Here comes the Connecticut blue wave

Lucky Ned Lamont.

Not only was the Democratic gubernatorial candidate born with a silver spoon in his mouth, a pedigree in American wealth, but his innate good luck also has followed him right into the governor's race this year.

Imagine the good fortune of having the Republicans nominate a candidate whose last job was preying on the poor, people so desperate for money they agree to unconscionable interest rates for short-term loans. It is such a reprehensible business, it's illegal in Connecticut.

Republicans picked Bob Stefanowski despite a campaign ad that ran during the primary season labeling him "Payday Bob" for his stewardship of a payday loan conglomerate that took advantage of hundreds of thousands of poor people.

While he was in charge of the company, British authorities ordered millions of dollars in refunds to customers for loans, made on Stefanowski's watch, that they were in no position to repay, with interest rates as high as 2,900 percent.

You could probably do better dealing with the mob.

Never mind Payday Bob's unseemly history of preying on the poor, he admitted earlier during this campaign season that he doesn't believe in the minimum wage, never mind raising it. He also got caught recently attending a social event at which a prominent white nationalist was also a guest.

He is an unapologetic Donald Trump supporter. No doubt he admires the way Trump bilked all those students at Trump University, the ones who won a $25 million settlement of a civil lawsuit cataloguing the worthless courses they paid for.

Indeed, Stefanowski is in many ways Trump without the reality TV charm and schmooze. His empty promise to do the impossible — eliminate the Connecticut income tax — is as preposterous as Trump's pledge to make Mexico pay for a border wall.

His supporters don't seem to mind the absurdity of the notion that the state could eliminate half its income and still meet its inescapable spending mandates. Like Trump's, they must enjoy buying into the fantasy of it.

That's why the candidate just keeps brazenly repeating it, even though he can't begin to explain how he could accomplish it.

Stefanowski's evoking the ghost of the unpopular Democratic governor reminds me of the way Trump so successfully continues to demonize Hillary Clinton, even though she is now simply another private citizen.

Of course, Dan Malloy isn't running, either, and I believe Connecticut voters are smart enough to know that when Stefanowski endlessly evokes him as the boogeyman haunting Lamont. Most voters understand that Lamont's only association with the current governor is that he ran against him, with an entirely different vision of how the state should be managed.

Tarring Lamont with Malloy is like blaming Stefanowski for the corruption of disgraced Gov. John Rowland, just because they are in the same party. We know better.

I think the Republicans, who were clawing their way to some parity in the General Assembly in recent election cycles, are going to have to do some serious soul searching after November, once the big blue wave washes over Hartford.

Not only do Republican candidates for the General Assembly have to distance themselves from a very unpopular president, one who lost this state by double digits, but they are running on the same ticket with the same kind of monster, someone who made a lot of money preying on the poor.

In fact, if you run into any of those Republicans on the campaign trail, ask them what they think of their fellow candidate's rejecting the concept of the minimum wage. Ask them, too, if they've been socializing with white nationalists.

Connecticut deserves better than Payday Bob and his minions, and I think voters will demonstrate that decisively come November.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


Loading comments...
Hide Comments