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Bill Sniffin

Bill Sniffin: COVID-19 Might Just Mean The 19 Pounds We’ve Each Gained The Past Ten Months

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Folks, it’s time to be hopeful. Both out here in Wyoming and across the world.

I am hopeful despite the fact that it is 2 degrees outside and our Lander Valley is covered in fresh snow. The nights are very long. Hardly a light streak in the sky as I type away at 6:03 a.m. Brrrr. We are deep in the heart of Wyoming Winter.

My late dad dreaded these long nights, but this time of year he would remind me that in a few weeks, the shortest day of the year would be here (Dec. 21) and then tell me: “Guess what? The days will be getting longer. Now that’s good news.”  I agree with him.

The big struggle at our house right now is my wife Nancy and I arguing about getting out all the Christmas decorations.  Because of COVID-19, we will not have any of our kids or grandkids inside our house – probably will do a “drive-by” or, if the weather is nice, do something outside.

Last month for Thanksgiving, our daughter Shelli Johnson and her husband cooked up everything and brought it over and we ate it on our deck under sunny skies with 40-degree temps.  Could we luck out on Christmas with similar weather?

At our ages, we are following the guidelines and trying to stay safe.

So normally at this time of year our grandkids haul all the different giant Santa Claus statues and big nutcrackers up from the basement to the main floor.  It’s a big job and one that I do not want to do myself.

I grew a big white beard during “no shave November” to recognize the battle against cancer but also because I am lazy.  But instead of saying” Ho-Ho-Ho,” it appears my wife thinks I am saying “Humbug” when it comes to getting out all the decorations.

“But I do it for me. It makes me feel good.  I want that Christmas feeling in the house, whether anyone else sees it or not,” she concludes.  Any guess how this is going to turn out?  Just hope I don’t fall down the stairs with a life-size nutcracker on my head.

Gaining weight during this pandemic has been a huge issue for most people. The explanation is that the “19” in COVID-19 really means the 19 pounds you have gained in the past 10 months. One of my brothers joked with me the other day that he is now eating ice cream right out of the box and using the scoop, rather than going to all the trouble of finding a spoon. Now that is giving in, bro!

Lately readers of this column have been chastising me for being gloomy. Really?

Yes, I worry about Wyoming’s economy. And there are hundreds of small business people in our state that are either gone or hanging by a thread. And they are going into the worst time of year economically.  We all need to try to figure out a way to shop local and to support our restaurants.

In the big picture, a great number of the state’s cities and towns seem to be pretty economically diversified. Let’s hope so.

After battling the ubiquitous scourge of the COVID-19 virus since March, folks are getting weary. But help is on the way. Vaccinations will be starting before Christmas and hopefully by spring, a lot of danger from the virus will be in our rear-view mirror. I sure hope so.

Looking ahead to 2021, it appears the Legislature may postpone its two-month general session from January to maybe March.  Not sure, but that might be a good idea. I know it sounds like we are giving in to the virus, but it would just be a one-time change.  With our crazy revenue picture, having an extra month or two to see how the year is coming along might be helpful.

State Sen. Hank Coe up in Cody just retired and is now sick with cancer. Keep him in your prayers. He is a great friend to all in Wyoming. Hang in there, Hank!

On a national level, President Donald Trump’s campaign has sure found some interesting examples of funny balloting.  The idea of truckloads of phony mail-in ballots being hauled around the country does not seem too far-fetched to me.  The total voting numbers are astonishing when you compare the Trump-Biden race to the Trump-Clinton race four years ago. Did almost 22 million more people really vote this time over 2016?

Meanwhile, where is that ice cream?  And that scoop?

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National Museum of Military Vehicles, One Of America’s Great Museums, Is Now Open Just South Of Dubois

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

DUBOIS – When it was first announced, the National Museum of Military Vehicles was viewed as one of Wyoming’s next great museums.  Now that it is open, it is obviously much more than that. It is one of America’s next great museums. 

