Steven Allen Adams discusses the Kentucky governor race in today's Wheeling papers:
First of all, let’s pop some balloons and rain on some parades. A few narratives are out there on why this happened. The first one was that teachers played a role in ousting Bevin.
Bevin ran afoul of teacher unions during his first term. He tried to reform the teachers’ pension system in a way that upset educators, he tried to cut education spending and he made substantial changes to several state boards that deal with education issues. No doubt unions were fired up to boot Bevin, but that’s not solely why he lost.
Here is Adams’ reasoning:
Take a look at the numbers. If the teachers unions had really rallied to defeat Bevin, I assume the margin of victory would have been larger.
For proof, Adams then explains how Republicans won all of the other major offices. I’m confused – if the teachers only campaigned against Bevin and he was the only major Republican to lose, doesn’t that suggest the important role they played in his defeat? And that’s what other news sources concluded -- if you read about the Kentucky vote online, the Kentucky teachers get most of the credit. From Time’s analysis:
While there were several big issues at stake in this gubernatorial election on Tuesday — including abortion access and Medicaid expansion— political experts say Bevin’s attacks on public education and his criticism of teachers likely sealed his fate and buoyed Democrat Andy Beshear, who led the vote by a margin of about 5,000 votes and declared victory Tuesday night, although Bevin has not yet conceded.
And here is Kentucky senator Rand Paul:
Appearing on "Meet the Press" Sunday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said that the "teachers' anger came out" in the election and swung the election in favor of Beshear.
See also, The Washington Post:
In a Kentucky election, aggrieved teachers flex their muscles
How the teachers strikes gave Democrats a win in deep red Kentucky
Adams doesn’t believe teachers deserve much credit for Bevin’s defeat. Similarly, Adams has downplayed teacher activism in West Virginia. As in Kentucky, the activism grew out of what teachers saw as a lack of respect. But Adams doesn't see it. For example, in a recent column on the WV’s low test scores, he wrote
I’m certainly not going to bash our teachers, and I’m confused who was bashing teachers in the last several elections as recent letter-to-the-editor writers have claimed, as I don’t recall any teacher-bashing by politicians.
Adams might do well to talk to area teachers about Ryan Ferns (our local state senator until the last election) and ask them about what Ferns had to say about teachers and their unions. (See here and here for examples.) Along the same lines, in a column preceding last year’s election, Adams downplayed teacher activism and argued that teachers would have little effect upon the election -- locally, for instance, he predicted that teachers would vote like other residents and Ferns would win.*
Perhaps Adams should talk to some teachers.
*I cannot find this Adams column online.