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Moderation and good manners actually win elections

Froma Harrop on

Moderation along with good manners delivered impressive victories to Democrats this week. Case in point was Andy Beshear's win over Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor's race.

Beshear's margin was slim, it is true, but Kentucky is a state that backed Donald Trump in 2016 by 30 points. The president was so alarmed at the closeness of the race that he swooped down on the state the day before to tell his rallygoers that the race was about him.

Apparently, it was. Dislike of Trump no doubt played a part in turning out 400,000 more voters than the 2015 governor's race.

The soft-spoken Beshear campaigned as a moderate while big-mouth Bevin governed like a brute. One of the more astute comments came from a woman from the suburbs across from Cincinnati. Bevin had "bad manners," she said.

And he did. He called teachers nasty names and reveled in cutting back health coverage for poor Kentuckians.

Beshear campaigned on keeping health care, education and pension reform. Bevin campaigned on how much he is like Trump.

 

Virginia saw the most dramatic turning of the tide. Democrats took control of the state legislature. (They already hold the governorship.) Here, too, the Trump creep show had turned off the formerly Republican suburbs.

Good manners have a power of their own. Recall the dignity and measured testimony of Ambassador William Taylor and former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as they appeared before the House committees.

Rep. Adam Schiff's self-control and reserved demeanor lend power to his leadership role in the impeachment inquiry. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also has the power, made greater when she reins in Democrats who use crude language.

Now, moderation isn't the same thing as good manners. There are fine-mannered radicals on both the left and right. But to the extent that good manners require acknowledging the feelings of those who disagree, they more easily coexist with moderation.

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Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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