Oregon Senate Candidate Jessica Gomez is in an awkward spot.
She is trying to be in a middle that may not exist.
She is a Latina in a Republican Party uncomfortable with Latinas. She is a soft spoken moderate when both Democrats and Republicans say they want more civility in politics, but are in fact moving to motivate their partisan activists. That's where the marginal votes are.
|State Senator Alan DeBoer|
This blog's profile of Jessica Gomez created useful responses. Republican State Senator Alan DeBoer is retiring and has endorsed Jessica Gomez as his successor. He wrote a thoughtful comment asserting that there is, in fact, middle ground in the Oregon legislature and that it serves an important purpose. Those swing votes in the legislature, which deny Democrats a super-majority, force bi-partisan solutions which are better for Oregon, he writes.
The comment below is lightly edited for clarity:
Alan DeBoer writes:
"I can't help but write a response to this blog, and the premise a Guest Comment asserted that the Party caucuses lock people into one side or another. There is a middle. It is to do the right thing for solutions to the big problems of our State.
The example I will use was just illustrated Monday in the one day session. Democrats (with the exception of Mark Hass) voted to expand a decrease in taxes to the rich. They did this at a time we are working on increased funding to education, health care, mental illness, etc. It takes 22 million out of a two year budget and was done under pressure from their caucus to support the governors re-election against all they have worked to do in repealing the tax structure that passed in 2013.
If we give theDemocrats a super majority they will ignore the minority and blaze ahead with programs, when we have better solutions that we only get when we all work together. I can tell you that Jessica will make a difference and the Republican caucus will be better with her there. They have certainly allowed me to voice my opinions and follow my heart when voting. I wrote a tax plan (referred to as the DeBoer plan) that raised taxes only on the wealthy, dedicated all the money to fund PERS, and helped schools from the increase in PERS costs they will be facing. It went nowhere, as the majority party wouldn’t want a Republican tax plan as the optics weren’t good.
Jessica Gomez confounds Republicans and Democrats, both.
Republicans had a choice in the nomination process, and they nearly nominated Curt Ankerberg. I have left in place Ankerberg's comments for the past two days of blog posts so readers can observe for themselves his fitness for office. I consider his near-victory, despite being outspent 40-to-1, amid extensive reportage of his legal troubles and medical incapacities, a powerful signal of the GOP mood. Ankerberg says voters don't like her policy views.
He also demeans her personally. I am uncomfortable having this blog be a venue for his incivility, but I am leaving the comments in place, for now, as primary source material. Republican voters--at least 48% of them--tolerate Ankerberg's behavior. Trump exposed a simple reality about the American mood when we observed him broad-brushing Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, and then go on to demolish fifteen primary election opponents. So, too, with Ankerberg's comments on Gomez and others. Ankerberg exposes what behavior and language is apparently acceptable to a great many Republicans.
|Ankerberg gets 48% of vote.|
She said a lot of Republicans distrusted her.
Democrats, too, had a choice. Attorney Thad Guyer, a frequent guest commenter on this blog, noted that Democrats chose a white male senior citizen, Jeff Golden, instead of Athena Goldberg, a charismatic woman who had the support of the traditional institutional friends of Democrats, including women's reproductive rights, unions, and environmental groups. Democrats chose independence over alliances. And as regards Jessica Gomez, he wrote that Democrats "celebrate by trashing her as a phony because she is campaigning for bipartisanship. Indeed, that delegitimizing of her will be the one thing we have with the deplorables who attack her for not mouthing conservative battle cries. Beat down the Latina because she says we need to start somewhere in reducing the political bloodlust."
|In headgear near "clean room."|
Democrats are forced to thread a political needle, arguing that Jessica Gomez sounds good, but cannot stay good. She is the kind of person they want to see more of in government, but not exactly. She is an idealist, but naive. She would be co-opted and corrupted, they say.
It is left, then, for Gomez and Alan DeBoer to be the idealists hoping to implement a better future of unifying effective government in Salem. The system can work, they say, if we put good hearted bipartisan people into government, and elect them now.
They are beset on both sides. From the left Jeff Golden, the voice of "immense possibilities" for positive change, says that the current system of politics and elections is inherently corrupt to its very core, and both Democrats and Republicans who are elected with the assistance of organized groups and money are compromised and indebted by it. In Golden's narrative, he would stand nearly alone in being personally free from PAC influence and if we elect him he would be an exemplary example of uncompromised political leadership and courage.
From the right Curt Ankerberg asserts that Jessica Gomez is a fraud and corrupt to the core, as is nearly everyone else in government, business, and media. As a genuine conservative, in his narrative he would expose the corruption that besets the entire system of crony capitalism.
In either case, Jeff Golden or Curt Ankenberg, each would be a lonely voice of reform in a thoroughly corrupt system.
Jessica Gomez and Alan DeBoer are the ones saying our political system can work and that an election makes a positive difference right now. They are saying that Gomez's election tips the system toward bi-partisanship and civility, so your vote really matters. DeBoer says that one person can make a big difference, and he has seen it happen. Gomez says she is a moderate who can be that person.