Last week’s column, which urged people of all political stripes to support courage and statesmanship by voting for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, prompted quite a variety of replies.
The Chronicle’s Facebook posting of the story had an interesting split response.
Most of the comments were, shall we say, highly skeptical of the idea.
“brian, r u a fool, or just writing for comic relief? she is a traitor,” wrote one commenter.
Wrote another: “JHB voted by emotion, not by the constituents that voted her in office. For that, she has lost my trust and my vote.”
The button-click responses to the post told a different story, however: 39 were positive and 33 were negative.
That’s certainly not a scientific survey by any means — far from it — but it is at least a quantifiable vote (54% for, 46% against). I haven’t seen any independent polling in this race, so let’s dig down a little into this one.
If the response on this post is even somewhat reflective of how people in Lewis County, the most Trump-voting county in the 3rd Congressional District, generally feel about Rep. Herrera Beutler, I think it is a good sign for her chances in the top two primary.
I was also heartened by a flurry of messages I received in response to the column from people who showed an independent-minded pragmatic idealism that I think is a bedrock of the American spirit.
Just as I had hoped, they showed support for Herrera Beutler across the political spectrum.
Several people who had voted for President Trump said they would be supporting her for reelection to Congress.
“I voted for Donald Trump because I am a steadfast supporter of a strong economy, but he screwed up big time on January 6,” one message from a prominent Lewis County Republican read. “People with big egos have a weakness for power and will often go too far to keep it.”
Another message came in from a longtime community volunteer. I don’t know his politics, but he’s been a leader in many of the good things we’ve had in the Twin Cities over the past few decades. He wrote:
“Our society and especially our national politics are today often characterized by blind adherence to party-line politics,” he wrote to me. “Our ability to willfully not listen to one another is certainly the worst in my lifetime. Jamie and a few others fly above this approach. I strongly believe Jamie deserves our respect and support and sincerely hope she remains our Representative.”
I also heard from people who lean to the left politically, who said they’ll be casting their vote for a conservative Republican for the first time in years.
“JHB's courage on that vote was amazing,” one woman wrote to me from Chehalis. “I had never voted for her before but I was so proud knowing she represented me!”
This came in from Rochester: “Jaime Herrera Beutler is more conservative than I am, but my number one wish for leaders, at any level, is for honesty and integrity. She and the others who displayed those qualities deserve to be reelected. I fear that many Republicans have truly lost their way and strayed from a party that seemed to place much regard for family values and high moral standards.”
We’ll give the final word to one more of the Chronicle Facebook comments: “Agree or disagree, her decision and vote took more of a spine than most of our elected leaders display. Her steadfast support of our law enforcement and the Bill of Rights has earned her my vote for 2022.”
Regardless of how you vote, get your ballots in before the Aug. 2 deadline. American democracy is a participation sport. Your vote is not your only voice, but it is an important bulwark of our republic.
I can’t wait to see the top two primary results for this and many other key local races.
As always, I hope to see candidates move forward whose allegiance to our Constitution and national ideals trumps stubborn loyalty to party or any individual person.
Brian Mittge appreciates your messages. Send them to email@example.com.