My friends and I here in Portland, Oregon like to, perhaps too smugly, congratulate ourselves for living in one of the most progressive states in the country. We consider ourselves lucky to live in a blue state. Many of us have friends and family who live in Trump country and we feel sorry for them. Throughout year and a half of appalling news about what Trump was doing to the country, we were perhaps naively sanguine about the future of Oregon’s remaining a safely 100% Democratic state.
We have two high-profile progressive senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and a governor, Kate Brown, who is generally considered to be the most progressive in the United States. Only Kate Brown is running for re-election.
Imagine the sinking feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach when I saw the title of this article in HuffPost:
Reading the article did not do anything to reassure me.
Here are a few excerpts:
Kate Brownis easily the most progressive governor in the country. She just signed an executive orderbanning offshore drilling in Oregon. She responded to the Parkland, Florida, shooting by signing a new gun safety law. She signed the nation’s strongest reproductive health law, and when President Donald Trump began targeting undocumented immigrants for deportation, she beefed upOregon’s sanctuary laws.
So you would think, in a year when Democratic voter enthusiasm is through the roof and expected to translate into big wins for the party in November, that someone like Brown would be comfortably coasting to victory in her re-election.
It’s not the case.
Brown has just a slight edgeover her GOP challenger, state legislator Knute Buehler. Despite Oregon being an entirely Democrat-led state, her race has become so tight that Cook Political Report last month shifted its predictionfrom “lean Democrat” to “toss-up.”
A few days ago I was at a Target store and saw Kate Brown’s Republican opponent’s big blue campaign RV. I thought I should take a photo but figured “why bother, Knute Beuhler doesn’t stand a chance” so I didn’t.
Now that the news has come out that race is so close and I find myself writing this I am thinking that had I taken the photo I’d have an original photo to post here. I could have knocked on the door to see if he was inside and gotten a picture. After all, he’d have no way to know that I am a liberal online writer.
In the past few months theGOP decided Knute Buehler had a chance and started funneling money his way, Nike’s founder is backing Buehler while the Oregon based company worked with Brown to advance LGBTQ equality legislation, gave $25,000 to her campaign.
The two most read newspapers in the Portland area are The Oregonian and Willamette Week. The former endorsed Beuhler and the later endorsed Brown. There’s a long debate between the editors of each paper here.
While Buehler is moderate in some ways, for example suporting our status as a sanctuary state, he will set back our state in a big way if he wins.
He is far to right right of Brown in others (from HuffPost)
- he voted againstthe Reproductive Health Equity Act, one of Brown’s crowning achievements as governor, which enshrined Roe v. Wade into state law.
- he voted against tighter gun background checks and opposed a bill allowing courts to take weapons from people found to pose an imminent risk of violence
- he voted against standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- hecelebrated Trump’s pardons of Oregon ranchers convicted of arson on federal land in 2015, calling them “good people.”
- He’s also part of a crew of Republican candidates for governor who are openly skeptical about requiring vaccinations for school children.
I live in a senior community facility in the Portland suberbs where 95% of the residents, both Democrats and Republicans, are appalled by the way Trump has taken the country down the road of authoritarianism.
I’ve invited a few of my single friends to come to my place to watch the election returns come in next week so we wouldn’t have to be alone.
We all hoped that there would be cause to celebrate the Democrats winning the House. Most of us were sure our great governer would win. Here’s more about why we are all-in for Kate Brown (from HuffPost):
Brown said she’s ready to keep using her role as governor to push back on Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-environment, anti-LGBTQ policies. She actually has a federal rapid response team in place to respond not to any particular issue, but to the president himself.
“We know when he is in hot water with the press, he is going to do something radical,” she said.
The governor wasted little time responding to Trump’s request in April that governors prepare to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to beef up security against immigrants. Brown publicly refused.
“Appalling,” she said. “These troops that give their lives for us during wildfire season, hurricanes and in battle should not be used as political pawns to make up for his inability to build a wall.”
While my friends and I tended to be too anxious to be much more than cautiously optimistc about the overall election results, we all thought the governor’s race was a sure thing.
Now the cliche “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” comes to mind. I don’t want to find myself poleaxed in progressive Portland for being so optimistic about Kaye Brown being a shoo-in. .