Remember Matt Bevin, the Kentucky Tea Party candidate for governor who accidentally said he wanted to drug test seniors on government assistance? The same Matt Bevin who mounted a primary challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell because the Kentucky Tea Party thought McConnell was too liberal?
Well, guess what? Kentucky voters just elected that same Matt Bevin, a man with no real political experience, as governor of their state.
Via The Hill:
The Associated Press called the election for Bevin, a Tea Party darling who had previously been best known for his primary challenge of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014.
Bevin will replace outgoing Gov. Steve Besmear, a Democrat who was ineligible to run again due to term limits.
Bevin becomes just the second Republican governor in the Bluegrass State in four decades. (Source)
For the most part, people have overlooked 2015 and are so wrapped up in the latest shenanigans from Donald Trump that they haven’t bothered to vote in a year where there isn’t a congressional or presidential election.
By all political reasoning, Matt Bevin shouldn’t have stood a chance of winning the election, but he did anyhow. Even though Republicans hold most of the federal offices, moderate Democrats were in charge of the state government until now.
Like Louisiana or Arkansas, Democrats have managed to hang on to some state offices in Kentucky. Despite the refocused Southern Strategy by Republicans across the South, Democrats can and do win elections – when they actually turn out.
The problem is that Democrats and left-leaning independents aren’t as motivated as the religious right and the Tea Party which have steadily solidified their grip on state legislatures. Even as we pat ourselves on the back for electing President Obama twice and gloat about the inevitability of a Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton victory over anyone Republicans nominate in 2016, the GOP keeps on taking control of other political offices across the country.
This is why 20 states still do not have Medicaid expansion and this is why many other states have lax gun regulations that allow gun traffickers to purchase guns in places like Georgia and easily resell them in New York or Chicago. Republican legislatures are responsible for gutting labor laws across the country and cutting off women’s access to reproductive healthcare.
Yet despite the resurgence of the right-wing in recent years and their nationwide assault on decades of progress, we seem to be apathetic or distracted by the latest outrageous thing some conservative political celebrity has said or done. Kentucky should have been an easy victory for Jack Conway, who was the state’s attorney general, but it looks like only around 30% of voters turned out.
The point is that if the left continues to engage in apathy or refusing to vote until their perfect candidate comes along, we are going to see further assaults on worker’s rights and women’s healthcare across the country. We can elect Democrats to the White House every four years, but if we fail to vote in mid-term and off-year elections like the one that just put a Tea Party fanatic in control of Kentucky, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.
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