Trump campaign follies, Miss Universe, and plastic bags; oh, my

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

We offer our take on the plastic bag referendum and initiative. Hint: It’s a cynical ploy by the bagmen. We also opine about The Bee’s excellent Sunday story on the groundwater grab, and shake our collective heads about the state of the presidential campaign. It just keeps getting worse. And check out the passionate editorial about senseless motorcycle deaths from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Take the heat

Grass Roots North Carolina, which lobbies the North Carolina Legislature on gun issues, is raising money by auctioning off an AR-15, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a photo of Hillary Clinton.

“We won’t tell you what to do with the photo, but when we ran a picture of Hillary on the front of our newsletter, we heard it was very popular at the range,” the ad says.

In whose world is a call to shoot a photo of the Democratic presidential nominee amusing? At what point does such a notion worm its way into the twisted mind of some already unstable individual with a gun?

Take a number: 7 percent

A new Monmouth University poll says 7 percent of respondents lost friends directly due to the 2016 presidential race. That includes 9 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters and 6 percent of Donald Trump backers. We’re surprised it’s not higher, given the vitriol out there. McClatchy’s D.C. bureau reports the number is similar to past elections. In the poll, 70 percent of voters also said this election has brought out the worst in people. (See above.)

Our take

Endorsement: Californians must pay attention and quash plastic-bag makers’ cynical effort. Here’s the short cut: Vote “no” on Proposition 65 and “yes” on Proposition 67. Got it? “No” on the first plastic bag measure, then “yes” on the second one.

Editorial: Stop the groundwater grab. No one can be given a pass as drought and climate change constrict California’s water supplies.

Bill Whalen: Fighting climate change is crucial, but so is pension reform.

Philippe Cousteau: Don’t gut rules that have restored Pacific fisheries.

Their take

Modesto Bee: Walt Ward, Stanislaus County’s groundwater expert, finally unmasked “the 800-pound gorilla,” noting the amount of water demanded from the San Joaquin River tributaries is roughly equal to the water Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed twin tunnels will remove from the Delta. Coincidence?

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The death of one young person during a motorcycle race at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds is a tragedy. The death of two in separate incidents on the same day – amid growing concerns about track conditions – is an outrage, one that demands investigation on many levels.

L.A. Daily News: Consumers are cutting the cord with cable companies in favor of video streaming services with increasing regularity. But in Pasadena, and perhaps many other cities, they still will not be able to avoid the tax man.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Mars, humanity and Elon Musk: Why can’t we boldly go?

Syndicates take

Charles Krauthammer: Less than six weeks from the election, what is the main event of the day? A fight between the GOP presidential nominee and a former Miss Universe.

Eugene Robinson: It is hopelessly retro, but perhaps unsurprising, that womanhood has become a prominent issue in the presidential race.

Michael Gerson: How the Bard might view 2016 election.

Eric Zorn: What Gary Johnson really stands for.

Jonathan Bernstein: Hillary Clinton would be wise to rebuke Howard Dean.

Dana Milbank: The Greatest Generation’s rebuke of Donald Trump.

Nicholas Kristof: That seventh-grade bully is running for president.

Gail Collins: Who’s really older, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

Trump Follies

One would think Donald Trump, as desperate as he is to convince women to vote for him, would stop fat-shaming Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe winner who was thrust back into the spotlight during Monday’s presidential debate. But he hasn’t – and now his surrogate Newt Gingrich is piling on, too.

“You’re not supposed to gain 60 pounds during the year that you’re Miss Universe. Not fair,” the former House speaker, who’s not exactly skinny, told Log Cabin Republicans. “Even my act of saying that is sexist and proves I’m not being sensitive.” Yep.

And a word of advice: If the Trump campaign is looking to pick up more women voters, this isn’t the way to do it. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith