Informed, motivated voters should be the goal. Plus: Trump at CPAC. And happy news on 'Frasier'

By Gary Abernathy

Big turnout is not necessarily a sign of great elections

Democrats in Congress are pushing something they call the “For the People Act,” which would basically federalize election laws and remake them to the point that people almost couldn’t avoid voting if they wanted to. This Heritage Foundation piece offers an examination of the bill. You can find other sources that give it a more favorable review.

A fallacy that we tend to embrace, when we don’t think too hard about it, is that a sign of a successful election is maximum participation. Making voting convenient for people who want to vote is a desirable goal. The key phrase there is “for people who want to vote.” Not everybody wants to vote, believe it or not. They don’t believe their vote matters, or they have no faith in any elected leaders, or in some cases they have philosophical or religious reasons not to vote. A lot of people simply don’t care.

Our country is best served when the only people who participate in elections are informed and motivated. Instead, we devise ways to almost force, shame or annoy people into voting. When that happens, millions of uninformed people vote who have little interest in who or what is on the ballot, leading to unfortunate results.

I would rather have a 30 percent turnout made up of voters who are well-informed than an 80 percent turnout made up mostly of people who voted because they received 10 phone calls or 20 pieces of mail or endless emails or texts irritating them to the point that they finally broke down and voted. Yes, an 80 percent turnout made up entirely of informed and motivated voters would be ideal. So would world peace. Neither one will ever happen.

When we loosen restrictions on voting to the point that there is almost no effort needed to register or provide identification or figure out where and when to vote – when everything is just placed in everyone’s lap – that’s when fraud and rigged elections really will flourish.

Did anyone at CPAC challenge Trump on his actions?

From my latest Washington Post column, asking some questions of the Conservative Political Action Conference about former President Donald Trump’s appearance on Sunday.

On Sunday, Trump ran through his greatest hits, and I agreed with his list. Great pre-pandemic economy? Check. Stronger borders? Check. Energy independence? Check. A vaccine delivered in record time? Check. When Trump delivered his proposals for election reform, I nodded along with each item, from returning to one national election day with limited absentee voting to stronger voter-ID requirements. Perhaps, as Trump was exiting the venue, someone at CPAC might have suggested one other reform: “Don’t pressure state election officials to somehow find the exact number of votes you need to win.” Anyone?...

…There was some evidence of cooler heads emerging even at CPAC. Trump won a presidential straw poll, but with just 55 percent. That’s not an unbeatable number this early in a presidential cycle, and Trump surely knows that. In second place — and first place in a poll that didn’t include Trump — was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem. A DeSantis-Noem ticket — my preference would be Noem-DeSantis — is a natural fit for Trumpism without Trump once the Republican Party recovers from its hangover.

Read the entire column here. (Subscription may be required.)

Happy news that ‘Frasier’ is coming back

Great news that the classic sitcom “Frasier” will be making a return with new episodes on the Paramount Plus streaming service.

According to Variety, series star Kelsey Grammer said, “Having spent over 20 years of my creative life on the Paramount lot, both producing shows and performing in several, I’d like to congratulate Paramount+ on its entry into the streaming world. I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane.”

Reports indicate the series will be set in a location other than Seattle, where the original “Frasier” took place. Of course, the character first surfaced on the old “Cheers” sitcom.

“Frasier” is one of the best TV shows of all time. Lora and I never tire of watching the reruns, no matter how many times we’ve seen them.

John Mahoney, who played Frasier and Niles’ father, Martin Crane, passed away in 2018. Reports seem to conflict on whether the rest of the surviving cast will be part of the reboot.

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