Democratic gubernatorial nominee A. J. Bulakoff has a slim opportunity to connect with Idaho voters and make the case that he has the ability and skills necessary to lead Idaho forward into the future.
In C.L. “Butch” Otter, voters clearly see a tired and aging Republican governor who has done nothing to merit a third term , who has been around 40 years and one who plays fast and loose with facts that damn him for gutting public education and starving state government.
So here is some unsolicited advice to A. J.
First, restoring adequate funding for public education is your number one issue, but deliver the message with passion and conviction once in awhile. A.J. clearly is not a politician. He is a successful businessman but voters have yet to hear the conviction in his voice that tells them he will figure out how to work with a still dominant Republican Legislature to improve funding when many voted for the original cuts.
Secondly, he has to focus on positive messages that people can unite around such as moves to expand the economic pie. Stay away from the divisive, polarizing social messages. The election is about Idaho’s future and whether its children will be eqipped to compete with the rest of the world. It is not about revisiting the abortion issue or gay marriage. The Supreme Court and other courts have ruled on those issues. The law is the law.
Republicans are so adept at getting Democrats off the “we’re better for the economy, education and environment” message by hitting them with “wrong” stances on social issues. Democrats have to make the Republicans respond to their messages and quit letting the R’s take them off message.
That’s not to say that A.J. should not weave key elements of some of the fundamental civil rights issues Democrats have always been in the forefront on because he should. Democrats are fundamentally corrrect on the immigration reform issue and many of Idaho’s farmers are far more in agreement with the Democratic position that will help Idaho farmers legally obtain needed field workers rather than the draconian Republican approach.
Democrats are also correct on the fundamentals of universal health care – affordability, accessibility, no denial because of pre-conditions and no caps. Few in America can afford the astronomical costs of cancers or heart diseases. Yes, ObamaCare has lots of problems but its basics do provide relief from catastrophic illness and the public has to be reminded of that.
Democrats are also correct in their support of human rights, whether it be civil rights or gay rights. A.J. should embrace the next great cause which is full rights for women. The issue is not just raising the minimum wage, it is equal pay for equal work and it is full respect for women as equal partners in all endeavors.
One of society’s most appalling figures is data that shows in the course of a woman’s life seven out of ten will either be raped, assualted, or sexually harassed not to mention being discriminated against because of gender.
A.J. has to make it clear also that it is the Democratic party that houses a true libertarian streak. Democrats recognize one cannot legislate morality, canot devise a law that covers every conceivable contingency in life issues. It is the Democratic party that says leave the difficult issues surrrounding the beginning of life and the end of life to the individual, their family, their doctors and their religious counselors.
A.J. should point out that liberal and libertarian have the same Latin root word—liber—which means to free and that it was the great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who invoked the importance of this nation’s people being freed from fear, freed from being victimized by the powerful and predatory rich and therefore free to reach their indivdual potential.
There is inherent in both the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The key for A.J. and the Democratic Party is emphasizing that he will embrace the three E’s – economic growth, educational funding restored, and environmental care – in a manner that the incumbent has not and will not.
The real key though will be whether A.J. has enough faith that Idaho’s voters will respond to those key messages to put his considerable fortune into educating voters that he is the right person in the right place at the right time to lead a renewed and growing Idaho into a better future.
Your move, A.J. My grandparents came to Idaho from Missouri. Show me.Share on Facebook