By John Blankley
Are you free for phone banking? Can you volunteer to knock on doors? The campaign is in full swing for state and national elections this November and we Democrats are as energized this year as we were in last year’s local elections when Sandy Litvack came close in the First Selectman’s race, Howard Richman defeated a Republican incumbent for Tax Collector and control of the BET passed to Democrats for the first time in living memory.
Greenwich Democrats are high profile: we have Ned Lamont for Governor, incumbent Jim Himes for Congress, Alex Bergstein for State Senate and both Laura Kostin and Steve Meskers for the State Assembly. All our candidates were received enthusiastically at last week’s fund-raising picnic, the largest anyone can remember. Speakers included, not only the local candidates, but also our two U.S. Senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.
So we have intensity and momentum but why should Greenwich voters choose Democrats this Fall? We send almost $1 billion to Hartford every year and we want a real say in how the money is spent. Democrats from Greenwich would be so novel we would command attention! In addition, all the candidates are serious-minded people running on positive policy platforms to boost economic growth and job creation, fix our infrastructure problems, address the long festering issue of unfunded pension liabilities, and defend our nation-leading education standards, gun controls and environmental protections. What’s not to like? This is a platform that appeals to all Democrats and large swathes of unaffiliated voters. In fairness, our Republican friends share some of these objectives too. But decades of sending Republicans to Hartford hasn’t cured any of our ills.
Space does not permit a detailed analysis of all the state’s policy issues and potential solutions, but I suspect that any such considerations will be swamped by the much-anticipated “blue wave.” I believe that presidential politics and headlines will grab more attention than debates about state taxes, bonding and spending. And here is the real source of energy in our party today: our revulsion at a dishonest and indecent President, a man in thrall to foreign dictators, seemingly intent on abandoning decades of global leadership that championed world peace through the control of nuclear arms and the promotion of multinational trade deals. And most shameful of all in my view is the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, a concern for the future of all humanity.
I know I can speak for all my fellow Democrats and I would hope for most of my fellow citizens when I say that I found it humiliating to see our President openly derided by the nations of the world for his braggadocio and rodomontade at the UN General Assembly this week.
Should national politics affect state elections? I personally would prefer they not, but like it or not they will. Leave aside our general aversion to the President, Greenwich voters will surely have in mind the tax increase aimed directly at Connecticut and other blue-tending states with the limitation on the deductibility of state and local taxes.
There are very good reasons to vote for Democrats in November: simply this, good policies and good candidates.
John Blankley was recently a candidate for State Treasurer and former member of the BET