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Bill Shapard: What far-right Republican legislators don’t understand about Oklahoma conservatism (OPINION)

Bill Shapard: What far-right Republican legislators don’t understand about Oklahoma conservatism (OPINION)

Tulsa World
By Bill Shapard  
Apr 17, 2018

There’s a crisis. Your house is on fire, and you call the fire department. When they arrive, you then try to talk them into using no water at all to put the fire out. This is what far-right Republicans in the state House have done for the past year.

In February, SoonerPoll, the state’s only independent nonpartisan polling firm, found that nearly 70 percent of likely voters supported the Step Up Oklahoma initiative to address the funding shortfall with some new revenues and reforms as well, to fund core services and increase the pay of the state’s teachers.

Many far-right Republicans have asked me, “Bill, how can this be so? Last year, SoonerPoll reported that Oklahomans wanted less government and no new taxes. Now, you’re saying they want to pay more in taxes?”

This is what they do not understand. Philosophically, Oklahomans are conservative in their thinking. We see this in every poll that we conduct where roughly 55 percent of Oklahoma likely voters identify as conservative in their political beliefs. But, situationally, Oklahomans are much more pragmatic. If there is a core service funding problem and good teachers are leaving the state, Oklahomans say fix it — even if that means new taxes. Keep in mind that in the Step Up poll, 66 percent of Republicans supported it... FULL ARTICLE

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