I am a lifelong Democrat who wishes for Democrats to succeed in as many elections as possible, but we Dems should not run a party challenger against Angus King in 2018. This is not the battle to wage.
The single biggest reason why we should not challenge him is because he votes Democratic the vast majority of the time. He does have an independent center-leaning streak once in a while and tends not to rock the boat with progressive leadership, but he is frequently indistinguishable from a modern Democrat. This is quite often the number one criticism levied against him from the center and right. As a Bernie-style progressive, his voting record isn’t perfect, but decisions like the recent opposition against Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary and Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court show me that we’re often on the same page. King also does town halls to gauge public opinion, offering a level of transparency that many Senators run from.
No matter how much we love the Democratic party, we have to put policies and bettering people’s lives ahead of the letter next to someone’s name. The country is starving for that level of leadership and conviction. Conversely, we constantly criticize Republicans for going along with Trump despite his poisonous behavior simply because he is within their party. We have a great opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. We have an opportunity to be strong where sitting Republicans have been spineless.
By running a challenger we risk splitting the vote with Brakey and the Republicans. For what? We’d be risking a 90% Democratic voter to attempt to gain a 95-98% voter. We cannot contribute to King losing his seat simply because he isn’t a Democrat. The risk far outweighs the reward.
Note: All of this assumes that we do not get Ranked Choice Voting implemented by 2018. If we do, then running a challenger against him without the threat of splitting the vote would be great.
All opinions are my own and not representative of anyone other than me. -James