Kentucky was the last holdout in the South. But the tide runs strong, and it’s a red state now. Sam Youngman is a well respected journalist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, and he says yesterday’s election “.. might well have been the end of the Democratic Party …” of Kentucky.
This is extraordinarily important news. In all likelihood, to get to 34 we’re going to need additional target states to emerge from the 2016 election. I was convinced we were going to take out Democratic Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo last year. But this guy is a survivor, and a warrior, and he won’t go down easy. But with a Republican Governor who hates his guts, a Republican State Senate, and two powerful Republican U. S. Senators lined up against him, I can’t see how he maintains his majority. Every Republican in the state has the same goal — take out Stumbo. At Bevin’s victory celebration they were chanting, “Flip the House.” A lot of people really don’t like this guy.
In 2016 Kentucky will go for the Republican Presidential candidate 60-40. How can Stumbo withstand all of this? He can’t, we get the Kentucky House, and we get Kentucky for the BBA. The State Senate passed it a few years ago, and it will sail through the legislature in 2017. If you doubt that, look at what Fruth was able to do in Tennessee — three no’s in the whole legislature.
Say this for Stumbo. He’s the last Democratic presiding officer of a state legislative chamber in the South. That’s something he can hang his hat on when he loses the Speakership.
We held our own in the Virginia Senate, which was all we could realistically hope for. McAuliffe put everything he had into beating us, and we were seriously outspent. Now McAuliffe is a lame duck, and we still have a shot in Virginia. This is going to be a hard one. This is going to take an actual campaign, as opposed to lobbying and grass roots. We have to get the public behind us. This has to become an issue. This is going to take money that we do not have. Someone with some money is going to have to step up if we’re going to get Virginia next year. It could happen. Our momentum is building. But it’s a short session, ending on March 5th, and we don’t have a lot of time. Biddulph and the Task Force gave it all they had earlier this year, and they didn’t get that close. If we don’t get Virginia this year it will be available in 2017, when the BBA will be an issue, and we will have the public behind us.
One of the keys to the Republican wins in Kentucky was County Clerk Kim Davis, who went to jail for refusing to issue a wedding license to gays. Bevin embraced her, literally, and she was all for him. She’s a Democrat. Not for long.
Because Sam Youngman knows what he’s talking about. Kentucky Democrats are blue dog Democrats, and they’re going extinct. There are only a few left in the whole country. When County Clerk Kim Davis switches her party registration she’ll be joined by a lot of her tribe. I think it’s almost like a tribe, these Scotch-Irish parts of Appalachia. They’ve been solidly Democrat since before the Civil War, and shrinking all the while. There’s not that many of them left, and their loyalty to one another is important to them. They’ll go en masse to the Republicans.
It could start on January 5th of next year. That’s when the legislature convenes. If five House Democrats switch parties, Stumbo’s out of the chair. This could very easily happen. It happened in the Kentucky Senate a few years back, engineered by Mitch McConnell. It’s happened all over the South.
These House Democrats are not stupid. They can see the handwriting on the wall. There’s no future for the Democratic Party in Kentucky, or anywhere in the South. They can stay Democrats, and lose next year. Or switch, and survive. These good old boys will do what’s best for them.
So, we may have Kentucky as a target come January. Depending on the self preservation instinct of some very old school southern politicians.
And the tide, rolls, on.