Opinion: Prop 2, Schroeder race don’t add up

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    LISA JAMES/Press file Rebecca Schroeder, whose son receives treatment for Cystic Fibrosis, questions Congressman Raul Labrador. Schroeder's emotional account of her family's struggles received a standing ovation at the town hall meeting in the summer of 2017 at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene.

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    LISA JAMES/Press file Rebecca Schroeder, whose son receives treatment for Cystic Fibrosis, questions Congressman Raul Labrador. Schroeder's emotional account of her family's struggles received a standing ovation at the town hall meeting in the summer of 2017 at Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene.

Are Idaho ballots written in a foreign language?

See, I’m trying to figure out some of the odder decisions made by our state’s voters.

I don’t understand how you can be running on a winning issue, something embraced by a huge statewide majority, and get blitzed yourself — even though the issue itself will become law.

It’s about being a Democrat, I guess.

Has anyone got a better explanation?

I’m not picking on Republicans here, either. We’re a conservative state and most are going to win.

However …

I’m really, really puzzled by a math problem.

Just two days ago, Idaho voters broke a red-state trend (and six years of dawdling by their own governor and legislature) by approving a citizen-backed initiative to expand Medicaid.

They didn’t just vote for it, they gave it a rocket ride with 61 percent support.

TO PUT that number into perspective, two other Republican-dominated states also passed Medicaid expansion propositions on Tuesday.

Nebraska voters approved it with 54 percent of votes cast, Utah with 53.

So here in Idaho, basically we had a rout.

Clearly, citizens understood that people in the health care “gap” need to be protected — plus, they’d learned that expanding Medicaid also would be a financial bonus for the state and its taxpayers.

So they passed the initiative in a breeze.

At the same time, however, voters gave equally large victories to several Republicans who have been crabbing about Medicaid, hollering about the evils of Obamacare and campaigning hard against this expansion.

How exactly do you square that circle?

A representative preaches loudly and endlessly about how everything’s dreadful about expanding Medicaid, so you check it out and see that he or she has it all wrong, and …

You vote “Yes” on the Medicaid initiative, but also send that representative back to Boise (with a huge margin) after listening to bad advice that you chose to ignore.

Worse, apparently you will punish another candidate for being right.

Democrat Rebecca Schroeder has been a medical care advocate for years, she knows this stuff backward and forward, and based a large part of her campaign for a seat in District 4 on Medicaid expansion.

Schroeder was thought by some to be neck and neck with Republican Jim Addis heading into the election, but she got walloped by double digits despite being absolutely correct, and …

Her signature issue passed on the same night with more than 60 percent of the vote.

PLEASE TELL me how that logic works. Speak slowly so I’ll understand, will you?

Schroeder had a stone-cold winning platform, and could explain it — finances and all — better than almost anyone in Idaho.

Heck, after years testifying before federal committees, she probably knows Medicaid and all its tweaks as well as anyone in the country.

Yet the voters of District 4, while happily voting to pass her Proposition 2, just tossed Schroeder’s candidacy on the same old trash heap.

You know, that lump of goo reserved for silly Democrats who think they have an outside chance of being elected in Kootenai County.

Again, this is not a knock on Republicans in general, or Addis in particular.

Naturally we have an overwhelmingly large GOP representation in Boise. This is an extremely conservative county.

But sometimes, specific issues actually do matter.

Sometimes, there will be a Democrat who has an argument that is just simply right.

Maybe, in solid red Kootenai County, that Democrat will come close but not quite get over the hump.

I get that.

But when that candidate is telling everyone who will listen about an issue — an issue then embraced by more than 60 PERCENT in a statewide vote — you’d think they’d do better than fighting to reach 45 percent in their own district.

Wouldn’t you?

Aw, hell, maybe it’s just me.

What was Rebecca Schroeder thinking, anyway?

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears from Wednesday through Saturday each week.

Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com

Facebook: BrandNewDayCDAPress

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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