How to misread the Kentucky gubernatorial victory

Matt Bevin, a "Tea Party" guy, won the governorship over Jack Conway, 53-44 percent.

Genuine congratulations.

However, conservatives have a bad habit of miscalculating election victories.

We won big across the land in 2014 in small elections, and we can draw some encouragement about the change of course those elections indicate.

And yes, I believe we would have easily won the White House in 2016, if the field were smaller and a certain businessman had not entered the fray.  Nonetheless, I believe we will still barely win, whether it's the after-election chaos in June at the Convention or in November or both.

So the criticism here is not about the big trend line, but about the details.

One such wrong conclusion is that we can nominate a “strong” conservative like Cruz on the national stage.  Not so – Kentucky is not a bellwether state for national elections.  The state Senate is made up of 27 Republicans and 11 Democrats, more than double.  Their house has 54 Democrats and 46 Republicans.  However, statewide, the people elected libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Mitch McConnell, who, incidentally, crushed Bevin by 25 percent in 2014.  And the caucus in the House of Representatives in D.C. has five Republicans and only one Democrat.

There are more conservatives than liberals, so conservative state like Kentucky should not be used as a guide for who the GOP nominee should be.

National elections are decided by the voters who live between the two forty-eight-yard lines.  Nominees who shut down the government, for example, scare moderate voters.  After eighty years since FDR, America has a love affair with her big government, who acts like her sugar-daddy.  And if we shut it down, she’s not happy.  We will have to trim obese Uncle Sam, yes, but only after the GOP earns the right to be heard by growing the economy, say, by four percent or more, per quarter and by overhauling the IRS and tax code, which can be done quickly and painlessly – heroically – to the voter.

I think we can be encouraged at the few election results around the country.  But let’s not overinterpret them.  “Tea Party” conservatives cannot win nationally, especially since they were everywhere soundly defeated in smaller elections in 2014.

One day, “strong” conservatives will stop misreading America nationally.  Then we will have a unified party, and incrementally we will see America “fundamentally transformed” over the long haul, not in one or two election cycles.

James Arlandson’s website is Live as Free People, which is updated almost daily.

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