It looks like despite the best efforts of careerist homophobes to disinter Pat Boone and stoke the state of Kentucky with a fear of Castro Street, Democratic challenger Steve Beshear will handily beat Gov. Ernie Fletcher in today’s election.
This will be a big victory for labor, having mobilized against the anti-worker, anti-union Fletcher (who canceled bargaining rights for state employees and privatized Kentucky’s Medicaid program). It’s also a big, nasty bellwether for Mitch McConnell (Mr. Elaine Chao), who has been making a point of antagonizing labor — especially mine workers.
And as Tom Schaller notes (via email):
…which means that, yet again, and unless one counts KY as a southern state (i count it as a border state), and presuming Haley Barbour wins, the net effect of the 2007 cycle will be -1 democratic southern governor, +1 democratic non-southern governor, and overall 24 of 28 democratic governors from outside the south. That’s 84%.
—just in case anyone (besides me) is counting.
Well, Tom, it looks like Rudy Giulianni is:
Strategists for Rudy Giuliani are quietly preparing a significantly race-based campaign strategy to strengthen support among socially conservative white voters, in the South as well as in the North.
The former Mayor carries the burden of three marriages and a Brooklyn accent, but he has more race cards to play than any of his opponents, and his success in the fight for the nomination – according to close observers of the campaign — may depend on how aggressively he plays his hand.
The themes the campaign are lining up for renewed emphasis are those reflecting Giuliani’s confrontational stance towards black New Yorkers and their white liberal allies, as well as his record of siding decisively with the police against minorities who launched protests alleging police brutality during the years he was mayor from 1994-2001.
Giuliani’s eight years as New York’s chief executive exemplified a Northern adaptation of the GOP’s politically successful “Southern strategy” – the strategy playing on white resistance to and resentment of federal legislation passed in the 1960s mandating desegregation – resistance that produced a realignment in the South and fractured the Democratic loyalties of white working class voters in the urban North from 1968 to 2004.
I know people from the south hate it when I say that the Republicans are turning into a small, regional party with diminishing appeal outside the old confederacy, but if the GOP frontrunner is basing his entire campaign strategy upon it, I really don’t know how you argue with it.
Anyway, good for labor in Kentucky, and Tom Schaller — right once again. The compromises that have to be made in party identity in order to keep people like Jim Marshall inside the “big tent” when it comes to children’s health care, reproductive and gay rights, Iraq, war on terrah, etc. etc. — not worth it.
(h/t Tula, photo by circulating)