Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Some Thoughts On Kentucky Politics

This blog was stimulated by a recent story in USA Today, under the headline “Ultra-wealthy dominate funding for Super PACS”(political action commitees) And while the #1 donor ($19.5M is a Republican, the #2 is a Dem at $15.7M.) Together the top 10 donors to both parties gave them 20% of their budgets. So heavy cash to influence elections is a bi-partisan affair.
And don’t think this cash doesn’t count. One wealthy GOP donor’s money may well have swung the US from a long held policy and changed our view towards the capital of Israel; (the long held view is that this should be decided by the 2 parties involved, a bargaining chip if you will, now given away by the Master of the Deal, and contrary to almost every view of Middle East experts here and abroad.)
But don’t also think this is limited to national issues and only federal elections. Tain’t so.
This cash is now going more and more to influence the election of state office holders---which gives Kentucky a chance to get involved. Why shouldn’t we have a law that whoever gives a political contribution over a certain amount MUST also provide info on who it was, where the $$ comes from, and if an organization, info on the group. Voters need this “transparency” to judge the candidates and their stands on issues.
The importance of money on the local level was best illustrated by a famous quote, from the Master of the California legislature for many years, Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh: “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”
While on the state level, I am appalled by the recent political change of heart by the current governor of my home state, West Virginia. Jim Justice was elected as a Democrat, but shortly after taking office switched to the GOP. I think when this happens, that office should be vacated, and a special election held, with the previous winner allowed to run again, but under his new party designation. We should not allow voters to be hornswoggled by such deceptions. This won’t solve the problem, but it will make the election process fairer.
And speaking of fair elections - our legislature needs to set up NOW a non-partisan commission to prepare for redrawing all election district lines following the 2020 census. It is not too soon. 16 other states have such a group. In almost every case on this topic taken to the courts, very, very partisan lines drawn (usually by new GOP majorities in state legislatures---are you listening Ky GOP?) have been tossed out.
Do it right. Get geographers, population experts, college professors and others involved. (The Herald-Leader has demonstrated many times this can be done, coming up with districts far more even and equal than any proposed by politically inclined legislators, which once had a Louisville candidate representing a district many miles away in rural Southern Kentucky - or have we forgotten?)
And always remember the Golden Rule of Politics: “He who has the Gold makes the Rules.”
I'm just sayin'...

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