 Boasting 140,000 square feet of space, the $100 million project had to postpone its official opening on Memorial Day because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.  Thus, it did a “soft” opening in August with more than 1,000 attending each of three days. 

 Founders Dan and Cynthia Starks have self-funded the project entirely on their own.

 They are passionate about how the United States won World War II.  During one of the rare tours that he presents, Dan starts off his tale by describing the state of the American military at the start of the war.

“We just lost most of our ships in Pearl Harbor,” he says. “Our Pacific army was in the Philippines.  Pretty soon, the Japanese bombed the heck out of them and forced them into surrender.  We lost 75,000 of our finest young men,” he said.

 “Across the other ocean in North Africa, we joined the British in an attempt to attack the German General Rommel.  He routed us.  He captured 183 American tanks and just destroyed our expeditionary force. We retreated over 50 miles to get away from the Germans, leaving all our equipment behind. It was a disaster.”

 But from that lowly beginning, Starks said, America figured out a game plan to defeat enemies at two fronts, the Germans in Europe and the Japanese in the Pacific. How they did it is described in great detail in his new museum. 

 Starks has huge murals detailing how America used its vast manufacturing capability to gradually provide enough tanks, trucks, airplanes, and other items to keep a 12-million-member Army supplied. Plus, the USA was supplying other countries like Russia, Britain, and Australia.  Examples of all this are on display.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Masks are required. Admission is $15 for adults and seniors. Youths 8 to 17 are $10. Kids 7 and under are free. All military veterans and active duty receive free admission. The museum is located eight miles south of Dubois on Highway 287/26. More information is at www. NMMV.org.

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Bill Sniffin: The Biden Bust Will Severely Damage Cowboy State

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

It’s been reported in this column before that often Wyoming’s economy reacts to the national economy much like a teeter-totter.  When Wyoming is booming, the country is struggling.  When the country is booming, Wyoming struggles. 

During the energy booms and busts of the last 50 years, this teeter-totter symbolism made sense. Today, I am not so sure. 

But I do know one thing for sure – elections count. Whoever is president really does make a difference for a state like Wyoming, whose economy is so dependent on a single feature like fossil fuel energy. 

Had Al Gore won the 2000 election, I am convinced that the subsequent boom that drove Wyoming would have been muted. Gore and Clinton-era Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt had fossil fuels in their sights heading into that presidential election two decades ago.  

Instead, we got George W. Bush for eight years with our own Dick Cheney at his side as Vice President.  With Bush from oil-rich Texas and Cheney from energy-rich Wyoming, the floodgates were opened for amazing energy development and massive job creation.  Wyoming never had a boom like that before and may never have another one again. 

The previous year in 1999, our state was so broke state leaders were seriously considering a personal income tax. From that, we saw ourselves salting away billions of severance tax dollars in various funds that have helped keep the state afloat these days and into the future. 

If Joe Biden gets sworn in as president we will finally see what that Gore-Babbitt model would have looked like. We will be living that reality here in Wyoming for the next four years, at least. 

The reason for that teeter-totter analogy is energy prices.  When they are high, Wyoming booms and the country suffers. When they are low, Wyoming suffers and the country prospers.  

Right now, energy prices are low and much of the country is faring well, despite the COVID-19 epidemic. The stock market just hit 30,000. Now that is amazing. 

But with Biden in there, will my teeter-totter theory hold up?  

He will kill energy development on public lands, which will diminish the Wyoming energy economy.  And when those jobs go away, they probably are not coming back. Could this mean the flight of 50,000 people from the state? 

I think our real estate market is attractive enough to urban folks fleeing the big cities, that we will see lots of lone eagles coming to Wyoming. These are folks who work from home. They can live anywhere they want. So fortunately, we will not have a housing slump. 

Whole neighborhoods will change.  Where today a house has dad, mom, three kids, and a dog in it. In the future it will probably have dad, mom, and a dog. 

