Kentucky Voters Should Matter!
There was a time in the not so distant past when Kentucky was a bellwether state in Presidential elections. Its ideologically heterogeneous constituency selected the winner in every Presidential election between 1964 and 2004. Kentucky voters were receptive to Southern Democrats Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. However, when a Southern Democrat did not top the ticket, Kentuckians voted Republican.
Kentucky has seen its share of electoral thrillers, like in 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower edged out Democrat Adlai Stevenson by just 700 votes in the state, and in 1992, when Bill Clinton eked out a victory by less than 1%. The state was so important that Bill Clinton made an appearance the night before the election in Lexington, Kentucky.
Since then, the Blue Grass state has shifted to the Republican Party in Presidential elections, and because of this is no longer seriously contested. Presidential candidates see no reason to visit to the state, choosing instead to spend the preponderance of their time in just 15 showdown states. Kentuckians are relegated to the electoral sidelines, watching on television as Presidential candidates cultivate support in swing states.
Adding insult to injury, Kentuckians can look over the Brent Spence Bridge to an electoral wonderland, arguably the most hotly contested state in the union, Ohio. No Republican has ever won the Presidency without carrying the Buckeye State. In 2004, John Kerry would have been elected President had less than 60,000 votes in Ohio switched. Barack Obama has already visited Ohio more than 20 times since becoming President. Ohio voters are treated like kings, while Kentucky voters are treated as serfs. Kentucky political parties will likely abandon any effort to wage an electoral effort in Kentucky. Instead, they will transport volunteers over the border to solidify support in Ohio.
Fortunately, there is a way to make every vote in Kentucky commensurate with