Opinion » Note

Silly Season

Looking ahead to Idaho's primary


With the Iowa Caucus in the bag and Ted Cruz—aka Grandpa Munster—wringing his hands in glee after his victory over Donald Trump, it's the beginning of the end for this seemingly eternal silly season of presidential politics.

The Idaho Republican and Constitutional parties have set their date for a primary presidential election on Tuesday, March 8, while Idaho Democrats will be caucusing Tuesday, March 22. That means if we're going to receive—or suffer—any candidate visits ahead of the general election in November, it's likely to happen sometime in the next month or so.

Trying to figure which way Idaho will go is less a question of Democrat or Republican, but what brand of "insurgent and anti-establishment" rhetoric will most tickle voters' fancy.

Those words were borrowed from Randy Stapilus, writing for Ridenbaugh Press in July 2015 under the headline "Donald Trump's Idaho?" In his column, Stapilus dug into history to illustrate Idahoans' particular style of voting—often skewing toward "candidates who match up with the Idaho self-image."

Among the "insurgent and anti-establishment" exemplars, he noted "challenger[s] to powers that be who are dismissed by them"—including Helen Chenoweth, Sarah Palin (a Sandpoint native) and Ron Paul. As for candidates who fit "the Idaho self-image," Stapilus named former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and former Gov. Mitt Romney—the latter whom enjoyed wide support from his fellow Latter-day Saints in the Gem State.

According to this week's Boise Weekly online poll (see Page 30), Bernie Sanders was the favorite by a wide margin with 66.09 percent, followed by Hillary Clinton (15.59 percent) and Trump (6.93 percent). While the sample size only numbered a few hundred respondents, it was surprising to see Trump in the top three.

As Stapilus wrote in his conclusion, "Might Idaho be Trump territory? Could be, if The Donald lasts in his campaigning hothouse long enough to get to next year's Idaho primary."

Say what you will about Trump or his chances, if he visits Boise, it will be a hell of a show.