Clyde: So it’s Trump
So there it is. Donald Trump is the likely Republican nominee for president. It’s not a sealed deal, and there could be heart attacks or other events that might change things. But it looks like Trump is their guy. Overall, they don’t seem happy about it. The party leadership (a term that seems kind of ironic under the circumstances) didn’t want Trump. They spent a lot of money trying to stop him, even going to the extreme of trying to help Ted Cruz, who John Boehner called "Lucifer in the flesh."
Bernie Sanders hasn’t given up yet, but it seems unlikely that he will be more than a long speech at the convention. So the Democrats will nominate Hilary Clinton. The establishment loves her — the voters, not so much. Both Clinton and Trump have negative ratings above 60 percent. In other words, more than 60 percent of voters dislike and hold negative views of both candidates. There’s a formula for success.
The Republicans are concerned that the anti-Trump feelings will turn into a 50 state loss, and the loss of House and Senate seats as people reject everything Republican. This would not be a good year to run for dog-catcher as a Republican. But I’m not sure that panic is completely justified. Clinton is almost as disliked as Trump. The idea that Republicans will vote for Clinton, or Democrats will vote for Trump, just doesn’t make sense. What’s likely is that more people just sit this one out.
If voters on both sides decide that it’s less disgusting to stay home and clean the rain gutters than to go vote with the choice put before them, weird things can happen. With a very low voter turnout, people with no chance of winning under normal conditions can be elected to important offices, at every level. The unthinkable suddenly becomes possible, and bad stuff can happen. I guess we can always hope for a third party candidate.
On the home front, this is a tough time of year. There is a ton of work to be done to get the ranch ready for the season. I can’t do it alone, and end up hiring a bunch of kids to help mend fences. It’s a gamble, because I need to get them lined up in advance, but never know what the weather will be like. So this past week, with perfect weather to work outside, I had nobody. They are scheduled for next week, which is looking like it could be wet. There’s nothing I can do about it, so we get done what we get done, and muddle through.
As an alternative to contemplating a Trump presidency, I took a bold step and organized the garage. While it looks like a normal garage, it is actually the nerve center for the whole ranching operation. Somehow, over the course of the winter, stuff seems to come off the shelves and not get put back where it belongs. Wrenches used to make a repair on the snow blower were too covered in snow to go back in the drawer, so they landed on the workbench to dry. The battery in the truck is on life support, so the battery charger was always out, with cords tangled in everything. It’s a gradual shift, but the end result looks like an earthquake hit.
I bought more shelves. I went through the garage with a slash and burn approach and managed to throw about three things away. Maybe four, if you count the shovel and the broken handle that used to be attached to it as two pieces. It’s now possible to walk into the tool shed and actually reach all the shelves without standing on the lawnmower. You would think this new level of order and organization would bring a sense of efficiency and tranquility to the whole operation.
It’s not exactly ready for surgery, but it got swept out and hosed down. The amount of mud that gets tracked in on the tires from my dirt road always amazes me. It turns into something harder than concrete once it’s in the garage, even though it never seems to solidify on the road. But the place is as clean and tidy as it’s been in years. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Of course the only problem now is that I can’t find anything. Somehow, when it was all piled in a heap on the workbench, I knew exactly where to find the 12 inch Crescent wrench, and the tiny package of fuses for the automatic gate opener. I could go right to them. The other night, the toilet started leaking. It would have been easier to call a plumber than find the Channel Lock pliers hidden in all that order.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.