38-year Paulette Jordan would make history if she wins the gubernatorial race in Idaho on November 6. She would not only become the first women governor of Idaho but also the first Native American to climb to the most of Governorship in any state of the United States in its entire history.
But the odds are high against her success. Idaho is a Republican fortress which hasn’t voted for a Democratic President since Lyndon B Johnson and hasn’t had a Democratic Governor since 1995.
According to some estimates, GOP supporters outnumber Democrats 4-to-1 in the state.
The electoral topography of the state is dominated by rural and suburban areas where the conservatives dominate.
The 32-point victory that Donald Trump scored over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential elections further testifies to the redness of this province.
So, does Jordan stand any chance of pulling a rabbit out of the hat and earning a victory that will exalt her to a position of superstardom in national politics?
Only time will tell but we can certainly look at her strengths that propelled her through the primary process and made her the nominee.
Jordan’s Victory In The Primaries
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Jordan’s election campaign in the primaries had its roots in the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination primaries.
Bernie Sanders of Vermont registered a thumping victory over the eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the state with more than 3/4th of the vote. This established the fact that while the state overall is very conservative, the energy in the Democratic base of the party is with the progressive wing which saw Bernie Sanders as its darling.
Jordan realised this and ran a campaign on similar progressive issues. Her support for the expansion of Medicaid and stress on promoting cleaner sources of energy endeared her to the Left of the Democratic Party.
This earned her the support of various progressive organisations like Planned Parenthood, Democracy for America, Indivisible, People for the American Way and, quite crucially, People for Bernie Sanders. Even Cher supported her.
This growth of support among the base of Democrats secured her the nomination in place of the establishment’s preferred candidate AJ Balukoff.
Her Strategy And Policy Preferences For Gubernatorial Election
While she may have tapped into the latent energy of the Democratic base in Idaho, Jordan realizes that winning the main election in such a deeply conservative state requires some elements in her persona and agenda that appeal to conservatives also.
Hence she has stressed on the fact that she is a gun-owner and likes hunting, though not connected to the NRA. She is also personally pro-life while supporting abortion rights in her political stand.
Another interesting stance she has taken is supporting decriminalization of marijuana possession and legalization of marijuana’s medical form.
But where she can really make a dent in Republican popularity is her appeal to the rural voters.
By campaigning for the right of the state to hold onto its public land and prevent it from privatization, she is attempting to win over the rural territory which constitutes a vast part of the state.