Reaction to the Holmes Defection
The reviews are in, and they’re not good.
Constituents in her district, her colleagues in the legislature, and activists who have volunteered time and money are disgusted with the post-election bait-and-switch by Rep. Lindsey Holmes before she is even sworn in.
Droves of Anchorage voters have heaped scorn and shame-on-yous upon Holmes in the past 24 hours, demanded their money back, feeling “punked,” and demanding a recall. To say Holmes, if seated, would begin the new session with very awkward relationships is an understatement – especially since her defection to the red side has now given the Republicans an unearned, but very powerful supermajority in the House.
“Did they give you permission to vote against the majority over 98% of the time?” outgoing Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins asked of Holmes. “Otherwise I don’t see how you’re going to be able to live with yourself.”
Turns out Holmes enjoys ripping into The Naked Baker aka Rep. Bill Stoltze (R), but will now presumably wish to become his BFF in the majority caucus.
“She came out to the valley to help me with debate prep,” recounts Democratic activist and Stoltze’s former opponent Beverly Serrano. “She said Stoltze was awkward, and very difficult to work with.”
The policy implications of Holmes’ maneuver are serious. With a new-found supermajority, Republicans will be able to tap the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR), for which they need a three-fourths vote. And you better believe they will need that after giving billions back to the oil companies.
“The real tactical problem with what Lindsey did is that it gave the Republicans a supermajority. Democrats lose seats on Finance and Resources, along with the ability to ask tough questions,” explained one Democratic lawmaker. “Republicans now have enough votes to move from the second to third reading on bills in the same day, which means we may have no time to even offer amendments.”
“Rep. Holmes has deceived the voters of her district. She should have been honest about her intentions. If she intended to serve as a Republican, she should have run as a Republican,” fumed incoming Democratic Party Mike Wenstrup.
“Most legislators from both parties believe in the principles they espouse,” he added. “Lindsey Holmes’ only core belief seems to be the importance of her own ambition.”
Here’s what really depresses me about this sorry, disgraceful affair.
Think about how well progressives would do in elections if they were actually contested and administered on the up and up. If they actually and accurately reflected the policy preferences of the voters—which is kind of the point, no? Alas, there are far too many with their thumbs on the scale for that to be the result.
First, a good chunk of our electorate faces overt, organized voter suppression. Those who make it past that cannot then in full confidence assume the Diebold machine will actually count their votes toward the intended candidate.
And should a few of our candidates make it past those hoops and actually get elected, they can apparently be bought off with a plum committee assignment.