Yesterday the Commonwealth of Kentucky elected only the second Republican Governor in 40 years. Business man Matt Bevin crushed Democratic nominee Jack Conway with a margin of victory over 8 percentage points. Democrat Conway had never trailed in the polling leading up to election day, yet he could not even muster over 45% of Kentucky's participating voters. In August the Bevin campaign was cut off from national money because the Republican Governor's Association thought his defeat was inevitable. Within two hours of the polls closing, the AP declared Bevin the winner. Kentucky will have a governor the nation did not expect, and the nation will have a large headache because of this.
How did Matt Bevin win by such a large margin when the polls, and money, were constantly against him? The candidate himself was very problematic. Matt Bevin made his money on Wall Street, missed paying his taxes (a few times), refused to release his tax returns, defended cockfighting (then lied about it), and has been fighting with his own party for years. Most candidates with this kind of baggage could not win a primary much less the Governor's Mansion. How is it that another false Constitutional Christian Conservative can beat the polls. There have been many excuses, and the professional media has tried to protect their interests with these excuses. The Democratic party uses the excuse of an outsider wave created by Donald Trump and Ben Carson. The correct answer tends to be the most obvious one, low voter turnout.
Kentucky's voter participation for their statewide races will come in just over 30%. Less than one third people eligible to vote did end up voting for their state elected offices. Low voter turnout always benefits the Republican Party. People who subscribe to white Christian male victimhood will always vote for their Republican savior. Rich, mostly white, business men will always make time to vote for the Republican who will cut the taxes of the wealthy. The people who rely on state aid tend to vote in very small numbers. People who work multiple jobs have trouble getting out to vote. Many millennials do not think voting in non-presidential elections is that important. These groups tend to make up a majority of the Democratic base. Thirty percent of the eligible voters came out and strongly supported Matt Bevin, and the rest of the country will now have to pay for that apathy.
The broken political media has already used Bevin's election to create a narrative of tea party reemergence. These media personalities are invested in creating a political horse race culture. The truth of Kentucky being a small state, with historically low voter turnout, does not work with the media's horse race narrative. Bobby Jindal has been a disaster as Governor of Louisiana, and he is treated as a credible presidential candidate. Carly Fiorina was an awful CEO and comically bad senate candidate, yet she is treated by the media as someone who could be a successful President. The entire Republican Presidential field is littered with incompetence, and Matt Bevin as President will become their newest cause celebre. The press will use the charismatic Bevin as a placeholder for tea party competence. His star will keep rising until he inevitable feels the "calling" to run for president. Once that day happens, 2020 I predict" Governor Bevin's record in Kentucky will be conveniently forgotten about.
How do we know that Matt Bevin's policies will be failures? Governor elect Bevin's ideas are on par with those of Jindal and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Destroy the state health system tied to the Affordable Care Act, privatize all public education, alienate minorities and the LGBT community, and cut taxes for the wealthiest of residents. In Louisiana, Kansas, and many other red states these policies have amounted to record deficits, horrible schools, and national ridicule. Matt Bevin has defended and promoted those ideas as good for Kentucky. He defended Kim Davis, a person who is anti-constitutional. He wants to destroy a successful system that insures nearly half a million Kentucky residents. He wants to starve the public schools and enlarge the religious ones with state money. Every single one of Matt Bevin's campaign promises has ruined other states economies.
Thirty percent of Kentucky's eligible voters felt the need to come out and elect a governor. The voters who participated got the governor they wanted. The voters who stayed home will see their beloved commonwealth race to the bottom and join states like Kansas and Louisiana as cautionary tales. When Bevin runs for reelection, if he runs, the nation will already be familiar with the "outsider" Governor from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The press will have begun the hagiography of Republican savior Matt Bevin.
It makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He thinks polling may be a good career, because success seems to not be a requisite skill. Come join the conversation by writing for SeedSing.