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Lewinsky
Associated Press
Rogers

Voters united in primary disinterest

Looking for the biggest loser in Tuesday primary election contests?

Hands down, it’s political participation. In Allen County, only 12 percent of registered voters bothered to go to the polls on a perfect spring day. In Whitley County, turnout was somewhat better, at 19 percent. Noble County saw just 17 percent turnout, in spite of a hotly contested GOP prosecutor contest.

Indiana’s primary election system inevitably plays a role. Some voters simply don’t want to declare a party preference. The effect is that highly motivated groups (think tea party) enjoy disproportionate influence in a primary election.

Alternatives to separate partisan primaries have their own flaws. California adopted a “top two” primary system for statewide races, in effect for the first time in 2012. Political strategists say the system, which places all candidates on a single ballot regardless of party affiliation, increases spending. In districts where one party dominates, however, it allows a strong candidate to finish second and get a second chance in November.

On site with Bundy

Cliven Bundy (above), the Nevada rancher at war with the U.S. government, has picked up a number of supporters; one is a northern Indiana sheriff.

Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers traveled to Nevada last month to visit Bundy. He stood – in uniform – at Bundy’s side shortly after the rancher delivered a racist rant in which he suggested African-Americans might be better off as slaves.

Rogers told the Elkhart Truth that he traveled to Bunkerville, Nevada, at his own expense to encourage the local sheriff to get involved in the conflict and to mediate a solution.

“Even if it turns out that Bundy is a racist or a weirdo, why would we not want to support a peaceful resolution to the Bundy Ranch situation?” Rogers told the newspaper in an email after his visit came to light. “We are supposedly a community of peace-loving people in Elkhart County. Where are the peacemakers?”

Video from the event shows Bundy calling Rogers forward and shaking his hand about 15 minutes after the rancher delivered the objectionable comments.

The Goshen News, in an editorial critical of Rogers, noted that the sheriff has his own history of challenging the federal government. In 2011, he threatened to arrest Food and Drug Administration officials if they inspected a dairy farm without a warrant or the farmer’s consent. The Middlebury dairy operation was distributing raw milk. In 2013, Rogers told a political rally that he would not enforce proposed gun-control legislation in Elkhart County because he believed it violated the Second Amendment.

Rogers is currently seeking re-election. He was unopposed in this week’s Republican primary.

Online bullies find a new foe in Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky is 40 years old now. It’s been 17 years since the end of her sexual encounters with President Bill Clinton in the White House. She’s never said much publicly about the affair, and she’s spent the past decade in media silence. But now Lewinsky has decided to speak out, writing and posing for a photo for the June issue of Vanity Fair.

Her decision to go public again, she writes, stemmed from her reaction to a freshman at Rutgers University committing suicide in 2010 after video of him kissing another man was streamed on the Internet. The tragedy reminded Lewinsky and her mother of the times when her mother sat by her bed night after night as the scandal unfolded for fear Lewinsky would attempt suicide.

Lewinsky writes that she has realized that “thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet,” and says her current goal “is to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”

Though she insists that her relationship with Clinton was consensual, Lewinsky clearly harbors some resentment toward Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was reported to have called Lewinsky “a narcissistic loony toon.”

Though she remained quiet during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, she says she may not if Mrs. Clinton runs again in 2016. Lewinsky writes that she is done with “tiptoeing around my past – and other people’s futures.”

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