Assessing the Impact of Kootenai County’s Growing Right-Wing Extremism

As a result of their recent actions, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) gave Democrats and moderate Republicans two gifts.

First, they launched a premeditated effort to take over the Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee (KCDCC). The scheme was to register GOP insiders as Democrats so they could run for seats on our central committee. Fortunately, the plan backfired, and the takeover attempt led dozens of Democrats to run for precinct captain. As a result, we now have a strong slate of central committee members representing precincts all over the county.

Second, in the May 17 Primary, the KCRCC’s electorate voted out every moderate Republican candidate serving in Kootenai County in the Idaho Legislature. In other words, the extremist candidates won every race.

Now, the KCRCC seeks to take over the Board of County Commissioners, as well as the offices of the Assessor, County Clerk, and Coroner.

Chair Brent Regan told the Press he “was delighted with the outcome.”

However, like their KCDCC takeover attempt, their aggressive election strategy may backfire.

Disaffected Conservatives are Leaving the GOP

The fact is that moderate conservative voters have now experienced a takeover within their own party. In other words, the GOP extremists have succeeded in driving out the moderates. As a result, these disaffected Republicans are building new conservative coalitions like the North Idaho Republicans, and The Idaho 97 Project. These disaffected traditional conservatives are seeking to counter the disinformation and extremism offered by their hard-core brethren. Another example of this party split are the thousands of Republicans who have joined Facebook groups such as the Idaho Women for Biden-Harris. This shift in alliance is more evidence that the right-wing extremists are losing support.

Voter records are another indicator of this disaffection. Disenchanted Republicans are leaving their party altogether and reregistering as Independents or Democrats. 

GOP Disaffection Offers a Chance to Build Bridges

This shift by conservative moderates represents an opportunity to build bridges with these political outcasts. If we can gain their trust and support between now and November, it will increase our odds of stopping the extremist takeover that now threatens our county.

Such a move would be a step toward restoring bipartisanship. Moreover, it is the only way to hold a party with a supermajority to account. As a result, it is precisely what the extremists are working to prevent. So, let us resolve now to reach out to our moderately conservative friends and loved ones and enlist them in blocking the extremist GOP takeover in November. Tell them that Democrats offer a safe and constructive alternative. We offer candidates committed to putting the needs of Kootenai County citizens ahead of partisan politics.

What Will Stop U.S. Gun Violence?

This week, we heard about the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The incident involved a lone shooter who killed at least twenty-two people, including nineteen children and two adults. The eighteen-year-old perpetrator committed this act of violence with a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle. This school shooting is the 30th occurrence this year and the deadliest incident since the Sandy Hook Massacre in 2010. It is another reminder of the consequences of the reckless gun policies supported by the GOP.

So, what more evidence do Republicans need to join with Democrats in enacting sane gun policies that reduce these acts of unprovoked violence? Someone suggested to me that it will happen the very day a mass shooting occurs at a Republican event. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

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