Explaining the Republican blowout in Kentucky

How overwhelming was the Republican landslide last week in Kentucky?  Big-time liberals are so desperate for an excuse that they are trotting out the rigged voting machine fantasy.

To be sure, Kentucky is not the most typical state in the union; it is a conservative, Southern place with relatively few minority voters.  That said, the Democrats here are suffering from the same institutional failure that's evident all across the nation among their strongest constituencies: labor unions, newspapers, and the black church.

Consider: the labor unions continue to lose members, and their once mighty pension plans are broke.  In Kentucky, there is not a single union mine left open.  With the UMW gone, Democrats cannot even win their former stronghold counties in eastern Kentucky. 

Meanwhile, daily newspapers, the propaganda center of the mainstream liberal universe, are collapsing.  So it didn't really matter that none of them in Kentucky endorsed Matt Bevin for governor or that they were often quite hostile.  Almost no one reads them anymore.

And ever since FDR, Democrats have played a cynical, cheapskate patronage game with the black church.  Today's black ministers are not so pliable, though, and many are leaders of America's school choice movement.  Bevin made that the focus of his outreach, and it seems to have helped a bit.

I might also mention that as mounting student debt crushes America's young people and they turn to affordable online college alternatives, the remaining crown jewel of American liberalism, the universities, will experience the same hollowing out that unions and newspapers are now enduring.

In the upcoming years, there may be a lot of demographically attractive people out there for liberal Democrats to court, but in Kentucky and across the country, who will be left to lead that effort? 

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.

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