Why I Wish I Could Vote Against Mitch McConnell

By Daniel de la Vega on March 20, 2013

There has been a great deal of talk lately about actress and activist Ashley Judd’s potential 2014 run for Republican Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky  Mitch McConnell’s seat. Judd is, of course, well-known for her acting career, as well as being a member of the Judd “entertainment dynasty,” but she is also an outspoken advocate for sexual health and body autonomy in her role as global ambassador for YouthAIDS. McConnell, true to form, has already released a video mocking his potential challengers, Ms. Judd included. Now, for the first and probably last time in my life, I wish I lived in Kentucky, or at least I wish I could vote in their Senate elections, because there are few politicians who I would like to see unseated more than Mitch McConnell.

            While I generally prefer to vote for someone, and while Ms. Judd strikes me as an excellent candidate, I would, in this hypothetical, vote for just about anyone over McConnell, whose voting record in the Senate is a litany of affronts to women’s rights, the rights of the impoverished, laborers’ rights, good taste, and democracy itself. In short, McConnell represents a growing faction in the Republican Party which seems to prefer the idea of a corporate-run, worldwide oligarchy to a democracy of the people.

            There are far too many offenses to list in an article of reasonable length, but certain votes merit highlighting. In 2006, then-Senator Hillary Clinton proposed a budget amendment that would have allocated $100M to “expand access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women’s health care.” One might think that such an ardent anti-abortionist would support measures to prevent abortions, but one would be wrong: McConnell was one of 53 votes that sank the amendment.

            In 2006, McConnell voted against repealing the subsidy given to companies that outsource American jobs. That alone ought to be a red flag that McConnell has no concern for the average working person, but he also voted against raising the federal minimum wage twice, voted to allow employers to interfere with union organization, and, just to twist the knife, voted to repeal restrictions on the amount of ergonomic stress to which employees can be subjected.

            All of that would be bad enough, but what is truly unforgivable about McConnell is that he is a partisan of the worst order, who is concerned for the well-being of the country only inasmuch as it coincides with his own interests. Over the last several years, McConnell has repeatedly made statements like the following: “our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny president Obama a second term.” He’s clever enough to qualify it with the word “political,” implying he has other priorities regarding his responsibilities as a senator, but that hardly matters when you consider the reality, which is that McConnell only votes to stimulate the economy when his party is in the White House. That’s no way to behave if you have the nation’s interests at heart, rather than your own.

Daniel is a Senior in Linguistics at UCSC. He is interested in writing, editing, and all things political.

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