Back On The Radar Again

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Kentucky woman…She get to know you…She gonna own you…Kentucky woman,…Kentucky woman   Neil Diamond   Kentucky woman

I’ll admit it, I had pretty much written this one off. And it broke my heart to do so, since it had been one of my dream flips. On paper, Amy McGrath had it all. Sterling record as a decorated Marine fighter pilot, name recognition in Kentucky from her spirited run for a congressional seat two years earlier. McConnell’s almost other worldly unfavorable rating in his own home state. McGrath smartly followed the Jaime Harrison model, using McConnell’s notoriety to raise cash against him nationally.

And none of it seemed to matter. For whatever reason, McGrath just couldn’t seem to get traction in the polls. McConnell largely ignored her, and apparently so did pretty much everybody else. Because of the lackluster race, there wasn’t much polling on the race, and the last one I saw was about 6 weeks ago, and had McConnell up by 12 points.

But this is the era of Trump, where, if you’re a GOP incumbent, weeks are measured in dog’s years. But in the last six weeks, a confluence of different events have taken place that has put McGrath into a much stronger position to pull off the upset in the last three weeks. Here’s some of them.

For starters, Trump is literally killing GOP incumbents. They slavishly tied themselves to Agent Orange with barbed wire, and as a result, every stupid thing he does slops over on them. His terrible debate performance, the childish way he handled his own coronavirus infection, his insistence in continuing to hold super spreader events, his disdain for a virus the rest of the country is terrified of, all reflect on the incumbents when they stand idly by.

But McConnell is a willing, and even active accomplice. Kentucky has suffered greatly from the economic effects of the coronavirus, and that’s piled on top of the financial hardship the state suffered when China put a tariff on bourbon in response to Trump’s trade war. In their one debate, McGrath hammered away at McConnell, not only for his inactivity, but his steadfast refusal to even negotiate for a relief package that the state desperately needs. And she tied that nicely into criticism for his obsession in pushing through a SCOTUS nominee that everybody thinks should be named by the winner of the election.

Here’s another factor. That last poll I saw was taken before the Kentucky Attorney General held his cluster fuck grand jury proceeding into the death of Breonna Taylor. The Attorney General is considered a GOP rising star, and is in fact a close protégé of McConnell. McGrath made the smart tactical decision of hitting the streets, appearing at some of the daily BLM protests that followed, expressing support for BLM, and espousing full transparency and justice for Breonna. She also just happened to mention that the AG was a McConnell protégé. This could be important, if it likes African American turnout for her on election day.

And worst yet, McConnell is killing himself with arrogance. If pride goeth before a fall, then arrogance goeth before an ass whuppin’. For the most part, McConnell has completely ignored McGrath since the starters gun, treating her as a total non entity. Meanwhile, McGrath just keeps plugging away at the coal face, and McConnell’s arrogance may be blinding him to the fact that she’s making holes, especially in his lead.

But McConnell hit the zenith of his arrogance in their only debate. It was clear that McConnell showed up in corpus only, it was the last place he wanted to be, and his indifference showed. But something even worse showed as well, and in brilliant living color.

McConnell’s arrogance showed through loud and clear, but even worse, his total disdain for McGrath shined through. In the debate, he summed his opponent up with a dismissive, It seems to me that my opponent’s entire campaign consists of, “I’m a Marine, I’m a mom, and Mitch McConnell has been in Washington for too long.” To which McGrath immediately snapped back, You’ve been in Washington for 36 years, and what does Kentucky have to show for it?  And the cardinal sin was gleefully laughing out loud while McGrath was making a point that was scoring heavily against him.

Whenever we talk about women in the national spotlight, the most common complaint that is voiced is that women have to show power and control without coming across as bitchy. The tag line for that is that women have to show the mysterious quality of likeability. And that is a totally legitimate complaint.

