Monday, June 24, 2024

OPINION: The middle ground may be expanding

by EVAN KOCH/More Perfect Union
| April 5, 2023 1:00 AM

In a previous article I wrote that the middle ground in Kootenai County politics is rapidly disappearing. But I may have been wrong about that.

No matter how repulsive the KCRCC might get, a lot of people will never affiliate with the Democratic Party. And, especially following the Trump presidency, many will never again be Republicans.

What we hope is that reasonable voters are no longer automatically voting with blind loyalty for “R” or “D” candidates.

After years of supposed candidate “vetting” by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, we have public officials with plenty of strong opinions, but not the expertise to govern. They can be expected to defund public schools, destroy North Idaho College, ban books in libraries, politicize the County Assessor’s Office, and so on.

To save our county from these extremist politicians, reasonable Republican voters are joining with conservative Democrats in increasing numbers. They realize that we are in this fight together.

And that the only way to preserve American and Kootenai County values is to support candidates and officials who govern from the center regardless of their party affiliation.

On most issues, the voters of Kootenai County agree wholeheartedly. And we can act on that agreement when we vote. But we have to vote. All of us.

The very low turnout in the March election allowed extremists to defeat the levies in the Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai school districts.

Unless we pass the levies on May 16, our schools will lose a whopping 25% of its annual operating funds. Two schools will close and some 300 employees will be laid off. Teachers and staff members will be gone, along with any program not considered absolutely basic (

No reasonable person wants to see that happen, whether they are a Democrat or a Republican.

Socially conscious people, no matter their affiliation, can come together to preserve education for our kids.

That explains how the middle ground of Kootenai County politics may actually be expanding.

Public education should unite us. And make us feel more civically involved and patriotic.

In fact, public education builds a bigger middle ground and thereby builds a more perfect union.

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Evan Koch is chairman of the Kootenai County Democrats.