Author and Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Tim Egan used the argument of Republican Jon Huntsman to show how his party had moved out of the mainstream of American thought leading up to its defeat in November.
Huntsman, the former Utah governor and Ambassador to China, was the only Republican presidential candidate to acknowledge that rapid climate change was caused by the burning of fossil fuels. He of course lost badly.
During his campaign Huntsman used the analogy of doctors to make the case we should accept the scientific consensus on climate change.
Egan said GOP pundits’ unwillingness to accept math nerd Nate Silver’s data-based projections of the election was connected to the rejection of science in everything from rape and birth control to climate change.
“We are an enlightened people going back to Jefferson,” Egan said. “If you abandon science and reason, you lose.”
Idaho also is not the most Republican state in the union when it comes to the presidential vote. Fewer voters in both Wyoming and Utah voted for President Barack Obama than in Idaho, with 28 and 25 percent of the vote respectively. Idaho was slightly ahead of Oklahoma at 33 percent, Egan said.
Egan predicted Obama and Congress will avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” because “both sides have a lot to lose.” He predicted when health exchanges are implemented and people have real choice in health care support for Obamacare will rise.
“You won’t have to stay in a crappy job just because of their health care,” Egan said.
Legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington got support not just because people want access to the popular drug. Voters were against incarcerating people for its use, including in Washington law enforcement leaders.
“Western libertarianism lives,” Egan said.
Voters in Butte, Montana approved a measure saying corporations are not people and that their representatives should push for a constitutional amendment saying as much, Egan said.
Egan is a columnist for the New York Times who grew up in Spokane and now lives in Seattle. He is author of the national book award winner The Worst Hard Time, about the Dust Bowl and The Big Burn about the 1910 fires in Idaho and Montana.
His new book, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher is about the renowned photographer of American Indians, Edward Curtis.