Cast Your Political Eyes Past 2022, to Kentucky

We’ll soon know what the electoral verdict of 2022 is, but as this Kentucky political newsletter shows, underlying issues are going to carry forward into 2023 and beyond. Kentucky is a useful case study–a (Civil War) border state that in recent decades has trended Republican but where the loss of affluent suburbs has hurt the GOP lately. In a telling if not widely followed 2019 election (the state, like New Jersey holds odd-year balloting), a mainstream liberal Democrat, Andy Beshear, won the governorship by 5,000 votes, ousting Republican incumbent Matt Bevin. A blustery sort, Bevin was linked to Donald Trump but was primarily unpopular for tightening public-school spending, which angered teacher unions and many parents in those affluent suburbs. Now we see the school-funding battles continue, although with the added twist that Beshear (aligned with the teacher unions) is accused of having kept classrooms shut too long during Covid. It’s of no small significance for Democrats if Beshear (the son of another Kentucky governor) can maintain his hold next year in the wake of whatever happens this November. He’s pushing many of the buttons that the 2020 Biden victory utilized nationally, stressing expansion of state medical-care and subsidized economic development, as well as the school budgets. Will these again be winning stances after the passions of 2022 have receded? Even if he is not on the 2024 ticket, Beshear’s fate may foretell where the Democrats are headed then.

Published by timwferguson

Longtime writer-editor, focusing on topics of business and policy, global and local.

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