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As a Democrat, I was happy that some voters found a 30-year law that indicated there should be a runoff election for a city council seat if no candidate got a majority of the votes.

Evangeline Beechler, chair of the Idaho State Democrats, was getting a second chance.

What wasn’t there to like?

Then, came the postcards attacking Beechler for being a (gasp, ugh) DEMOCRAT.

Attacks are like packing tape. Logic and facts may peel the tape off, but the adhesive that remains tarnishes the target and attracts dirt.

I’ve seen statewide candidates attacked, but, locally, the public voice of the Republicans has been civil. Sure, some vandals have slashed tires and made death threats, but the leaders have been courteous.

Democrats who got the first postcards were confused – so Beechler was a friend of Obama and shared their support for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Very informative.

But postcards that followed were worse, claiming Democrats had a “radical platform” and a threatening “secret agenda.”

It wasn’t until the fourth postcard I grasped why Republicans were bringing the party’s weaponized national issues—immigration, abortion, and guns – to a city election.

Republicans are treating a Canyon County Democrat as a serious rival for the first time during my time as an activist.

They are scared.

For 30 years Caldwell has been safe territory for Republicans in partisan elections. Now, the histories of these two candidates—John McGee, once the Republican’s golden boy, against the Democrats’ state chair—made party loyalties an issue.

Parties don’t have ready arguments dealing with issues like city services and recreation programs.

But the Republicans have a backup plan. Nationally, the party has spent billions demonizing Democrats, aka liberals and progressives, through the years.

It’s paid off in Idaho. Thousands of Idahoans who support public education and Medicaid Expansion continue to vote for Republicans who don’t.

While Democrats are known for dithering, Republicans have found that repeating arguments forcefully over time, gains them a sense of authority that many accept, even it they are not in full agreement.

So they attacked via postcard.

Yes, the ACLU is a liberal organization. Ironically, its fight to prevent government infringement on individuals’ civil rights mirrors that of the NRA, only ACLU supports rights for a wide range of people, including minorities, women, the LGBT community and prisoners.

During the past two years, the ACLU has led the fight to stop the government from caging immigrant children and separating even toddlers and babies still breastfeeding from their parents.

That “radical platform” of the Idaho State Democrats supporting “abortion on demand” reads like this: “We respect personal decisions that are private, including medical and reproductive decisions, religious practices, and political views,” and “we uphold an individual’s right to choose and their access to reproductive medical care.”

Democracy only makes sense if we trust people to make important decisions.

And the Second Amendment Alliance suggested that since Beechler is a Democrat, she has a “hidden agenda” that threatens your guns.

Both Caldwell and Nampa city councils have had Democratic members through the years and a bevy of Democrats govern Boise. Has anyone lost their guns?

That “radical platform” of the Idaho Democrats asks only for scientific research on gun violence, universal background checks, and keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers.

Democrats share Idaho values.

I don’t accuse all Republicans of wanting capital punishment for mothers who have miscarriages just because some Republican idiots in Kansas support it. Please stop claiming the most extreme Democrats represent all of us.

Or do Republicans feel you can’t win without scary bogeyman issues?

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Judy Ferro is a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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