Even here in Wyoming, I had a lot of friends who could not wait to get rid of President Donald Trump.  Well, they got their wish. This is much to the dismay of a whole bunch of hard-working Wyoming families.  These folks will put the Cowboy State in their rear-view mirrors as they leave the state seeking opportunities in other places. 

Some of these same friends also contend that it is time for Wyoming to wake up and realize that the days of fossil fuels are over and it’s time to embrace a new reality of renewable energy. 

I actually like wind energy and I don’t even mind windmills in most places on our high plateau country. But job creation?  Not sure what Joe Biden is talking about when he says he plans to create 50,000 “high paying union jobs” in the renewable energy sector. 

Wyoming is the windiest state.  In most places, the wind dies down when it is needed the most to create energy – in the afternoon. Here, it is often the opposite. We have high winds in the afternoon, which makes our wind energy potential among the best in the nation. 

The last big bust in Wyoming ran from 1982 to 2002 – 20 years. It ran so long that most of us began to think this is “normal.” You had to figure out how to survive and perhaps even prosper during lean times. 

Chuck Guschewsky, CEO of the Fremont Motors auto dealership network, told an economic group 20 years ago that “you learn how to run your business in the good times by how you ran it during the bad times.”  Pretty good advice. 

To many folks here, bad times are coming. Brace yourself, the Biden Bust is on Wyoming’s horizon. 

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Bill Sniffin: Thankful For Readers, Donors, Writers, And That COVID Is Almost Over!

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Just think, 2020 is almost over.  Now that is something to be thankful for.

This has been a year to remember. And to forget!

This year has been a long, strange journey. But better news is on the way. New vaccines are coming and in 90 days, most of this pandemic could hopefully be a memory soon. We will permanently put it in our rear-view mirror.  Now that is something for which to be thankful!

It is easy to be thankful for all the good work that has been done by health care workers and EMTs here in Wyoming and around the world. A lot of you have gotten sick and some have died. We are so thankful for your service at this time.

We need to be thankful to all those folks working in essential jobs from stocking shelves in supermarkets to keeping our plumbing unclogged. And everybody else, too.

Back in July, one of every 67 people in Wyoming who tested positive died. Today that number is one in every 125.  Now that is something to be thankful for.

We are thankful that the 2020 elections are apparently behind us. Talk about a long, strange journey.

Besides COVID-19 the other big story was the election. I am so thankful to have it behind us although the results were not pleasing to many Wyomingites.

As the state that saw one of the nation’s highest percentages of its votes go to President Donald Trump (70 percent), we are chagrined that the final tally does not appear to be going his way.  But how does someone get 73 million votes in this country and still lose? Amazing.

I want to thank all you subscribers for your loyalty.  At latest count, there were 10,056 of you and new ones are joining us at a rate of 1,000 per month.  We also have some readers who have not yet subscribed (it’s free) and we welcome them to our site, too.

Many folks do not know that we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so if you donate to Cowboy State Daily, not only are you helping us cover the news but you get a tax deduction for your donation. So, here is a big shout out to our donors who have helped sustain us in our 23-month life here in Wyoming.

I want to personally thank our Executive Editor Jimmy Orr, Editor Jim Angell, and reporter Ellen Fike for their dedication this year. They have done a wonderful job.  No other news team can match ours for Wyoming know-how and years of service to Wyoming.

A huge shout-out goes to Wyoming’s best weather forecaster Don Day.  We, literally, could not publish a daily newsletter without him. Occasional reporters Wendy Corr, Jen Kocher, Tim Monroe, Tim Mandese, Ike Fredregill, Laura Hancock, Cody Beers and many others also receive my appreciation for their work.

Our weekly columnists and occasional columnists have been terrific. They really give Cowboy State Daily that daily dose of insight that our readers just love.

I tip my hat to Dave Simpson, Jim Hicks, Jonathan Lange, Ray Hunkins, Doug Gerard, Rusty Rogers, Foster Friess, Frank Eathorne, Rod Miller, Matt Micheli, Tom Lubnau, Cody Tucker, Tom Jones, Ray Peterson, Darin Smith, Amy Surdam, Karl Brauneis, John Davis, John Waggener, and many, many more.

