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    Hank Plante: A Veteran Reporter’s Eye on Election 2020

    By Liam P. Mayclem–

    “I came out of the sixties generation that wanted to change the world,” says multiple Emmy Award winner Hank Plante, who kicked off his storied career at The Washington Post and went on to observe and report on the people who changed the world. From Presidents Nixon to Obama, Hank was there asking the rough questions in an impressive 40-plus year career. He is still reporting in retirement, writing for newspapers and magazines and broadcasting for NBC-Palm Springs.

    For 25 years, Hank worked as an anchor and political reporter at KPIX-TV Bay Area. He was one of the first openly gay TV reporters in America. We worked together on a few occasions at KPIX, and most notably and joyfully on the live broadcast of the 2018 SF Pride Parade.

    Hank spoke with me for the San Francisco Bay Times a few days before the November 3 elections from his Palm Springs home where he lives with his husband, or “hubby” as Hank refers to him, acclaimed artist Roger Groth.

    Liam Mayclem: What would another four years of the Trump administration have been like?

    Hank Plante: I think if Trump (had been) reelected, it (would have been) the end of America—not just for LGBTQ people but also for all of us, because the message it would send is that we are okay with chaos. And we’re okay with not legitimately electing a president with the popular vote. Gay people would suffer along with everyone else. And I think that we would see rollbacks at the level of the Supreme Court on gay rights, on abortion rights, and any other personal freedoms.

    Liam Mayclem: With Biden and Harris becoming the new occupiers of the White House, what do the next four years look like?

    Hank Plante: Biden and Harris know that we need structural changes in our government. Our government is not working. We’ve now had two illegitimate presidents pick six of the current Supreme Court Justices. We cannot have leadership that’s determined by the minority. Right now, the minority in this country is making all the decisions. There are more Democratic votes in America always when you total it up. They have to get rid of the Electoral College. We’ve now had two presidents since Al Gore who were not chosen by the voters. Biden-Harris know that they have to make structural changes. If they take the Senate, they can begin that process. The Democrats should have done this 20 years ago, instantly after the Al Gore loss. I believe Al Gore was elected president of the United States and then that was stolen from him. Trump is another case. He certainly lost the popular vote, but I think that the electoral votes were legitimate in Trump’s case. With Gore, I think it was a steal because the Supreme Court stopped the vote count in Florida.

    Liam Mayclem: Please share some thoughts about Harris, in particular, given her Bay Area roots.

    Hank Plante: We call her one of our own as she is from the Bay Area. What a tremendous source of pride to have the VP of the United States and the speaker of the House from here. You look at the political power in Northern California and you have to ask yourself, why are there so many successful politicians from Northern California? We’ve got the governor, the lieutenant governor from Northern California, both the United States Senators, the Speaker of the House, and now the next vice president. It’s incredible. And I think there are very specific reasons for that. I think it’s because of the social engagement and because of how smart people are in the Bay Area and because people vote.

    Liam Mayclem: The 2020 election has been a nail-biting experience for one and all and we may continue to be on tenterhooks as votes are counted and possibly litigated. What gives you hope at this time?

    Hank Plante: I’m an optimist, certainly when it comes to LGBTQ people. We have won the war. The best example of that is during the gay marriage case for the U. S. Supreme Court, there were 350 Fortune 500 companies that filed amicus briefs on our side. That tells me the people who really run this country, the people with money, have decided we’re the winning side. We’re the future of their products. We are their future customers. When you’ve won Wall Street over, you’ve won. You know, all the battles for civil rights are so much about economics. You can’t legislate people into liking minorities. But you can legislate and make sure that minorities are treated with fairness, with equality, and that comes to employment and housing and marriage. We have won some of the important legal battles. So, I’m an optimist, no matter who’s in the White House.

    Hank Plante is a multi-Emmy Award-winning reporter and is the recipient of various honors from LGBT rights advocacy organizations and trade groups. In addition, Plante was featured in the documentary “5b”, which was honored at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film is about the nation’s first AIDS ward, which he covered extensively as a reporter.

    Emmy Award-winning radio and television personality Liam Mayclem is regularly featured on KPIX as well as KCBS, where he is the popular Foodie Chap. Born in London, Mayclem is now at home in the Bay Area, where he lives with his husband, photographer Rick Camargo. For more information: https://www.bookliam.com/

    Published on November 5, 2020