LEXINGTON, Ky. – What the Republican Party achieved in the previous general election in Kentucky was downright dominant. The GOP increased its seats in the House of Representatives to 75 from the 100-member body on which it already held a super-major, and now holds 30 of the state’s 38 seats in the Senate.
Kentucky’s deep red wave follows a national trend in which most of the country’s rural states have overwhelmingly voted for Republican candidates, especially where President Donald Trump is popular.
Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who received Trump 69% of the vote, said the MSNBC Democrats should have had a majority after the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections.
“But that didn’t happen,” he said. “Whatever our message is, it didn’t work. And I would hope our leadership will understand that from top to bottom. It did not work. “
CNN political commentator and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said his party had people under the impression that it was more concerned with “coastal and urban elites” and “overseeing various cultural issues” than improving the way of life of the working class.
“This is a fundamental problem with the Democratic Party,” said Yang. “If you don’t find out, this polarization and division will get worse, not better.”
Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville, a Democrat from Louisville, spoke to Mario Anderson of Spectrum News 1 KY about the results of the general election in the Commonwealth on a recent episode of In Focus.
“We have to go back to the drawing board to some extent and say, ‘OK, what’s our message? How do we get it closer to people, how do we let people across the state of Kentucky know we see them, we hear them and ourselves care about them that our basic message of getting better jobs, having better schools, more access to health care is really a message for everyone, and hits some of the things we were talking about nationally in Kentucky? “He said,” We must make sure that we have a just and just system for every Kentucky, regardless of what part of Kentucky you live in, that we must have in Kentucky so that we lead to our children and grandchildren can.”
Marisa McNee, assistant executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party, admitted that Democrats in the Commonwealth still have work to do.
“If President Trump wins Kentucky by 30 points, it’s hard to see Democrats win across the country in that environment,” she said. If Trump wins Kentucky by just 10 points, it seems to me that you are seeing some statewide Republicans who may be in trouble. I don’t think it’s particularly complicated, this kind of discussion about where the party is going from here. There are many red states in the country where the Democrats are organizing all the time, and it’s not hard to see what that looks like. There are states like Texas that were very, very red for a long time and have turned back into an almost blue state over time. I think a lot of people are used to, or have grown used to, democrats ruling everything, and that changed four years ago. And the truth is there has to be a restructuring of a party that finds its way back to power instead of always having power. “
Glenn Martin Hammond, a Pikeville attorney, called on incumbent Republican Senator Phillip Wheeler to get the seat in Kentucky’s District 31, which represents the deep red and heavily rural counties of Elliott, Lawrence, Martin, Morgan and Pike. Hammond lost after just 28% of the vote.
“I didn’t lose to Phillip Wheeler, I lost to Donald Trump,” said Hammond. “The party, which takes place every two to four to six years, is repositioning itself and calls it reorganization. You can call whatever you want, but there is never a baseline. You have this top-down effect instead of a bottom-up effect. If Kentucky Democrats are ever to win again, especially in rural Kentucky, we have to be honest. We have to take a close look in the mirror and be honest with the problems, not gloss over them and pretend they don’t exist. “
The “problem,” Hammond said, is that Democrats are not talking enough about the good things the party has achieved and a general lack of communication.
“If you own a business and you don’t get results, you have to change it – adjust your message to stay in business,” said Hammond. “That’s the same thing Democrats have to do, and it comes down to communication. Democrats will have to do the same. The Democrats have completely moved away from what made them the Democratic Party, which we knew grew up, who cares about the working class, who cares about small business owners, who cares about public education, who cares is committed to ensuring that vocational schools are in place to give this person the opportunity. They weren’t elitists. We didn’t communicate a lot of things that we did well and we didn’t get used to what we didn’t do well. Eastern Kentucky was the backbone of the Democratic Party for years, and now the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) supported a candidate who made the very existence he was fighting to protect – the black lung benefits, other benefits, and even protection – of the Steel worker exploited also fought against me. So there is a fundamental communication problem in that there is no systematic, consistent message about both what we have achieved and what we have been defined as. “
Perhaps no Democratic politician felt the wave of Republicans more than Joe Graviss, who chose not to seek re-election for his seat as District 56 representative in the Kentucky House of Representatives and ran for District 7 Senator. Graviss’ seat in the House of Representatives was won by being a Republican, losing the Senate race to GOP newcomer Adrienne Southworth. Both District 56 and District 7 have historically voted for Democrats.
“Democrats just have to tell the truth,” Graviss said. “I outperformed my opponent nine to one and spent, and the Trump train smashed me. There is no way to counteract it. I mean, I couldn’t have spent any amount of money. It’s just a bad time being a Democrat in Kentucky. A lizard with an ‘R’ after its name on the ballot could have won this election. “