Thanks for Annaliese Wiederspahn for launching this site with financial help from Foster Friess.  And to our board Tucker Fagan, Haley Davis, and Kristin Walker.

But on personal note, this has been one of the most exciting years of my life, serving as publisher of the Cowboy State Daily. 

Who would have thought that after 56 years in the news business, that I would be able to help a news organization at this age and cover the biggest story of my life?  How cool is that!

But I have to admit that shortly after taking over the reins of this wonderful operation, I was greeted with the twin negative dynamos of the COVID-19 epidemic and the Wyoming economy going into free-fall.

It’s stunning to me that after taking those two hits last spring, Cowboy State Daily is not only still standing – but thanks to the help of all the people mentioned above – we are growing and thriving!  And thanks to our advertisers and to the entities that have given Cowboy State Daily grants in 2020.

And finally, I am thankful for my wonderful wife Nancy of 54 years and our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and all our friends. Happy Thanksgiving! 

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Bill Sniffin: COVID-19 Vaccine Is A Moon Shot! The Nation Should Celebrate

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

A vaccine in a little over 10 months for a deadly virus – amazing.

Everybody alive today should be celebrating this amazing achievement. It could be argued that not since the landing on the moon in 1969 has this country had a milestone quite like this. And in such a short period of time!  

If you consider that almost 250,000 people have died this year, alone, from the COVID-19, the race to get a vaccine developed has achieved what initially seemed an impossible goal.

President Donald Trump deserves credit for his Operation Warp Speed but so does everyone else involved.  He started this process on Jan. 13, some 10 months ago. The government approved billions of dollars in emergency funds to private drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna to get vaccines developed in record time – truly at warp speed. And Johnson and Johnson is reportedly almost ready with its vaccine, too.

As I write this, President-Elect Joe Biden is criticizing President Trump for not cooperating with members of the Biden team on how to distribute the vaccine.  My guess is that Trump’s folks don’t trust how Biden’s team could get the vaccine out.  After all, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is on the record as saying she will not use a vaccine developed by the Trump team. What an irresponsible thing to say.

Trump has always said he plans to use the military to handle the distribution and it appears there is a plan in place – it is just waiting for final FDA approval.  The assumption is that the vaccine will be given to health care workers on the front lines first and then, hopefully, to the most vulnerable senior citizens. I know a few of those folks.

But rather than cuss and discuss the political ramifications, let’s just bask in the glory of what this means.

I reached out to a bona fide expert on Pfizer and vaccines, Henry McKinnell of Jackson. He was CEO of Pfizer for many years. Here is what he said concerning the whole subject of vaccines:

“A few days after the 9/11 attacks, I met President George W. Bush on his first visit to New York following the attack.  He asked me how long it would take the industry to develop a vaccine against biological weapon?  I replied that under the then-current regulatory regime it would take 12 to 14 years.  He smiled and said, ‘I hear you.’  I then said the best case was four to five years primarily because such a vaccine would be given to healthy people including children and risk versus benefit had to be our highest priority.

“Against that background and the fact that over 80% of new vaccines and therapeutics fail in development, the preliminary look at the effectiveness of two novel vaccines in large scale clinical studies within ten months of the identification of the Sars-COV-2 virus is truly impressive and truly historic. 

“While the early efficacy signals are extremely positive, the hard parts lie ahead.  The first rule of medicine is ‘Do No Harm.’  Harm is defined as risks of adverse events exceeding benefits for the patient.  

“While the benefits of a vaccine to prevent Sars-COV-2 infections are indisputable, the risks attached to any vaccine are as yet unknown, except maybe to the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Boards of these studies. Hopefully, the new vaccines will be well-tolerated and as effective as the early looks at the data imply. 

“If not, hard decisions lie ahead.  Should we accept a vaccine with adverse events for one in 10,000 people?  Should we accept a vaccine with serious adverse events for one in a million people?  With 330 million people needing vaccination, these are not trivial questions.  Hopefully, the new vaccines will provide benefits exceeding risks for all.

