McClintock embraces a tax; Trump hits a demagogic new low

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 Folsom City Council race, and join other editorial boards in decrying Donald Trump’s demagogic claim that the election is rigged. Vogue weighs in on the presidential race, while Sacramento consultant Wayne C. Johnson brought to our attention a recent op-ed by R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, that explains the conflict among evangelicals over Trump. As Jesus asked: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Excellent question.

Take that

Ever true to his word, sometimes, Rep. Tom McClintock, the Elk Grove Republican who represents the Sierra, offered his endorsements on California’s initiatives. Opposing the tobacco tax, Proposition 56, he argues that “excessive taxation increases the incentives for black markets, and ultimately produces tragedies like the killing of Eric Garner in 2014, who was choked to death by New York City cops for the heinous crime of selling cigarettes to folks who couldn’t afford the tax.”

That stand is in keeping with McClintock’s anti-tax zealotry.

But then McClintock endorses Proposition 64, the Gavin Newsom-Sean Parker initiative to legalize, commercialize and tax recreational and medical marijuana. With a 15 percent marijuana tax, plus sales taxes, production taxes and whatever other local taxes are imposed, Proposition 64 could generate $1 billion in tax revenue.

McClintock’s weed endorsement doesn’t mention tax, black markets or tragedies: “Legalization takes the criminal profit out of the equation, and allows us to regulate marijuana the same way we currently regulate alcohol. This should make it more difficult for minors to obtain marijuana; it should remove illegal cultivation from our neighborhoods and forests and move it to normal agricultural operations; and it should replace the criminal gangs that traffic marijuana with law-abiding farmers and shopkeepers.”

Not to mention making the streets safe for the Eric Garners of the world.

Takes from the Jones-Bera debate

Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, trying to unseat Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, scored points by attacking Bera over his support for the Iran nuclear deal. Bera scored by attacking Jones over the sexual harassment lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department. But they also discussed Obamacare, drug prices, marijuana legalization, death penalty, student debt, immigration policy and more. One take-way: Voters who watched were informed. Another take-away: The Bee’s Dan Smith, CapRadio Bob Moffitt, and Folsom City College's Zainub Tayeb asked pointed questions, and McClatchy’s Jason Shoultz has a future. A third take-away: It was more civil and substantive than the Clinton-Trump debate will be tonight.

Our take

Editorial: If more Republican leaders don’t speak up to denounce Donald Trump’s rhetoric about rigged elections, the unthinkable may be more possible – bloodshed at the polls that would tragically end our nation’s tradition of peaceful transfer of power.

Endorsement: None of the three challengers seeking Folsom City Council seats represents a significant improvement over the incumbents. Jeff Starsky and Ernie Sheldon are the safe bets.

Sacramento County educators Jamee Gardner and Laura Shirley, and taxpayer advocate Jon Coupal offer differing views of Proposition 55, which would extend some of the temporary tax increases in Proposition 30, passed in 2012.

Gardner and Shirley: Prop. 55 will protect schools from painful budget cuts.

Coupal: Prop. 55 is another money grab by special interests.

Their take

San Luis Obispo Tribune: To replace Republican Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, The Tribune endorses Democrat Dawn Ortiz-Legg over Republican Jordan Cunningham. Speaker Anthony Rendon would all but sew up a two-thirds majority in the lower house with a pick-up in Assembly District 35.

L.A. Times: Talk of a rigged election is dangerous demagoguery, even for Donald Trump.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Republican nominee Donald Trump’s unhinged behavior will go down in American history as among the most wide-ranging assaults on fundamentals of democracy and civility this nation has seen from a leading politician. The closest parallel may be Joe McCarthy.

Idaho Statesman: No state is more reliably Republican than Idaho. But in an extraordinarily detailed endorsement, Idaho’s leading newspaper says: “We live in the real world, with real problems that need real solutions. We need someone with pragmatic approaches that include patience and compassion. We need Hillary Clinton to be the next president.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., Washington Post: Like all voters, American Christians will enter the voting booth and, we hope, vote as led by their consciences. But leaders are held to a much higher standard, and continued public arguments that offer cover for Donald Trump are now not only implausible but excruciating. Our own Erika D. Smith raised the issue last week.

Vogue: Founded in 1892, the year Grover Cleveland was elected president, the fashion magazine endorses for the first time: Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. (Chic photo, too.)

Syndicates’ take

Kathleen Parker: Trump could still win with disgusted voters.

Ruben Navarrette: We’re all victims now.

Jennifer Rubin: Is Melania Trump devilishly clever – or totally out to lunch?

Dana Milbank: The Donald Trump monster devours the GOP.

David Brooks: What we need next.


Of course Donald Trump is calling for a drug test before Wednesday’s debate. The first two debates proved that he’s not using performance-enhancing drugs. – John Cary Sims, Sacramento

And finally,

“In short, Defendant betrayed his oath to the California public for private jets, Mastro’s steaks, and photo opportunities at posh Las Vegas parties with celebrities.” – Assistant U.S. Atty. Mack E. Jenkins, urging that Judge Christina A. Snyder sentence former state Sen. Ron Calderon to five years in prison on Friday.