Take a look at the new-look KDP

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

For what seems like an eternity, a slew of Kentucky Democrats who pack union cards have been urging Democratic candidates to stop trying to out-Republican the Republicans on the so-called social issues and start sticking to kitchen-table economic issues that made the party the Bluegrass State's political powerhouse for decades. 

The times, they are a changin'--or they seem to be.

Said Ben Self, the new state party chair, in Forward Kentucky: “A lot of times [Democrats] say in Kentucky, ‘We’re a little bit different’ or ‘We’re a different Democratic party. I say, ‘No, we’re the exact same Democratic party.”

He added, “Instead of talking about the hot button issue of the day, the Republican party wants to talk about, we need to focus on, and talk about, the things that are important to everyday Kentuckians.”

Anyway, Larry Sanderson of Paducah, a retired UA international representative, defines the social issues as "the Three Gs--God, guns and gays." In rural Kentucky especially, the Republicans have been pandering on them for years. 

Self, a Lexington microbrewer, wants the party to focus statewide on three other "Gs" -- good jobs, good healthcare and good pensions.  

In any event, each Democratic Insider, the party's emailed newsletter, comes with a pair of blue "What We Stand For" cards designed by Brad Bowman, the state party's communications director. County party leaders, some of whom are also union leaders, are invited to download and print them. (Click here and here.)

According to the cards, the Kentucky Democratic Party stands for:

Healthcare for All: "A basic human right."

Fighting the Opioid Crisis: "The state must provide funding for comprehensive treatment centers."

Honoring pensions: "Honor our promise to pay pension benefits through tax reform, generating new revenue and end the insulting attack on our state employees and public educators who have rightfully earned those benefits."

Building the Middle Class: "A strong economy requires a stable working class earning good wages without carrying the burden of paying the largest share of taxes." 

An Honest Day's Pay for an Honest Day’s Work: "The repeal of prevailing wage reduces the working class’ annual income by thousands of dollars. Current legislation passed by the Republican majority hurts the working class’ abilities to care for our families and decreases our quality of life."

Protecting Our Public Schools: "A public education should be the state’s greatest asset. Just as we believe the Constitution protects all Kentuckians with equal rights, a strong public school system with a stable pool of talented educators creates upward mobility for all Kentuckians, not just the privileged few."

Unions are officially non-partisan. But this senior citizen Democrat with an AFT retiree card in his wallet doesn't know of any union member who wouldn't be on board with all those points.  

“The people don’t want a phony Democrat,” President Harry Truman warned in 1952. “If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.”

It looks like Self and Bowman are heeding "Give 'Em Hell Harry's" famous admonition.