Wow! Republicans worried about 2C Dem candidate!

As a Democrat, I was happy that some voters found a 30-year law that indicated there should be a runoff election for a city council seat if no candidate got a majority of the votes.  

Evangeline Beechler, chair of the Idaho State Democrats, was getting a second chance. 

What wasn’t there to like?

Then, came the postcards attacking Beechler for being a (gasp, ugh) DEMOCRAT. 

Attacks are like packing tape. Logic and facts may peel the tape off, but the adhesive that remains tarnishes the target and attracts dirt.   

  I’ve seen statewide candidates attacked, but, locally, the public voice of the Republicans has been civil. Sure, some vandals have slashed tires and made death threats,but the leaders have been courteous. 

Evangeline Beechler shaking hands with President Obama.
Republicans mailed this photo of Evangeline Beechler shaking hands with President Obama to thousands of voters.

Democrats who got the first postcards were confused–so Beechler was a friend of Obama and shared their support for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Very informative.    

But postcards that followed were worse, claiming Democrats had a “radical platform” and a threatening “secret agenda.”    

It wasn’t until the fourth postcard I grasped why Republicans were bringing the party’s weaponized national issues–immigration, abortion, and guns–to a city election.   

Republicans are treating a Canyon County Democrat as a serious rival for the first time during my time as an activist.  .

They are scared. 

For 30 years Caldwell has been safe territory for Republicans in partisan elections. Now, the histories of these two candidates–John McGee, once the Republican’s golden boy, against the Democrats’ state chair–made party loyalties an issue. 

Parties don’t have ready arguments dealing with issues like city services and recreation programs. 

But the Republicans have a backup plan. Nationally, the party has spent billions demonizing Democrats, aka liberals and progressives, through the years.   

It’s paid off in Idaho. Thousands of Idahoans who support public education and Medicaid Expansion continue to vote for Republicans who don’t. 

While Democrats are known for dithering, Republicans have found that repeating arguments forcefully over time, gains them a sense of authority that many accept, even it they are not in full agreement. 

So they attacked via postcard. 

 Yes,the ACLU is a liberal organization.  Ironically, its fight to prevent government infringement on individuals’ civil rights mirrors that of the NRA, only ACLU supports rights for a wide range of people, including minorities, women, the LGBT community and prisoners.  

 During the past two years, the ACLU has led the fight to stop the government from caging immigrant children and separating even toddlers and babies still breastfeeding from their parents.   

 That “radical platform” of the Idaho State Democrats supporting “abortion on demand” reads like this:  “We respect personal decisions that are private, including medical and reproductive decisions, religious practices, and political views,” and “we uphold an individual’s right to choose and their access to reproductive medical care.”

Democracy only makes sense if we trust people to make important decisions. 

And the Second Amendment Alliance suggested that since Beechler is a Democrat, she has a “hidden agenda” that threatens your guns.  

Both Caldwell and Nampa city councils have had Democratic members through the years and a bevy of Democrats govern Boise. Has anyone lost their guns?   

That “radical platform” of the Idaho Democrats asks only for scientific research on gun violence, universal background checks, and keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers.  

Democrats share Idaho values.  

I don’t accuse all Republicans of wanting capital punishment for mothers who have miscarriages just because some Republican idiots in Kansas support it. Please stop claiming the most extreme Democrats represent all of us. 

Or do Republicans feel you can’t win without scary bogeyman issues?

Gun violence deserves discussion

by Judy Ferro
Gun violence is no-win topic for Idaho Democrats. Guns are not only part of our heritage and a Constitutional right, but also handy around rattlesnakes and persistent porcupines. Moreover, a 2012 count found 180 licensed gun and ammunition manufacturers in Idaho, and Idaho jobs are important.

Gun violence, however, is getting harder and harder to ignore.

Just nine years ago, there were 1.5 times as many traffic deaths as gun deaths in the United States. Two years ago the Center for Disease Control reported 33,804 traffic deaths and 33,636 gun deaths.

In seven years, traffic deaths decreased by one-third while gun deaths increased by 10 percent.

Note that no one came to take our cars. No one even restricted our right to access gasoline. There were changes—tweaks in manufacturing, driver requirements, speed limits, etc.—but Americans continued to depend on their cars and put thousands of miles on them annually.

We could be looking for similar tweaks to cut gun violence. We could, that is, if our senators and representatives dared.

We could require background check on all gun sales. Surveys indicate that 80% of Americans would like to see guns kept out of the hands of violent criminals and the mentally ill. Currently, 40 percent of all legal gun sales occur without any background checks.

If that’s too big a step, there are other options.

We would like to see mental health services improved, but we do nothing because it is the most expensive of the options. We aren’t even making drug rehab available to those who want treatment.

This week I’ve received petitions supporting two other tweaks in gun regulations. One would ban terrorists and their associates on the no-fly list from buying guns. That’s right, people deemed too dangerous to fly on our airlines are still allowed to buy guns—and we know they have bought 2,000 since 2001.

The second petition would authorize the Center for Disease Control to research gun violence. In 1996 Congress didn’t like the results of the previous year’s research and cut the CDC budget by the amount spent studying gun violence. The Center hasn’t done any weapons-related research since.

We know from data that some states have gun death rates six times the rate of others–but we have little research telling us why. Interesting fact: Idaho’s rate of gun deaths per capita is three times that of New York; Wyoming’s is four times.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders represents a state with lots of hunters and generally opposes gun regulations, but even he is willing to see discussion of some changes. In a letter this week, he suggested:
-Using background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those guilty of stalking and of domestic violence.
-Renewing the assault weapons ban and ending the sale of high capacity magazines.
-Passing Federal laws against gun trafficking and “straw purchases.”

-Funding suicide prevention programs.

I personally would like to see requirements for gun locks extended to all weapons. Computers come with options for requiring a password or fingerprint to operate them. Why not guns?

Admittedly, there is a Constitutional right to have guns. There is also a Constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion. We still have regulations, such as the ones forbidding lying under oath and the handling of poisonous snakes as a religious rite.

I’m not suggesting we adopt all the options mentioned, but we should be open to discussing them.
>           If we adopted only those regulations that have the support of the majority of citizens, it would help.