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The sun's shining brighter on my old Kentucky home today.

Andy Beshear Wins

Moderate Democrat Andy Beshear stayed Trump Republican Matt Bevin from a second term as governor.

"Even Donald Trump couldn't save Matt Bevin," crowed Kentucky Democratic activist Daniel Hurt.

Trump stumped for Bevin in Lexington Monday night. Lexington is the seat of Fayette County, which went for Beshear by about 2-1.

Statewide, the race was close; Beshear won by a tad more than 5,000 votes. The ever-querulous Bevin angrily refuses to concede defeat. “Governing by tantrum has resulted in Donald Trump holding his breath until Kentucky turns blue,” says a meme circulating widely today.

Statewide, the race was close; Beshear won by a tad more than 5,000 votes. The ever-querulous Bevin angrily refuses to concede defeat. “Governing by tantrum has resulted in Donald Trump holding his breath until Kentucky turns blue,” says a meme circulating widely today.

Anyway, here is this old reporter and lifelong Kentuckian’s quick take on last night, plus a postscript.

“Andy Beshear doesn’t share our Kentucky values,” said the only Bevin campaign commercial that told the truth. Beshear’s values aren’t Bevin’s values.

Bevin’s values are Trump’s values. Bevin-Trump values include shameless pandering to prejudice, notably nativism and religious bigotry. Governor-elect Beshear’s values don’t.

Bevin is a petulant, thin-skinned, narcissistic, serial dissembler who demeans, denigrates, and demonizes any and all who dare disagree with him. Beshear is not.

Memo to that veteran Bluegrass State newspaper reporter who came on Kentucky Educational Television and bemoaned folks who call each other “socialists” and “fascists.” The scribe didn’t name parties. But Republicans on the stump and in ads repeatedly dissed Democrats as “socialists.” Nowhere on the campaign trail or in ads did I hear or see a Democrat rip Republicans as “fascists.”

I understand that you play news stories straight up the middle and give both sides their say. But it’s time for reporters, who should know better, to stop making these false equivalencies in the name of “fair and balanced” news gathering.

Kudos to Dr. Ricky L. Jones of the University of Louisville for calling out Scott Jennings, a right-wing Republican pundit and Mitch McConnell acolyte, on KET. Jennings said state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, Bevin’s running mate, and now attorney general-elect Daniel Cameron, are proof that that the Bluegrass State GOP embraces diversity.

Alvarado is the first Hispanic elected to the state legislature. Cameron has become the first African American elected individually to a statewide office in Kentucky history. (Jenean Hampton, Bevin’s running mate in 2015, is African American.) Like Bevin, all three are Ever-Trumpers.

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On the stump and in ads, Cameron engaged in his share of Bevin-Trump-style xenophobia and immigrant-bashing.

Jones rejected Jennings’s premise “that Republicans don’t have a serious problem with race because someone like Daniel Cameron, in the vein of Tim Scott in Carolina, in the vein of J.C. Watts in Oklahoma, who have very, very poor to no African American sensibilities,” was on the ticket.

Scott is a South Carolina U.S. senator; Watts, a former congressman. Jones, who is a professor, graduate director and chair of the U of L Pan-African Studies Department, said Cameron, Scott, and Watts are “black people who do not have their fingers on the pulse of the African American community at all, have no serious ties to the African American community.” (At the state NAACP convention, Cameron said he wasn’t an NAACP member and that he was proud of Trump’s endorsement.)

Matt Bevin Departs

Matt Bevin and Donald Trump

Jones added that to claim that the GOP is embracing diversity “because of these anomalous candidates is incredibly diversionary.” He also said that “to say that Republicans have not used race in this election, as well as in others, is not just diversionary, it is an absolute lie.”

To prove his point, he cited Bevin commercials “painting Hispanic Americans, and all Hispanics, as members of MS 13 … and scaring people about sanctuary cities and painting Andy Beshear as somebody who wants to just have a free flow of the Mexican, the dark horde” into Kentucky.

Jones said the commercials reminded him of Kentuckian D.W. Griffith’s virulently racist 1915 movie Birth of Nation in which “white women are going to be carried off into the night. We understand what those overtones and undertones are. And people who don’t admit to that, I think, are either being willfully ignorant, or they’re absolutely lying to your face, and we can’t allow that.”

Mum was the word from Jennings when KET moderator Renee Shaw quickly called for “a hard pivot” from Jones’ remarks.

A postscript: Kentucky was famous for old-time stump speakers. Most are gone. Democrat Greg Stumbo is one of the few left. A former attorney general and ex-state House speaker and majority leader. he lost to Cameron.

On an election eve bus tour through my western Kentucky, my neck of the Bluegrass State woods, Stumbo pulled this gem from his bottomless story bag:

Bevin was in deepest western Kentucky giving a speech when “this great big fly” was buzzing around his head. “He kept a-swattin’ at it,” according to Stumbo, adding that when the governor was finished, he asked a farmer what kind of fly it was that kept pestering him.

“I’ve never seen a fly that big up in New Hampshire where I’m from,” Stumbo “quoted” Bevin, a native New Englander. “That’s what we call a circle fly down here in these parts,” the farmer purportedly replied.

Bevin asked for an explanation. “That’s one of these flies you see here circling around the hind parts of mules and horses,” the farmer said. Naturally, Bevin took offense.


“Are you calling me a horse’s behind?” “No sir,” the farmer replied. “I ain’t calling you nothing. But I want you to know this – it’s hard to fool a circle fly.”

Berry Craig