Elections are over, but the groaning continues from the “enlightened” elite, which saw beloved Democrats get kicked in the teeth.
Conventional “enlightened” wisdom is that those ignorant hicks in rural Idaho didn’t know what they were doing. If unenlightened rural folk read the Idaho Statesman, the flagship paper of the Great State of Ada, they surely would have voted for Democrat A.J. Balukoff as governor. Better informed people also would have voted for Jana Jones as state superintendent of public instruction, Holli Woodings as secretary of state and Deborah Silver as state treasurer. I’ve also heard speculation that Democrats lost because they failed to field quality candidates in this cycle.
Hogwash. Rural Idahoans knew exactly what they were doing on Election Day and the Democratic ticket was plenty strong. The only problem with Democrats is they were from the wrong party; people in rural Idaho simply don’t trust Democrats. State Rep. Judy Boyle of Midvale, a former congressional staff member of Helen Chenoweth, says the “enlightened” few have it all wrong.
“People in rural Idaho are well educated and very independent, and that’s why we live here,” she said. “We like coming up with our own ideas, doing our own research and we don’t need to receive a daily paper with liberal tripe telling us how to think.”
With few exceptions, rural Idahoans think Democrats belong in California, or the East Coast – but not in any position of authority in Idaho. As Boyle explains, Democrats tend to be for gun control and more taxes, and liberal concepts such as Common Core and Obamacare.
Voters from Idaho’s heartland knew little about State Superintendent-elect Sherri Ybarra, who had the closest race of the night. “But they figured an ‘R’ was better than a ‘D,’” Boyle said. Rural Idahoans were not about to go against Secretary of State-elect Lawerence Denney of Midvale, who was about as rural as a candidate can get.
“He’s a farmer and he’s not afraid to say, ‘I believe in the Lord, believe in the family and believe in our country,’” Boyle said. “Those are basic Idaho principles.”
Abortion, gay marriage and gun control – staples of the Democratic platform – are not among the basic principles in rural Idaho.
Boyle celebrated the GOP’s victory in the mid-term elections, saying “the American people figured out what was going on.” But she is not pleased to see another four years of Gov. Butch Otter, which Boyle said has produced “backroom deals, the whole dang thing with the prisons, the (Idaho Education Network), the crony capitalism that is going on.”
Boyle’s friends and neighbors saw the “good-old-boy” side of Otter. “He goes around, slaps everybody on the back and has a drink with them,” Boyle said. “People don’t know how vindictive he is, how hateful he is and how he says one thing and does the totally opposite.”
But those factors didn’t come into play on Election Day, and it probably would not have made a difference if news about the IEN’s broadband contract came out before the election. All that mattered was that Otter had an “R” by his name.
To rural Idahoans, a flawed Republican governor is far better than the best candidate that Democrats can field.