“The final hurdle is not distribution as you hear from the media.  We have overcome more complicated logistics problems in the past.  The final hurdle is to be effective in halting the pandemic a vaccine needs to be safe, effective, and used by the vast majority of the population.  Vaccines don’t stop pandemics, vaccination programs do.  

“The news here is not good.  The ‘Anti-Vaxers’ are a threat to their own families and to us all.  A major communication challenge lies ahead. Hopefully, the enormous disruption to our lives brought on us all by this pandemic will convince us we need to fight this virus with all the tools available to us, not to fight each other.

“I will end with a very sincere thank you to those on the front lines of this fight,” he concluded.

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Bill Sniffin: Active Cases Went From 608 In August To 9,897 Today; Emotions Run High About Potential Covid-19 Restrictions

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

It looks like a whole lot of people in Wyoming are fired up about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths here in the Cowboy State.

As the weather turns cold and people huddle indoors, the chances of spreading COVID-19 increases.

Could today’s weather in Wyoming be any different than this summer?  We probably hosted 5 million tourists this summer yet our total numbers of COVID-19 remained super low.

In August, when the state was being over-run by tourists, we had 608 active cases.  Today we have 9,897 active cases.

Gov. Mark Gordon was about as emotional and angry as we have seen him during his press conference Nov. 13.  He referred to a portion of our state’s population as “knuckleheads” for not practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

Meanwhile in Casper, infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Dowell and various elected officials were hooted off the stage recently by angry citizens when the officials tried to emphasize the dangerous state of health that they felt the people of Wyoming are dealing with right now.  It was an ugly scene.

The anti-maskers feel statistics do not bear out the drastic measures being considered by Gordon and state officials.  They look to neighboring South Dakota and how Gov. Christi Noem has kept her state open. 

Noem’s detractors claim that South Dakota is now one of the worst states in the country for COVID-19, noting the state is sending patients to Wyoming hospitals.

Gordon and his staff have reached out to business organizations for their input on the situation.  Should he impose a mandatory mask mandate?  Should he impose the same health restrictions that forced restrictions on businesses seen last spring?  

My prediction is that members of these state groups will support a mask mandate but not a business shutdown.  I am writing this on Nov 15. By the time you are reading this, some of decisions may have happened.

Meanwhile, my friend Steve Mossbrook died in the Casper hospital one day after his 74th birthday from lung disease complicated by COVID-19.  Now that spooks me.  Steve was a slim and fit guy.  He was a terrific golfer.

He was one of Wyoming’s early Internet pioneers, creating Wyoming.com, and I had known him for 30 years.  He had been in the hospital for two weeks and kept going downhill.  He had been a lifelong smoker and in recent years had been vaping. His lungs were not healthy.  Still, the last time I chatted with him he was full of energy and anxious to launch some new programs. 

Another good friend is Glenn Arbery, 69, president of Wyoming Catholic College. He caught the COVID-19 and told me that for the past week, he has had occasional headaches, chills, and very low energy. But he is on the mend. He plans to get back to work next week.  His case, although not ideal, made me feel a little better.

Long-time Powell Tribune Publisher Dave Bonner, 80, tested positive a few weeks ago after attending a University of Wyoming football game. “I have completed my public health COVID-19 quarantine and am just easing back into circulation,” he says. He says he has not smoked since college and that may have contributed to his good result.

During the recent presidential campaign, it seemed like Joe Biden followers all wore masks and stayed out of harm’s way.  Donald Trump backers wore baseball hats, no masks, and lived a normal life.

On a national level, the whole idea of mail-in ballots totally reflects the Biden-mask ethic while the walk-in voters on election day reflected the Trump ideal.  It truly was a visible image of a classic division in our country.

Here in Trump Country, where Wyoming voted 70 percent for the incumbent (more than any other state), you can understand why there could be so much resistance to mask wearing and a mask mandate.

