Several extremist candidates have, in recent weeks, avoided making stupid statements in the spirit of "legitimate rape." But they are no less extremist for going easy on the rhetoric in order to lull voters into complacency. Those who intend to cast their votes for candidates who have softened their public image, going from the promise of castration to sounding like "patriots," for instance, should ask themselves if bait and switch as a campaign strategy promises better law-making than we have seen so far from an obstructionist Congress. They should ask if they really want to swell the ranks of those who have blocked gun control, minimum wage increases for hardworking people, immigration reform, equal pay for women, lessening of the punitive debt burden on students weighed down by loans and women's right to make decisions about their own reproductive health.
Joni Ernst: (Iowa) Cancels several meetings with editorial boards to avoid answering questions on ANY issues. Voters should expect her to deliver on her convictions, nicely summarized by a Huffpost commenter, Linda Starnes:
Believes states should be able to nullify federal laws.
Believes anyone trying to implement the Affordable Care Act in Iowa should be arrested.
Believes the crackpot Agenda 21 as touted by Glenn Beck that claims the United Nations wants to turn farm land and golf courses into wilderness.
Believes doctors who perform legal, constitutionally protected abortions should be arrested.
Believes in and endorses personhood amendments, effectively ending access to contraception of any kind.
As President Clinton, in campaigning for Bruce Braley pointed out, on things like the minimum wage, other entitlement programs and agriculture policy, voters have a better friend in Bruce Braley than in the hog castrater.
Cory Gardner (Colorado), who, not so long ago collected signatures at his church for a so-called personhood initiative that says Life Begins at Conception, has suddenly found conviction in the importance of not restricting contraception or a woman's right to choose. He has been rewarded with a surge in the polls. Voters should ask themselves if he will rediscover the strength of his convictions once he has their vote. Mark Udall has consistently been on the side of protecting women's rights that are more under threat than GOP women seem to realize. He can be counted on to protect the environment and understand the importance of reducing the crushing burden of student debt.
Scott Brown (New Hampshire), thinks healthcare for as many Americans as possible through Obamacare is a bad idea. He aligns with big companies, special interests and Wall Street and as Chris Matthews said, Scott Brown did a hop, skip and a jump over from Massachusetts where voters had said NO to him and YES to Elizabeth Warren. Voters -- especially millennials -- should remember that during his brief stint in the Senate, Brown voted to cut Pell Grants that help students from low and moderate income households. In Jeanne Shaheen New Hampshire voters have someone who has a proven record as a governor and as a senator, of working to help small businesses. She has challenged big corporate agri-businesses and utility companies to lower electricity bills for consumers. She is a friend to students from K through college, improving access and reducing cost. New Hampshire voters have in Shaheen a record they can believe in versus the male chauvinist bombast of Brown.
More Consistency in Hawaii Candidates
Charles Djou (Hawaii) says he would like to add diversity to the all-DEM Hawaii Congressional delegation. While he appears earnest and hard-working, it is hard to see how adding yet another Republican to the chorus of nay-sayers and unproductive GOP voices in Congress is likely to help. Mark Takai will strengthen the efforts of the Democrats to get things done, not just act reflexively in opposition to the White House as the GOP has over the past six years.
David Ige vs Duke Aiona The Governor's race in Hawaii has also produced an avalanche of expensive direct mail. The likeable former Lieutenant Governor, Aiona, has on the same ticket for his former job, a pastor who is anti-marriage equality. Both Duke Aiona and Elwin Ahu want to save Hawaii for Jesus. David Ige, on the other hand, is focused on the secular business of governing and fostering an economy that is easier on working people struggling to make ends meet.
Millennials at the University of Hawaii, Manoa ponder the issues facing them in the election as they listen to OHA candidate, Mililani Trask.
Casting a vote for OHA Trustees
Hawaii voters too often squander their right to vote for trustees to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). At the final debate on Hawaii island, human rights attorney and community advocate, Mililani Trask pointed out that there are many challenges ahead: housing, health, education, domestic violence, drug abuse, failure to protect natural resources. Changing the way OHA manages its assets and ensuring greater accountability are critical, she said, to making sure that money is used wisely to address these challenges. Candidate Carmen Hulu Lindsey who brings to her candidacy extensive experience in land administration, emphasized the need to manage Hawaii's resources in a smart, sustainable way and ensure all voices are heard.
No matter where you stand on the issues, VOTE.
And a special word to Millenials: if you want to assert your independence, VOTE. To NOT vote is to let your parents -- or someone else's parents and grandparents -- make decisions that will shape YOUR lives.