Voices from the Idaho EdNews Community

Democrat encourages independents to oust GOP

Larry Kenck

Many independent Idahoans have helped elect Republican candidates over the past 20 years. By the way the 2014 election is shaping up, Idaho Democrats expect to see that trust shift to us.

Where’s the evidence?

Just look at the “choices” the GOP is offering this year. First, there are “establishment” Republicans whose failed economic policies have created a minimum wage economy and dropped education investment into the cellar. Second, there’s the “Tea Party” faction that cheered for the government shutdown that cost our nation’s economy $24 billion–just so they could fight.

Idaho GOP Chairman Barry Peterson talks about next year’s Republican choices as if Idahoans should be thrilled:

“The beauty of it is that our party has such a big tent that we can cover both extremes of the debate on any given issue,” Peterson told the Idaho Statesman. “So nobody should get away with saying we’re not the big-tent party in Idaho. I welcome it. I’m happy to see it. The more choices people have, the better our government will be.”

That’s the choice? Failed leadership versus Tea Party anarchists? That’s what constitutes “both extremes”?

The Idaho GOP is banking that Idahoans will be too distracted by national politics to notice that national politicians didn’t cause the troubles plaguing our state—our troubles sit in the laps of elected Idaho Republicans. The GOP also expects Idahoans to forget that our own “national” politicians—U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and James Risch—voted to send our nation into default. U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador led the charge to shutdown the government and sink our economy. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson let the Tea Party call the shots until finally forced to back Speaker Boehner.

None of these Idaho Republican leaders did anything to help loggers who were out work, or thousands of Idaho federal employees missing paychecks, or retail businesses that suffered. They didn’t worry about the threat to thousands of Idaho National Laboratory jobs that would have crippled eastern Idaho’s economy. Again, three of them actually voted against all these Idaho workers and their families!

Does the Idaho GOP sound like a group that still appeals to Idaho’s independent-minded voters?

As an aside, it’s worth noting that many Idahoans feel forced to register as Republican to vote in GOP primary races. The GOP reviles independents so much that they changed the law to force them to declare a political party affiliation to vote in a GOP primary. I want everyone to know that you don’t have to let Idaho’s GOP force you to do anything you don’t want to do. You are welcome to vote Idaho Democratic primaries. After all, GOP primaries mainly offer the choice between “two extremes”: bad and worse.

Independent-minded voters are patient and forgiving. They look for candidates who will work hard, be honest, be responsible, and stand up for regular Idahoans. After 20 years of failed GOP leadership in Idaho, those independents have ample reason to look elsewhere for candidates. When they do, they will find what they are looking for in Idaho Democrats.

Idaho Democrats welcome independents who have had enough “extreme” candidates.


Larry Kenck

Larry Kenck is the chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party.

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