A lot of politicians fade out of the limelight once they are defeated in an election. Unless you are an ex-President, you are regulated to the “graveyard of politicians” at the end of election night. The world is full of people who can boast that they once ran for this office or for that office, but ultimately nobody likes to be associated with the one who lost. This is not the case with Beth Anne Rankin. She is currently being booked as the guest speaker for countless Lincoln Day Dinners and other events in Arkansas.
Beth Anne carried a charm and a fighting spirit into the election with Mike Ross that few people have seen in the fourth district of Arkansas in years. She had the charm that instantly made you like her because she listened to what you had to say, commented on it, and even incorporated it into her drive for the election. She had a fighting spirit that refused to give up. She refused to accept the odds were against her, the money was against her, and the political machine of Mike Ross was intent on crushing her to the point of even resorting to lies. What Mike Ross and the rest of the Democratic Party did not realize as they pounded the feisty red head in the final stretch of election night was that they were in essence creating a hero for the Republican Party. On election night Beth Anne Rankin became the Republican Party’s “Rocky”.
Beth Anne Rankin took on the champ and she went the distance. Much like the fictional Rocky, few people in the initial start of the fight expected Beth Anne to do much. However, as each round of the battle went on, the chant grew steadily from “Ross, Ross, Ross, “to” Rankin, Rankin, Rankin.” Political power figures such as Mike Huckabee, and Dick Morris started coming out of the woodwork and endorsing Rankin. The chant and drive so threatened the political machine of Ross that the campaign began to follow Rankin around and film her speeches, publish lies, and slander her anyway they felt would topple the red-headed fire engine from south-Arkansas. Unfortunately for Ross, each time he knocked Rankin to the mat, she simply climbed back up before a ten count could be issued and fought back.
In the end Rankin went down on election night swinging until the final count was brought in to the state offices. Ross emerged still the winner and still in control as one of the only Democratic survivors of the night for Arkansas. He was heading back to Washington. Unfortunately for Ross, the damage Rankin did on election night and during the campaign may be irreversible for the entrenched Democrat.
There is one important lesson that Mike Ross should carry away with his victory over Rankin. American’s love sequels and they love the underdog. By knocking Beth Anne down now and winning, Ross may well have propelled her into the next battle. Remember, there was a “Rocky II” and in case Ross doesn’t remember what happened in that movie, the Republicans will give you a hint…Rocky won the second time around.