This has been an interesting 2016 presidential campaign on both sides of the aisle and it certainly has been entertaining. And we still have about nine months to go before Election Day.
Republican anti-establishment choice Donald Trump has implemented a shock and awe style of nastiness that has galvanized a group of voters. They have embraced his unique style that has taken nasty politics to another level. And he’s not prejudiced, he bashes everybody including fellow Republicans.
Here is the thing when it comes to Trump and candidates like him. They can take a history lesson from Connecticut voters. We experienced a female version of Trump in bitter, nasty U.S. Senate campaigns during the 2010 Richard Blumenthal vs. Linda McMahon campaign and Chris Murphy vs. Linda McMahon 2012 campaign. The polls can be in your favor, you can invest millions of dollars for a high-profile campaign, but if you come off as nasty and mean like McMahon it won’t likely sit well with voters on Election Day.
In McMahon’s two campaigns, it’s well documented that she spent nearly $100 million of her own money, including nearly $45 million against Murphy. While McMahon produced nasty campaigns in both election cycles I’d like to focus on the Murphy election, which in some respects mirrors the current Trump-Republican campaign.
Trump is a successful businessman and constantly boasts about spending his own millions on his campaign. He is also a successful entertainer on many levels. McMahon is a successful businesswoman and was the longtime chief executive officer of one of the most entertaining arenas of the world – World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
Early in the campaign Murphy spent most of his time on the defensive, responding to McMahon attack ads. In a New York Times Election Day story on Nov. 6, 2012, it was noted that her constant attack ads likely took their toll on McMahon. The story reported that Mark Gudim, a home inspector from Brookfield, said he was an unaffiliated voter and was undecided until a few weeks before Election Day when “I couldn’t take the advertisements anymore. I drive a lot every day for work, and every time I turned on the radio, there she was,” he said. “It wasn’t about what she was going to do, it was always bashing Chris Murphy. It definitely got old.”
You might remember the McMahon-Murphy debates in 2012 actually had a similar tone to the recent Republican debate on Saturday. The atmosphere was rowdy with cheers, jeers and boos coming from the crowd.
In the first debate, McMahon continued to take swipes at Murphy including in her closing argument, typically where candidates summarize their views and positions on the issues at hand. McMahon used her time to reiterate her TV campaign ads and continued her negative barrage.
In August and September poll numbers fluctuated with McMahon leading by a few points a week or two and then Murphy leading a week or two. The candidates were running close according to the polls heading into the three debates. But Murphy dominated the debates and by election time momentum had swung his way. Murphy ended up winning with 828,761 votes and McMahon had 651,089.
While Trump has been the most vocal, the Republican presidential candidates have gone out of their way to bash President Barack Obama and Democrat presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But the Republicans also bash their Republican opponents and “you’re a liar” has been a common phrase.
If Trump ends up as the Republican nominee, and it’s a real possibility, the question is how long will it take for the nastiness and constant bashing to take its toll with voters? Spending millions of dollars and producing a nasty campaign did not bode well for McMahon – twice. It likely won’t bode well for Trump.
Right now, at least in my opinion, it looks like this campaign is the Democrats' to lose.
A new era began in the town of Cheshire when it comes to the new and improved Cheshire community pool, which kicked off a new beginning with a grand opening on Sunday. While there are certainly die-hard Democrats and die-hard Republicans in town, the upgraded facility with its new permanent tension membrane covering transcends any differences among party lines in the community.
Pride was on full display on both sides of the aisle with smiles on the faces of every politician at the grand opening supplemented by an excitement among the general public unseen in town in a very long time.
“This is really great, this is very impressive,” Republican Town Councilman and honorary chairman Rob Oris said about the pool. “Seeing all these people here (at the grand opening), it’s a testament to how strong the swimming community is in this town.” A beaming Democrat Town Councilman Peter Talbot, Town Council liaison to the Parks and Rec Commission, couldn’t seem to shake enough hands at the event. This is awesome, I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Talbot said. “The pool looks great and everyone I talk to here is impressed with it. It’s great to see all these people come out and be a part of this grand opening.” Officials at the event estimated that a crowd of 400 attended the grand opening.
Oris, Cheshire Parks and Rec director Bob Ceccolini, Cheshire Town manager Michael Milone, Cheshire Public Building Commission chairman Mark Nash and Cheshire Pool director Sheila Adams were the key speakers to usher in the new era of the pool. After the speeches there was a ribbon cutting ceremony that included Parks and Rec Commission chairman Jim Nankin. After the ribbon was cut, the public was invited to line up around the edge of the pool and jump in together to kick off the use of the pool. Ceccolini, Milone, Nash and Adams jumped in with their clothes on. The pool has had its well-documented issues over the years, including two collapsed bubble coverings in 2011 and 2013.“We’ve had to endure so much with this pool,” Milone said. “Moving forward things will be much better as we begin a new era.”
The swimming community had been anticipating the grand opening for a long, long time. The Cheshire YMCA Sea Dog Swim Club, the town’s youth swim club, and the Cheshire High boys and girls swim teams now have their home pool back. The high school teams have been using Hamden Hall’s pool for practices and “home” meets. “We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time, everyone is so excited,” Cheshire High girls swim coach Dan Mascolo said at the grand opening. He is also an associate head coach for the Sea Dogs. “The permanent covering looks impressive and they also did a great job refurbishing the pool deck.”
The Cheshire High boys swim team will start using the community pool for its practices and home meets this week. For more information about the pool including season passes and swim programs, contact pool director Sheila Adams or desk attendant Tracey Kozlowski at 203-271-3208.
“I love it, this pool is going to be so great for the town,” Democrat Town Councilwoman Liz Linehan said. “Everyone I talk to is impressed and you just have to look at how excited everyone is to know what it means to the community.”
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter for the New Haven Register for 34 years.