But what doesn’t get brought up as often is the fact that when a male candidate debates a female candidate, he also has a tightrope to walk. Nobody likes to see a man beating up on a woman, but at the same time, they can’t come across as being dismissive of her either. That’s the line Biden had to walk, especially against a dim bulb like Sarah Palin.

And from what I saw, McConnell came across as not just casually dismissive, but viciously dismissive of McGrath. When I watched him, I thought to myself that he must have gotten his Master’s in civility at Trump University. Along with insane Democratic urban turnout, it was also white suburban women who changed the course of the Kentucky Governor’s race. And here McConnell is, going for the daily double by ignoring black women voters, and giving white suburban women voters even more enthusiasm to show up for McGrath. Enthusiasm that seemed sadly lacking in polling.

When Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed McGrath last night, he mentioned a poll that I hadn’t seen, taken about a month ago, which showed McConnell only up by 8 points. And if that’s true, then that poll was also taken before all of the other events that I mentioned above. And while I’m not ready to put Kentucky into the flip column, I have erased the line that I drew through it not all that long ago. Keep an eye on Kentucky. 20 days. GOTV!

Follow me on Twitter at @RealMurfster35

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10 Comments on "Back On The Radar Again"

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Denis Elliott
Member
Unlike other states that can fairly be considered “southern” Kentucky is way more white. I don’t recall exactly but the percentage of black people in the state is %just under 8% and the entire minority population is under 12%. So unlike most southern states a whopping turnout among non-whites won’t have a significant impact and that means attracting white voters. In Kentucky, that means a boatload of working class and poor whites that are Trump voters, and who only loved their ACA provided health care because Kentucky got permission to create its own plan (that incorporated the elements of the… Read more »
p j evans
Member

It was a border state – the eastern third was poor enough, even before the Civil War, that there were few slaves. (My grandfather was born and raised there, and like a lot of his family, he left when he could.)

Jarvis Wellesley
Guest

I wonder if Amy McGrath is also hitting Moscow Mitch on his defining quality: corruption. Items like his wife’s featherbed job as Transport Secretary, her family donating over $1 million to his campaign, her family businesses receiving huge PPP sums from Trump, the Russian aluminum factory established in Kentucky by Oleg Deripaska, who donated bigtime to McConnell & evaded sanctions … etc.
Kentucky’s one of the poorest States but Mitch is one of the richest Senators, so there’s plenty of potential voter disillusionment to exploit. Overthrowing McConnell would be just as delicious as deposing Trumpler: GO AMY !!

anastasjoy
Member

Her most powerful argument is “Mitch boasts about how much money he brings back to Kentucky. How much of it is in your pocket?”

Senovio Rodriguez
Guest

What Kentucky going to do when Sec. of Transportation is gone in 2021… and no more projects? Of course such pork barreling would never have had occurred… I only saw a twitter or two… and then zip.

anastasjoy
Member

None of that trickles down to citizens. Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the country.

Cherl Harrell
Guest

I certainly hope you are right about this. It definitely sounds like McConnell took pages from tRump’s playbook and he should really suffer for it. I think women are done having men tell us what to do and how to live and Black folk are looking for serious answers for wrong doing. He seems to provide neither.

blueman
Member
One of my old neighbor’s grand-kids lived in Kentucky. He was describing his $10.00 and hour job while I just sat in horror. He was driving a truck full of rocks down a mountain to some kind of processing plant. They unloaded the rock onto some kind of conveyor belt. When the thing clogged up he would have to crawl out onto this belt and unclog the thing. All for $10. And he thought he had a wonderful job. A lot of Kentucky voters think just like this kid. Their employer is wonderful just for giving them a shitty, deadly… Read more »
rory darjiit
Member

I’m sad too. At the end of the day, we overstate South Carolina’s status as a red state and understate Kentucky. But if it’s going to flip, it should be now…partially because I wanted to slap that odious little man over,his sick little giggle during the debate.

Miranda
Member

I sincerely hope that Amy wins. We need that asshole Moscow Mitch McConnell out of the Senate, not just out of power.