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Conservative and Outsider – Campaign Words Part 11

By Conduit for Action

What does it mean to you when a candidate says “I’m a conservative and an outsider”?

By “conservative” most would think the candidate is a Republican and not just any ole Republican who may be lukewarm on the issues, but one who is guided by the principles and platform of the Republican Party.

By “outsider” most would think of a candidate who is running for office for the first time.

But when these campaign words are used, they can be used in ways you do not expect and their use can end up deceiving voters.

During the recent primary elections, non-partisan judicial races also appeared on all ballots. The night before the primary election, some people received a text message on behalf of Jay Martin who was a candidate for Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. The text message and attached video assured voters he is “conservative” and an “outsider.”

What he meant by “conservative” and what you probably think of are not the same. You might be surprised to learn Martin is a long time Democrat politician. Martin was elected as a Democrat to the Arkansas House of Representative in 2002 and was re-elected as a Democrat in 2004. He was elected by his Democrat colleagues in the House of Representatives as their Democrat caucus leader for 2005 and 2006. Just two years ago, in 2022, he ran an unsuccessful campaign as a candidate for the Democrat nomination for Governor.

During the 2022 campaign, Martin described himself as a pro-life Democrat. Is being pro-life the sole qualifier for being a conservative? Most people would not consider being pro-life as the sole qualifier for being considered a conservative.

Martin was able to avoid his Democrat label in his run for Chief Justice because judicial races are nonpartisan races.

Martin also described himself as an “outsider.” When you think of an “outsider” would you include a former leader of the Democrat Party in the House of Representatives who was also a recent Democrat candidate for Governor? Of course not.

“Outsider” is unfortunately another one of the nebulous campaign words that can mean about anything. Despite his long record as a Democrat politician, perhaps he was using “outsider” merely because he was the only one of the four candidates to not already hold a seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court. But we doubt you would think of it that way.

We are not trying to pick on Martin, who came in last in a four-person race. Our point here is there are many campaign words, such as “conservative” and “outsider,” that are used in ways that sometimes don’t mean what most people think they mean. You have to dig deeper and ask questions.

It is harder to get answers from candidates when it is a nonpartisan judicial race because liberals tend to hide behind the nonpartisan badge to avoid disclosing their real philosophy. That is one of the reasons we think a candidate for judicial office should be allowed to file as a candidate of a political party. Judicial candidates had that option prior to Amendment 80 being ratified at the general election in 2000.

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