My fellow Kentuckians and I are afforded the opportunity to elect a new governor today. On the ballot is Attorney General Jack Conway (D) and certifiably insane person Matt Bevin (R). It was only six weeks ago that Bevin stormed into the headquarters of the Kentucky Democratic Party because he was upset with a sign on its premises that read “You still can’t trust Matt Bevin.” I’ve never heard of a politician doing something that stupid but Bevin isn’t a politician – which I guess works since being an outsider is pretty much the basis of his entire campaign. That, or doing everything he possibly can to equate Conway and Obama. And now here he is with a legitimate shot to become the top politician in my state. Ugh.
Coming to to election day, Pundits have been giving Conway a slight edge over Bevin. Even though Kentucky always votes Republican in national elections, our governor has been a Democrat for 40 of the last 44 years. It’s an odd little quirk about the state I call home but the G.O.P. is hoping to end that streak tonight no matter how incompetent its candidate is. Bevin has made other blunders in addition to his inexplicable visit to the Democratic HQ. By vowing to test Medicaid recipients for illegal drug use, for instance, he confused the health insurance program for the poor with Medicare, which covers older Americans. He has also engaged in uncomfortably heated exchanges with our political press corps, prompting some in both parties to raise questions about his temperament and whether he would cause too big an upheaval in the State Capitol.
Not surprisingly, Conway and Bevin disagree on every issue, including the minimum wage (Conway wants to raise it; Bevin is opposed), union organizing (Bevin favors so-called right-to-work laws that would restrict unions; Conway does not) and gay rights (Conway, as attorney general, refused to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban; Bevin visited Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk jailed for refusing to issue licenses to gay couples.)
But what Kentuckians should be most concerned about is Bevin’s promise to reverse Medicaid expansion – which was expanded by current Gov. Steve Beshear (D) under the new health care law. A lot of our residents depend on government assistance and a Bevin governorship would mean big changes – changes that John Oliver eloquently discussed on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight. Please take 15 minutes and watch this video (it contains NSFW language).
The man who ultimately wins will likely have a lot to do with voter turnout. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Kentucky – but if Bevin can force enough Christian conservatives to the polls and convince them to vote their beliefs rather than their party – he may be able to eke out the victory and the governorship.
Now excuse me while I spend the rest of the day praying that doesn’t happen.