Oklahoma crisis offers opportunity for hapless Democrats
By Sean Murphy, Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma state budget has been cut so deeply that two elementary schools in state Rep. Jason Dunnington’s district can no longer afford to pay for art teachers. A hospital is struggling after lawmakers axed a fund for uncompensated care.

Beyond the cuts, the situation has also produced a political role reversal. Republicans want to ease the pain with increases in cigarette and fuel taxes. Dunnington and fellow Democrats are attacking those bills, hoping opposition offers their party a path back to relevance after many years in the wilderness.

“I would rather lose fighting for what’s just than win fighting for the wrong thing,” Dunnington said.

No state Democratic party has been more hapless in recent years than Oklahoma’s. It holds only a small minority of seats in the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature and has been repeatedly defeated in elections for statewide office.

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