So, last week we had this train wreck of an election in Kentucky. Oh, you’ve heard about it? Well, let me summarize what happened and what are bound to be some of the implications that come from it.
In short, Kentucky elected Matt Bevin, a Republican for governor. This is only the second time in a couple of generations that Kentucky has elected a Republican governor—a fact worth mentioning, if only for historical context. Of more importance than his partisan identity, however, is what our next governor campaigned on. Despite Kentucky’s shining example in markedly cutting the rate of uninsured in the state through its implementation of the Affordable Care Act, for instance, Matt Bevin announced his intention during the campaign to roll back those advances, putting the healthcare of 400,000 people in jeopardy by some estimates. Our newly elected governor has also publicly voiced support for the Rowan County clerk, Kim Davis, in her crusade to refuse marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. He supports “traditional family values,” which apparently means dehumanizing and disadvantaging people because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. [Sorry. I know that last sentence is editorializing and not just summarizing, but what did you expect?]
The reaction among progressives (and even some conservatives I’ve spoken with) has been outrage. How could we let this happen? What is going to happen to all those people who need insurance? Are we returning to that benighted age where the rights of LGTBQ people will once again be under constant attack from fundamentalist enthusiasts? Should progressive Louisville secede and form its own democratic socialist Valhalla? The rhetoric has been dire.