New Shoes in the Rain

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The ballot box

Good morning from the Bluegrass State!

I used the above title because today, of course, is Election Day in many parts of the country, my home state of Kentucky included.  And Kentucky takes its politics seriously.  There's a little Catholic church in western Kentucky in a place called Fancy Farm that apparently invited a political candidate or two to speak some years ago, and now that event, which is simply referred to as "Fancy Farm," is heavily attended by just about anyone running in a statewide race.

This year was no exception, as veteran Republican U.S. Senator (and Senate "important guy") Mitch McConnell is running for another term.  His primary opponent (there is at least one "minor" party candidate in the race) is the current Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes.  The maiden name is important, as her father, Jerry Lundergan, has been a major player in Kentucky Democratic politics since I was a kid.  He and his family operate a major catering enterprise, but are also involved in other avenues of business in addition to his considerable political reach.  I'd wager that he has both of the Clintons on speed dial.  Two of his kids went to high school with my kids.  But Alison is the only one of the bunch who's run for office, and she was apparently approached by the Democratic Party to challenge McConnell this time around.  She was briefly leading in the polls, as public dissatisfaction with Congress worked against McConnell, but his campaign has skillfully tied Grimes to President Obama, who's very unpopular here, so it looks as though McConnell will win, but not all that easily.

Funny thing about sentiment against the President.  Kentucky has an overwhelming majority of its voters registered as Democrats, yet have voted for the Republican candidate for President in just about every race since Ronald Reagan's first term.  The exception were Bill Clinton's two campaigns. A "Red" state indeed.  So it's not as though Kentuckians turned on Obama.

And when I say that we're serious about politics, I mean it.  Kentucky is routinely in the bottom 10% of all states in terms of job creation and education spending, but, by golly, we ALWAYS have the most advanced voting machines available.  No hanging chads here!

I think in an overall sense it's interesting that polling just a year ago indicated that fewer than 10% Americans approved of the performance of Congress as a whole, and yet, here we are, a few months later and many incumbents have turned this into dissatisfaction with the President.  This makes him poison to many Democratic candidates and red meat for just about any Republican.  I laugh out loud at races for things like state Senator (our legislature meets for about six weeks every two years), where the Republican candidate will run television ads indicating that his/her Democratic opponent is an "Obama Democrat."


I wouldn't expect a lot of surprises nationally.  Bad incumbents who have enough money almost always win, regardless of public opinion.  Funny how that works.

But regardless, of all of this, please get out and vote.  It's the only way we can change ANYTHING in this country!


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