So, what to do? 

Gordon is going to make a decision and it will be a doozy, either way.  If he imposes a mask mandate, who will enforce it?  If he doesn’t, has he shirked his responsibility to keep Wyoming folks safe? 

Meanwhile on Sunday morning’s Meet the Press show, Biden’s new chief of staff indicated that a four- to six-week national shutdown may be on the table as soon as Biden is sworn in.  That, plus a national mask mandate.  These folks are serious.  A whole bunch of folks out here in Wyoming will rebel. It won’t be pretty.

These are difficult times for Wyoming when it comes to COVID-19. Be safe and be careful out there.

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Bill Sniffin: COVID Victim Steve Mossbrook Was A True Wyoming Internet Pioneer

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One of the first true internet pioneers in Wyoming was Steve Mossbrook, 74, founder and owner of Wyoming.Com in Riverton. He died Nov. 5 of lung disease and COVID-19.

Steve and I were friends for 30 years.  He was the guy who acquired the rights to the name “Wyoming.Com,” when nobody else was smart enough to snatch it.  A great many people in the state used @wyoming.com for their email addresses initially until other competitors moved into the state.

He built a nice sized company and diversified into other product lines besides just the internet business. He had pretty much retired and he and his wife Sandi spent their winters in California where they golfed and played croquet. Steve was excellent in both sports. He returned to Wyoming.Com full-time in July and was excited about some new directions for the company. 

I always liked Steve although he could be sarcastic. He could tease with the skill of a professional. When I saw him this summer he looked in wonderful health. 

The state has lost a true visionary with his passing. He died a day after his 74th birthday.

Here is his obituary information

Steven Alan Mossbrook was born November 4, 1946 in Rochester, New York. He died November 5, 2020 in Casper of lung disease complicated by COVID.

Steve was the second of five children born to Polly and Bill Mossbrook. He grew up in a rural setting near Lake Ontario. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating with a BA in Economics. Several years later, he earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Georgia State University.

He considered himself an entrepreneur, working in diverse areas such as selling copiers and commercial real estate, plastic bag manufacturing, cabinetmaking, and providing technology. Steve was proud of two abilities: he could sell, and he could count. He always said he was better at starting companies than running them, but in the past 25 years he pioneered and created successful growth at Wyoming.Com, Cerento, and Contact Communications, all technology companies in Riverton Wyoming.

Little round white balls held great fascination for Steve. He was competitive in many sports, especially soccer, volleyball, pool, croquet, and golf. He was very proud of being a ‘single digit handicap’ golfer, as well as a tournament level croquet player. In addition to playing the sports well, he also contributed by coaching, being an officer in the organizations, and organizing tournaments.

Steve enjoyed some finer things in life that fed his adventure-seeking side. He owned and piloted a single engine plane, owned a fast boat for water-skiing and camping, and had a lifelong love of fast luxury cars. He was comfortable with being in control and also with taking a risk. Steve was an enthusiastic, outspoken, occasionally outrageous person. He was always a presence. He was one of a kind. He was one of the good guys.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years Sandra; daughter Alexa Nowland (Eric) and four grandchildren (Lilly, Stasia, Sophie, and Oliver), all of Riverton, Wyoming; sisters Kathryn (New York) and Barbara (Florida); and brothers David (Kentucky) and Douglas (New York).

Due to COVID and traveling difficulties, no services will be held at this time. Instead, several smaller celebrations with friends and family in various parts of the country will take place as the year goes on, including a golf gathering next summer in Riverton.

Bill Sniffin: Where does Wyoming fit in a President Joe Biden world?

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher CowboyStateDaily.com

As residents of the most Republican Donald Trump-loving state in the country, many Wyoming folks are reeling in the face of the apparent election of their arch-nemesis Democrat Joe Biden.

As I write this on Nov. 8, Biden has been declared president by the AP and all the major news media, including Fox News.

