What we can learn from Kentucky and Ohio

Hourick /Wikipedia Public Domain

Hourick /Wikipedia Public Domain

Adam Griffin
  Staff Writer

Off-year elections tend to receive little media coverage and their results are often marked by minimal attention.

Much was the same last Tuesday; however, there were several important races and elections that will have an impact on the future political landscape of the nation as well as the elections in 2016.

Generally speaking, it was considered a victory for conservatism by the two most reported results: the election of GOP candidate Matt Bevin to the governorship of Kentucky and the proposed constitutional amendment in Ohio to legalize marijuana that failed.

Governor-elect Matt Bevin will only be the second Republican governor elected in the state of Kentucky in over 40 years.

Not only was he a Republican, but he conducted his campaign as an outsider and businessman, being chosen as a favorite candidate by the Tea Party. His only previous foray into electoral politics was a loss to Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 race for Senate.

For most of his life, Bevin was an investment manager. He ran his campaign on limited government and fiscal responsibility.

During the campaign, his primary policy concern was opposition to changes to the state’s Medicaid program, which was a product of President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

Bevin has pledged to repeal the state’s expansion of Medicaid and the state insurance exchanges that have proven to hike health care costs on an annual basis.

He has also been in contact with the famous county clerk, Kim Davis, and pledged to have all clerks names removed from marriage certificates as an accommodation to those with religious concerns about the new constitutionally sanction same-sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court.

Governor-elect Bevin’s campaign serves as an example of the type of campaign that other GOP candidates should look to in the states as a roadmap for victory. Given the popularity of outsider candidates, like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the GOP is looking for examples of how to run an outsider campaign.

Bevin was notable for lacking the numerous large donors that his opponent had and for fundraising with smaller donors.

He attended smaller, more personal campaign events with citizens rather than large fundraiser dinners to garner high-dollar contributions. He attempted to run a citizen driven campaign rather than a campaign fueled by the standard party machinery.

Also, he was notorious for his aggressive campaign against the Democratic Party, appearing twice at their headquarters to oppose comments they had made about him as factually false.

In Ohio, citizens visited the polls to vote in Issue 3 – a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana. The issue failed by a wide margin against conservative and legislative opposition.

Critics charged the amendment with being monopolistic and producing an oligarchy by only allowing ten heavily regulated facilities to grow marijuana.

Unlike the other four states that have legalized marijuana, Ohio had not allowed for medical marijuana prior to this amendment, which would take it from full prohibition to full legalization.

The situation in Ohio shows that those who advocate marijuana legalization have been more successful on even years when they can capitalize on the higher voter turnouts.

Although this is another conservative victory and seems to be a trend for 2016, off year elections tend to have more conservative results from the voters that turnout.

The elections last Tuesday were not of tremendous significance in and of themselves but can stand as important lessons for 2016.

The election of Bevin could be an important indicator for those presidential candidates trying to pose as outsiders. The GOP voters are fed up with the system and tired of the same old establishment politicians.

Given the likelihood of the Democratic Party running the most establishment, wealthy, elitist and well-connected candidate in Hillary Clinton, it may be advantageous for Republicans to nominate a candidate like Bevin who comes from the outside to attempt to reign in the excesses of power in Washington.

Categories: Columns, Opinions

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