Former gubernatorial candidate and all-around smart guy Alan Caron once wrote in these pages that Maine has six distinct seasons, all of which are exactly two months long.

He was writing about July and August, high summer, which is easy to recognize when you are in the middle of it. But I’ve found that the other ones follow the same two-month rule, beginning and ending right on schedule.

One of them, September and October, probably my favorite, just ended.

Now we enter the next set, November and December, a season whose distinguishing feature is our abandonment by the sun.

Here are some things that are on my mind as the darkness takes over.


Now that Elizabeth Warren has delivered her plan to pay for Medicare for all, can we stop talking about it so much?

No president, no matter how popular, can pass a law on her own, especially not one that creates such a far-reaching entitlement program. Even if the Democrats keep the House, take the Senate and eliminate the filibuster, health care reform won’t pass as presented on the campaign trail.

In the end it will probably need the support of someone like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who says he might just vote for Trump next year if the Democratic nominee is too far to the left.

The finer points of health care financing should take a back seat to electing the kind of majority that could actually implement the idea.

That’s what the Democrats should be debating.


Tuesday is Election Day, which means it’s your opportunity to vote for a $105 million transportation bond.

If it sounds familiar, it is. This is the fifth year in a row where we have been given this privilege, and based on the state of our roads and bridges, it will be hard to say no.

But borrowing to keep up with routine repair work is not normally considered sound fiscal management. It’s been a long time since the highway budget was self-supporting, funded by the gas tax paid by users. The tax used to be indexed to inflation, but that ended in 2011, when Republicans took control of the state government.

And the funds get more scarce as vehicles become more efficient and more electric cars and trucks take to the road without using any gas or paying gas tax.

A commission is currently meeting to recommend changes to the way we pay for our roads. Until then, we will be asked to keep borrowing to feed our road habit,


There was some suspense in Washington this week, as a vote on the impeachment process rules came up in the House. Where would Maine’s 2nd District congressman Jared Golden come down?

There shouldn’t have been. This was not a vote to remove Donald Trump from office. It was not even a vote to approve articles of impeachment.

The House was just formalizing rules for an investigation into serious charges, for which we have already seen substantial evidence. Golden sensibly voted yes.

State Republicans pounced on him, declaring him to be the latest member of ultra-progressive House caucus known as“The Squad,” promising to use his vote against him in the next election.

Golden is in a tight spot politically. He narrowly won his seat in a district Trump won by 10 percentage points in 2016.

But as the parade of military and foreign services professionals testify about how the president and his personal lawyer tried to pressure a foreign government into interfering with the next election, Golden’s vote won’t look so risky.

If a political party is not willing to even look into charges like that, it can’t be taken seriously.


Portland has been using ranked-choice voting in its mayoral elections for eight years, but some people still don’t understand how it works.

“Bullet voting,” or marking just one name on your ballot, will not give your favorite candidate any advantage.

Expressing a second or third choice does not weaken your support for your No. 1, because your ballot will remain in your favorite’s column as long as he or she is still in the race.

Don’t overthink it, folks.

Do you care who wins if your candidate can’t? Then mark it down.

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