Mitch McConnell and Alison Grimes: Politics Kentucky Style

Mitch McConnell and Alison Grimes: Politics Kentucky Style


 The voters of the state of Kentucky are ‘fed-up.’ Super PACS are once again the focus, as outside and untraceable interests are spending truckloads of money on the Senate campaign. The battle for the seat is the tale of Mitch McConnell and Alison Grimes: politics Kentucky style.

The television networks have been saturated with 57,100 campaign ads which amounts to more than 500 hours; and the ads are not pretty or even informative. They are filled with name-calling and professional and personal attacks. This race is expected to be more costly than the 2012 race in Massachusetts between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, which revealed a record $82 million.

Much of the focus is on the coal mining industry. Democrats were favored by the majority of the industry until Rand Paul in 2010 when he won most of their votes.

Kentucky is a ‘red’ state. Many of those interviewed, and say they will vote for McConnell, are doing so as a vote against President Obama. Voters are not enamored with the Senate Minority Leader, but they profess their hatred for the President adamantly. Joining voters in other states Kentucky’s voters are unhappy with the Republican leader’s do nothing policies.

A ‘lame duck’ president is frequently a detriment to his party’s candidates in midterm elections. We need to look no farther back than George W. Bush. Republicans attempted to distance themselves from him and his administration.

Because the President is unpopular in Kentucky, much of McConnell’s rhetoric is aimed at Mr. Obama rather than his Senate opponent. In two ads he said that Barrack Obama needs one thing to remain in power and that is the Senate. He said that the President never should have been elected; he had no experience. Then he asked the crowd if it sounded familiar, taking an obvious jibe at Ms. Grimes.

In one speech Grimes said that if McConnell was in a television show it would be ‘Mad Men;’ she said he treats women unfairly, is stuck in 1968, and the show would end next year.

Where is all this money coming from? That’s a fair question, but, for the most part, no one knows. When the Supreme Court upheld ‘Citizens United,’ and renounced ‘McCain-Feingold,’ money began to pour into campaigns entirely without transparency. Basically, Super PACS can now attempt to buy elections.

And voters are confused; the television ads lack information and create more angry responses than positive. One undecided voter, Angela Fugate, expressed just that feeling. She used two ads, one from McConnell and one from Grimes to make her point: “Like Mitch said, it wasn’t his job to make jobs. But it is his job to make jobs,” she said. “And then they say Ms. Grimes is more against the coal.”

A Journalism Professor who has covered Kentucky’s politics for over 40 years said that if Grimes loses, it will most likely be because she failed to distance herself from the President early in the campaign. He also said that when more money is involved in a political race, there is likely to be less discussion about the issues, and that the candidates ‘let the money speak for them.’ We are witnessing ‘politics Kentucky style.’

James Turnage



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