In Pennsylvania: Senator Arlen Specter has represented his state well and deserves our praise for siding with the president on the economic stimulus package at great political cost in our time of need. This politically risky vote cost him his support from the Republican Party that he belonged to for the bulk of his political career and align himself with the Democrats. Given his moderate voting record, and his support for the stimulus package no one can be faulted for rewarding the senior senator with another six-year term. Pennsylvania's voters, however, should vote for U.S. Representative Joe Sestak, whose values and voting record is more in line with the Democratic Party's agenda and values. Democrats who voted for "change we can believe in" in 2010 should take this opportunity to send the president, who has endorsed Specter, the message that they are still waiting and have no problem sending him a representative who will forcefully fight for that agenda.
In Arkansas: For similar reasons, Democrats should oust Senator Blanche Lincoln in favor of their state's Lieutenant Governor, Bill Halter. Senator Lincoln voted against the president's health care program. Though it was seriously flawed, the alternative, doing nothing, was much worse. Halter eventually supported the bill. His views are more in line with the Democratic Party's support for the the lower and middle class working Americans.
In California: Former Slate magazine blogger Mickey Kaus has virtually no chance of unseating Senator Barbara Boxer in their state's primary but he offers voters who dissent from the Democrats' policies on union contracts and immigration a chance to let their representatives in Washington know that we are in dire need of reform on both fronts. Our public schools have been failing the children that live in urban school districts abysmally and that won't change unless we see more support for charter schools, and a serious restructuring if not the outright elimination of teacher tenure. Our legal representatives in Washington must also know that true immigration reform means border control. Our children cannot support Boxers' votes for the teachers unions and amnesty for illegal immigration. Even if Kaus fails to unseat Boxer, his supporters can win attention from Washington with a strong showing.
in Arizona: J.D. Hayworth's conservative stance on immigration is more in line with his state party's base and with this country's needs for immigration reform but Republicans who go to the polls this Tuesday should still pull the lever, albeit reluctantly, for Senator John McCain. Though he comes across as an old, and bitter man who has surrendered his principles (however flawed or misguided they may have been) and his brand (the maverick) in his attempt to hold onto his seat, he did not, unlike Hayworth, align himself with the "birthers" and anyone who believes that our president's racial complexion makes his citizenship credentials suspect. Voters who question McCain's commitment to border control should note that Hayworth's alignment with this movement could do more to undermine our cause for tighter border control than McCain's unbelievable shift to the right.
in Kentucky: Rand Paul's libertarian anti-government outlook may seem radical to those of us who believe the government could serve as our friend as much as our enemy, but it is far more preferable than the corporatist agenda backed by the Republican establishment. He did not support the Wall Street bail out that saved the economy and his call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve may seem too radical but Paul at least offers a philosophical outlook grounded in basic fairness. No one gets hurt and no one gets helped. Kentucky's Secretary of State, has Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's backing. His opposition to the war in Iraq and his instinct to withhold support for elective warfare is also preferable to the establishment's neoconservative agenda. Voters in Kentucky should send the Republicans in Washington a message by pulling the lever for the man who is not backed by the establishment.