FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Fresh off his emphatic victory in Republican-leaning Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday that Democrats can overcome America’s deep divisions by trying “to lead with compassion” and improving the lives of the people who elect them.
After a bitter campaign against GOP state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the governor stressed a message of working on behalf of voters who put them in office. Beshear said in his victory speech Tuesday night that his reelection sent a “clear message” that “anger politics” should end.
In his first sit-down interview since securing a second term, the Democrat talked at length about how to defuse such tactics and cited his own campaign as an example.
“You look at all of the different things that they did in this campaign, from trying to demonize groups of people to just so many different attacks, trying to find a boogeyman,” Beshear told The Associated Press.
The best counter, he said, is “to show leadership in a different way, one that puts love over hate, one that doesn’t judge lest we be judged, that tries to lead with compassion and recognizes that this isn’t a game. These are people’s lives.”
Beshear, who avoided discussing national politics during the campaign, brushed aside questions about Democratic President Joe Biden and said he was confident that Biden will be the party’s nominee in 2024.
“I’m pretty sure that this is going to be a rematch from before,” Beshear said, referring to the 2020 contest, when Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump.
The governor deflected a question about Trump, not holding him directly responsible for the state of the country’s politics but spreading the blame all around.
“I think what we have seen is for far too long, and even before President Trump started running, people running elections about winning at all costs,” Beshear said. “We should not run an election that divides the American people. You should run an election that brings them together. Because the election itself isn’t the end result. It’s supposed to be the start. It’s supposed to be about service, about improving the lives of our families, our commonwealth and our country.”
Beshear derided the political climate in Washington, saying people in the nation’s capital are obsessed with “the number of Rs vs. Ds in a certain chamber.”
“It’s supposed to be about what you can get done for the people.”
Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press