John Lyon of Stephens Media today replay
s the incoming battle cry of new Arkansas Democratic Chair Vince Insalaco's
when he took the job last week — a call to fight the Republicans from again nationalizing state elections.
Republican Chair Doyle Webb
is having none of it. As long as the black Muslim Kenyan is in the White House, it's going to be all Obama
all the time in Republican races.
The unknown is the Arkansas voter.
Obama won't be on the ballot in 2014. Mike Ross will be at the top of the Democratic ticket, running as a clone of the popular Mike Beebe. He can't win without deep roots — which means good candidates at the legislative level with active organizations. Ross gets that. That's going to be the job of the state Democratic Party and its new executive director, Candace Martin.
There'll be an orgy of national money in both the U.S. Senate, congressional and governor's races. Down the ballot — the fight for a House majority specifically — is where Arkansas's political future will be decided.
It's this simple: If Republicans do nationalize races for state legislature again — and Democrats can't sell the message of moderate, education- and business-oriented pragmatic leadership — Arkansas is doomed by a deep disaffection for President Obama. In 14 months we'll know.
Insalaco, by the way, isn't above a little nationalizing of the election himself. But he does so, not with personal animosity, but with the sounding of traditional populist Democratic themes, which once counted for a lot in hardscrabble populist Arkansas.
“The Republicans have voted against Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for our children and seniors, equal pay for equal work, and the Violence Against Women Act. They claim to represent the people, but which people exactly are they referring to? It certainly isn’t the people of Arkansas,” he said.