anger appears to be driving voter attitudes in this election year as polls show a flamboyant billionaire controlling the Republicans and a socialist leading the way for Democrats in the race for President.
Voters, we are told, are mad as hell at the way things are and think, at least for the moment, that their anger is best served by Republican Presidential wannabe Donald Trump or socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.
“A lot of voters are exceptionally frustrated with traditonal politcs and politicians and feel failed by the system,” polls Geoff Garin. “A lot of this anger crosses party line in the sense that it is directed at what people see as a concentration of wealth and power that leaves them holding the short end of the stick.”
That anger also helps retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson drew a large campaign crowd in Des Moines last week and businesswoman Carly Fiorina is rising in poll numbers, reports Phillip Rucker of The Washington Post.
In Floyd County, anger at the way things are also appears to be driving retired State Trooper Jimmy Howery in his run for Sheriff against Brian Craig while restaurant owner and legal moonshine distiller Kerry Underwood and DJ’s Drive In owner Michael Schumann are trying to unseat incumbent Joe Turman in Burks Fork and Linda DeVito who wants to win the open seat in Little River against Republican Eddie Worth.
Howery was fired as court bailiff after voiced complaints about the way things happen at the sheriff’s office. Underwood says things at the Board of Supervisors are out of control. Schumann and DeVito have been less vocal with complaints at this point but the rhetoric from all will increase after Labor Day.
Campaigns signs, which usually appear after Labor Day in local elections, are already littering yards and public thoroughfares in the county.
Anger is also bringing residents out to speak at public meetings, especially at the public comment portion of the Board of Supervisors at its two meetings a month.
Hotel Floyd co-owner Kamala Bauers lambasted the board for its selection of tea party activist Linda Wagner to a position on the county planning commission — the second appointment of a tea party member to the group.
Said Bauers at a recent meeting: “What exactly are her qualifications? Loudly blasting talk radio from early morning to late night to harass all of the walkers through town?”
Wagner and her husband are frequent and vocal critics of government — local state and federal. They keep a boombox in their back yard on loud with right-wing talk radio that can be heard throughout the area around the former Rakes Mansion that is their home. The home currently is also adorned with an anti-Planned Parenthood Banner and other conservative political statements.
Wagner’s appointment to the planning commission came as a replacement for longtime member and current chairman Mark Sowers, who was vocally critical of the Supervisors for killing an attempt to modify the county’s family subdivision ordinance.
Bauers is not the only one questioning supervisors over the appointment of Wagner. Floyd Mayor Will Griffin expressed disappointment at the selection and listed problems the town has faced with Wagner, including a lawsuit over a claimed injury to Dennis Wagner from a town lawn mower, smoke from burning leaves flowing over events near their home and a long fight over a town tour path. Jane Cundiff outlined complaints in more than one appearance before the supervisors. More than one public comment period of the Supervisors has been dominated by complaints against Wagner and criticism of the appointment of her to the planning commission.
“We are lacking sensible leadership in many areas of our county on the Board and especially in the chair of the Board of Supervisors,” said Bauers. “Our County is at risk.”
Underwood cited the Wagner appointment as one of the reasons he is seeking a seat on the county board. Like Bauers, Underwood is upset with actions by Supervisor Chairman Case Clinger.
Political experts expect the polls to calm down on the national front and both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will fade in the Presidential election that is still more than a year away.
Will local candidate for county offices face the same fate in Floyd?
Time, and votes, will decide.