Oregon’s Lori Stegmann Boldly Stands for Something—She Joins “Team Blue’s Big Tent Party”-- July 26, 2018
As the old saying goes, “Turnabout is fair play.” In 1946, GOPers running against unpopular wartime price controls, food shortages, a series of labor strikes, and then unpopular Democratic President Harry Truman used the saying, “Had enough? Vote Republican.” After 16 years, the GOP gained 55 House seats, taking back that chamber. The Democratic defeat was then the largest since they were trounced in the 1928 pro-GOP wave that brought Herbert Hoover to the presidency. One of the freshman GOP Congressman elected in 1946 was Californian Richard M. Nixon.
Welcome to 2018. Now we have in the Oval Office the most ignorant, bigoted, and unqualified person ever to hold the White House. And I’m now going there. Demagogue Donald owes his Electoral College “victory” to extensive meddling by Russia’s Vladimir Putin. If there was any doubt, Trump showed he is Putin’s ”babushka poodle” at the horrible Helsinki, Finland summit. Trump then took adversary Putin’s statements about not meddling in our 2016 election over the entire U.S. intelligence establishment’s opposing view. In the latest very reliable Quinnipiac (Q) Poll, only 38% of Americans support Donald while 58% oppose him. Democrats disapprove of Donald 92%-7%, Independents give him a 61%-32% thumbs down rating. Women disapprove of Trump 64%-31% and even men give him a 51%-45% negative score. The only group still in Donald’s corner? Surprise, it’s “Team Red” voters, who approve him by 82%-15% (poll.qu.edu). With a constant viewing diet of GOP propaganda channel FOX News, this result should not shock anyone.
Few House and Senate GOPers ever utter more than mild words of condemnation to Demagogue Donald, lest they be “primaried” out by even “Redder” plus wackadoodles. This GOP congressional majority does nothing concrete to check despicable Donald’s actions However, there is, lately, a sliver of hope. Some Republican officials at the local level are starting to leave the party that Donald refashioned in his extremist/wacky image. Chairman of the Belmont County, Ohio GOP Chris Gagin abruptly resigned this post after Donald’s Helsinki comments. Gagin stated that after hearing Trump openly take the position of Putin over our intelligence community, “something snapped.” Gagin stated he was still a Republican and had no plans to join the Democrats, since it was important “for Republicans to have that larger conversation (opposing Trump) within the family (cnn.com, Rod, 7/18/18).” IMHO, Gagin is on a “fool’s errand” in trying to change the “minds” of fellow GOPers frozen by FOX and Donald.
A better approach was that taken by Lori Stegmann. On 7/24/2018m Stegmann (58), elected a Multnomah County, OR commissioner in 2016, changed her 40-year GOP affiliation to that of a Democrat. Her party change won’t affect county business, because seats on the board of commissioners are non-partisan (oregonlive.com, Portland News, Friedman, 7/25/18). So why did Stegmann join “Team Blue?” In Stegmann’s words, she “cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration.” Stegmann cited the Trump administration policy of separating parents and children after border crossings (Far too many of them have yet to be reunited despite court orders). This issue is personal to her. Stegmann was born in S. Korea where she became an orphan. She was adopted by an American family and later became a naturalized citizen. In Stegmann’s words, “I serve on an all-women board. I’m a minority. I’m an immigrant.” She stated that GOP rhetoric casting immigrants as a threat is a “false narrative (the real “fake news”).” She added, “I think people need to see we’re all immigrants.” Stegmann went on to say that the Democratic Party better fits her politics, calling it “a big tent party,” words the GOP previously used to describe itself (See oregonlive.com). She added, “I have not changed but the Republican Party most certainly has (oregonlive.com).”
Stegmann sent a strong message to her former GOPers and the rest of the political world. She called “this decision (to become a Democrat) one about who I am, what I believe in and my core values. And if you don’t stand for something, then you stand for nothing (oregonlive.com, Friedman).” Exactly.
Stegmann is the type of individual whom the GOP always believed easily fit into their camp. Not anymore. Before entering politics, she was a small business owner who specialized in commercial insurance for more than 20 years in the same neighborhood she grew up in. She was a moderate GOPer who admired OR GOPers like Sen. Mark Hatfield and Gov. Tom McCall, people who no longer are welcome by the Tea Party/Trump gang. Before being elected to the Multnomah County Commission, Stegmann served on the Gresham Planning Commission, as a board member of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, and on the Rockwood Stakeholders Group. She then served six years on the Gresham City Council. She was its President in 2014. She currently serves on District 4 of the Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners. District 4 includes Gresham, Troutdale, Corbett, and other small communities east of Portland (multco.us, oregonlive.com).
Democrats must welcome Stegmann and encourage other GOP Trump defectors to join them. Yes, the Q Poll gives Dems a 12-point lead on a generic House ballot, a little more than three months before the 11/2018 midterm elections. The Marist, NPR and PBS NewsHour polls also found “Team Blue” with a 10-point lead over the “Red” camp. However, over three months is political eons to go and all the arm-chair polling in the world means nothing. It’s only the 11/06/2018 midterm poll that counts. How do we get more GOPers to join Stegmann and push the Trump gang into a really irrelevant and isolated minority? There is only one answer--Democrats must come out in droves on 11/06/2018 to flip the House, possibly the Senate, and numerous governorships and state legislative chambers.