What are some of the realities connected with that result?  Here are some thoughts:

First, nothing is going to happen until Jan. 20 when Biden takes the oath of office. It will be interesting how President Trump deals with issues between now and inauguration day.

Second, January will be a huge month for politics.  Both Georgia Senate races will go to a special runoff during that month. It will be a donnybrook, as control of the Senate will depend on the results.

Third, since the presidency is now in the hands of the Democrats, the key to a return to some kind of normalcy will be if the Republicans continue to control the Senate. But the GOP has to win at least one of those Georgia seats.

Fourth, the reality is that in the big picture Wyoming is going to be hit hard by energy programs proposed by the new administration, especially when it comes to fossil fuels.

Fifth, Wyoming will have continued clout in Congress, but only on the Republican side.  The GOP needs control of the Senate to be able to use that clout.

And finally, sixth, some smart GOP operatives think Trump should come up with a plan right now to give a path to citizenship to a whole bunch of Hispanics. One of the big surprises of the 2020 election was how many Hispanics voted for Trump. This could bode well for the GOP going forward on a national level.

A look at who Biden picks as his Cabinet members will speak volumes about how his administration would treat Wyoming’s fossil fuels.  Will he pick a Green New Dealer to head up Interior and other sensitive posts? So far, he is emphasizing moderation and cooperation.

Biden backed off during the waning days of the campaign on his original vow to end oilfield fracking.  Ultimately, he clarified that he meant fracking “on federal land,” which affects Wyoming greatly. Most of the fracking in eastern states is on private land.

Hard-core Democrats have to ask the question:  Why did so many of the big-money Wall Street bankers back Biden?  Will money continue to rule this country?  Can Democrat idealism survive this big-money influence?

Let’s talk about the national news media. It was shameful how one-sided their coverage has been for four years against Trump. Can we expect to see a fair media again or will it continue to be the public relations arm for the Democrat Party?

Exit polling showed the two biggest issues in the presidential election were President Trump himself and the COVID-19 epidemic.  Millions of voters were weary of the drama. 

When it came to symbolism, the biggest identifiers of the two parties were a MAGA hat for Republicans and a face mask for Democrats.

Back here in Wyoming, the election saw an amazing transition finally occur in Sweetwater County.  Long considered a Democrat bastion, pundit Island Richards in Rock Springs pointed out that his county voted 70 percent Republican.  This sounds more like Park County than Sweetwater, frankly.

Two popular and effective Democrat legislators were dislodged when Lisa Anselmi-Dalton lost her Senate seat and Stan Blake lost his House seat. Both of these results were considered upsets by outsiders looking in at the Sweetwater County elections. But as Richards points out, to folks living there, the trend lines showed way more GOP voters, which helped explain those results.

Both Wyoming statewide candidates received national support but not to the same extent.  It appeared that Senate candidate Merav Ben-David got 10 times as much national financial assistance as House candidate Lynnette Grey Bull. 

Yet all that extra money made no difference. Grey Bull got 24.6 percent of the votes among four candidates for U. S. House.  Ben-David got 26.7 percent of the vote among just two Senate candidates.  Those races were runaway victories for Senate by former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis and for House by current U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

In an earlier column, I mentioned how often we were getting phoned by Ben-David’s campaign. I erred in referring to someone as speaking in a “non-Wyoming” sounding voice.  Four people complained loudly to me that I was not sensitive enough.  I agree. But I am learning. Please be patient with me as I navigate the current world we live in.

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Wyoming 2020 General Election Campaigns Were Exciting — Here Are Some of The Most Interesting Results

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Millions of dollars later, the results of Tuesday’s general election in Wyoming ended up being pretty darned predictable. 

After Nov. 3, two-thirds of the state’s national delegation will be female, which is truly a wonderful testament to a place called The Equality State. 

Also, some legislative races were hard-fought with lots of money spent and lots of nastiness on display. 

But the big races were predictable: 

Cynthia Lummis became the first woman senator in the state’s history, as she earned the right to take on U. S. Sen. Mike Enzi’s seat with an easy win over Merav Ben-David. 

