This Is How It’s Done

Oklahoma state government has been run by the fracking industry in recent years. But maybe not for long. The state’s teachers got tired of being underpaid and seeing the education budget cut, year after year, to provide tax cuts for the energy industry. And they struck back.

They promised to make lawmakers pay for refusing to finance broader investments in education with larger tax hikes. “We got here by electing the wrong people to office,” Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, told the New York Times in April. “We have the opportunity to make our voices heard at the ballot box.” Hamm and his fellow gas giants (almost certainly) made an equal and opposite vow — that those few Republicans who held the line against tax hikes of any kind would not regret their bravery.

Last night, Oklahoma’s GOP primary season came to an end — and the teachers beat the billionaires in a rout. Nineteen Republicans voted against raising taxes to increase teacher pay last spring; only four will be on the ballot this November.

I say this tells us that the right issue really can be used as a wedge to pry corporate-captured legislators out of their seats.

6 thoughts on “This Is How It’s Done

  1. The dynamics are changing. The candidate who won the Democratic primary for governor is the black mayor of Jacksonville. He was polling in third place – so much for polls. He was a Clinton delegate but he got Sanders' endorsement for the governor's race.

    Rick Scott is pouring money into his race against the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. I'm not a fan of Nelson – he's a spineless troll for special interests, but he looks like Mother Theresa compared to Rick Scott.

    What's interesting is the potential interplay between these races. Gillam, the candidate for governor excites the young progressive base. That may affect turnout – bigly. Nelson does not excite but almost any voter will recognize Rick Scott and democrats who show up to vote will vote against Scott. So Gillam may create the turnout that saves Nelson's ass.

  2. In my own area the obviously corporate-captured Republican state rep is attempting another run with his “Lower Taxes! Better Schools!” slogans, which has apparently worked in the past. I sure do hope his opponent will spotlight all of his corporate donor connections, which sure does appear to be his real motive for running again.

  3. From what I've read, the teachers may be the ones who have organized, but the average Oklahoman has seen many examples of the state falling apart under GOP rule.

    I couldn't believe that their state police has to limit the amount of patrolling they do because they don't have money to buy enough gas to run their patrol cars. Stupid crap like that, all in the name of "starve the beast".

    • moonbat — This does make one wonder what the Democrats in Oklahoma have been doing all these years. I’m guessing nominating “Republican Lite” centrists to appeal to “swing” voters and then losing general elections, right?

  4. We live in interesting times. And it's not all bad. smiley

    Are there the makings of a musical here? 

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