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Phil Harriman, a former town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth, is the founding partner of Lebel & Harriman, a financial services firm. Ethan Strimling, a former mayor and state senator from Portland, is the president of Swing Hard. Turn Left, which promotes progressive policy at the local, state and national levels.
Phil: Here we go again. Voters have endured another information onslaught through every possible portal, thanks to millions in out-of-state money. When will it end?
Ethan: It will end when the Supreme Court reverses itself and declares that corporations are not people and money is not speech.
Phil: The prime example this election cycle is the transmission line corridor, which has now set a record for total spending on a referendum.
Ethan: What’s your prediction on how this one turns out?
Phil: I think the people see through the misinformation and the “no” side prevails, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Ethan: I think the people see through the misinformation and the “yes” side prevails, 53 percent to 47 percent.
Phil: Regardless of which one of us is right, I think we both predict plenty more litigation before this issue is resolved.
Ethan: No doubt. Meanwhile there are two other statewide questions for us to predict including a constitutional amendment to declare that all individuals have a right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing. Your prediction?
Phil: I predict a resounding victory for the “yes” side, 60 percent to 40 percent, and I will be one of them.
Ethan: I didn’t see that coming, but I agree with your nearly 2-1 victory prediction. Most Mainers support people having the right to buy local food, which is why I think it will win so easily.
Phil: And most Mainer’s don’t want the government dictating what type of food they can eat, which is why I think “yes” will win. And how about the $100 million bond question? I can’t imagine you’ll be voting “no,” nor can I imagine Mainers voting this down.
Ethan: Correct on both counts. It is a steep price tag, but our roads and bridges are in desperate need. Every Mainer knows that, and hence 70 percent will vote yes. That said, why do some Republicans support borrowing millions to keep our physical infrastructure up to date, yet oppose the same to provide health care, shelter, food, and family leave?
Phil: The distinction is that when the construction crew is finished, they leave everyone with a public benefit that grows our economy. Your programs create dependency. I also predict a resounding victory, but I see it more like 60/40.
Ethan: OK, let’s do a few local predictions. Rockland is voting on whether to increase the pay of their elected officials from $800 a year to $4,000. I am all in favor, but I think it will lose.
Phil: Public service is not a money-making exercise, nor should it be. I hope this one loses, but I think in liberal Rockland, it will pass. In your fair city, there is an initiative to block the closure of your downtown shelter and build a new 200-bed facility on the edge of town. What’s your prediction?
Ethan: As you know, there are three options. A to stop the moving of our shelter to the outskirts. B to allow the shelter, with limitations. And C to allow the plan as is. My prediction is that A wins easily with 55 percent. B gets 15 percent and C gets 30 percent.
Phil: I think A wins as well, but I don’t think they get over 50 percent. I also think moderate Democrats push back the tide and take two of the three open City Council seats, with John Hinck and Brendan Mazer winning.
Ethan: Nope. At the end of the night, progressives take at least two of three, and we finally take the majority!
Phil: However it all plays out, here’s hoping everyone votes!