Unofficial results had Republican Lummis defeating Ben-David by 176,102 to 67,387.  The Ben-David campaign spent unusual amounts of money as the national Democrat Party and its various supporters spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to knock off Lummis. 

Incumbent U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney easily defeated Lynnette Grey Bull, 240,547 to 61,552, according to unofficial results. 

Looking ahead to the next legislative session, there appears to be a trend toward “no new taxes.”  Yet, in the face of that trend, the voters in Fremont County have twice voted to tax themselves over the last 90 days.

In August, Fremont County voters narrowly voted to add a half cent tax for economic development. 

Tuesday, those same county voters voted to continue a one cent tax that is used to repair local roads.  Perhaps this trend shows that Wyoming people, while being opposed to statewide income taxes and other taxes like that, might be willing to tax themselves on a local basis where the money is going for local projects. 

Some local legislative races drew statewide attention:

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne easily turned back what was anticipated to be a strong challenge from Democrat Britney Wallesch, 6,707 to 3,702 during Tuesday’s general election in Wyoming.

Bouchard is the founder of the Wyoming Gun Owners organization which campaigned aggressively for him.  He won a difficult Republican primary race back in August and it was anticipated that this would be a close race, too.  

Some observers had thought a large contingent of Cheyenne Democrats could have propelled Wallesch to an upset win. But that did not happen. Bouchard also polled well in part of Goshen County that is included in his Senate District 6. 

In Riverton, Republican Ember Oakley squeaked to a 30-vote victory over Libertarian Bethany Baldes Tuesday in a highly-anticipated election for House District 55.

Oakley, a former deputy prosecutor, had been aggressively attacked by the Wyoming Gun Owners organization, but still managed to squeeze out the win. 

The seat had been held for 19 years by Dave Miller of Riverton, who decided to retire.  He had narrowed defeated Baldes two years ago. And in a surprise, Miller endorsed Baldes in this race. 

During the August primary, WYGO was successful in just about every race where they championed one candidate over another.  But this time their efforts in Riverton fell short by a whisker.  

Unofficial vote totals showed Wyoming going strong for President Donald Trump with 181,257 votes. Joe Biden got 69,623.  Two lesser candidates got 5,414 and 2,090. 

As this story was being written, the national result of the presidential election was still unknown.  It could be days before a final call will be made.  Some observers feel it might take months.  Hold on to your hats. 

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Who is The Smartest Election Winner Picker in Wyoming?

in Bill Sniffin/Column/politics
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By Bill Sniffin, publisher Cowboy State Daily

When it comes to picking Wyoming election winners, I think I have a pretty good track record. But there are there are others who are uncanny with their abilities. Steve Peck of the Riverton Ranger comes to mind.

Thus, we are launching Cowboy State Daily’s 2020 election contest. Let’s see who really knows Wyoming and knows how to pick winners.

Besides bragging rights, I will send the winner one of my coffee table books.

The contest is simple. We have six races plus a tie breaker.

Election quiz for 2020: Please mark winners

National race
Donald Trump (R) _____
Joe Biden (D) ______

U.S. Senate (WY)
Cynthia Lummis (R) _____
Merav Ben-David (D) _____

U. S. House (WY)
Liz Cheney (R) _______
Lynnette Grey Bull (D)______

Cheyenne Senate District 6
Anthony Bouchard (R) ______
Britney Wallesch (D _______

Riverton House District 55
Ember Oakley (R) _______
Bethany Baldes (L) _______

Laramie House District 45
Roxie Hensley (R) ______
Karlee Provenza (D) _______

Tie breaker: How many votes will be unofficially cast for president in Wyoming in 2020: _________. (In 2016, the total was 248,945)

Note: If Trump-Biden goes to court, we will not count that presidential result as we want to know right away who wins this contest.

My name: __________________
My email address: ____________

Please fill this in and email it before noon on Tuesday, Nov 3, 2020.
Email: poll@cowboystatedaily.com

Feel free to add comments:

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