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A Marine Senate Hopeful Claimed Veterans Can't Be Democrats — Even Though He Was One
Marine Corps veteran and Wisconsin Senate hopeful Kevin Nicholson has been seen as a star candidate for the Wisconsin Republican Party this election cycle, but he recently came under fire for criticizing veterans who identify as Democrats, claiming that their service contradicts their political views.
In a radio interview on Wisconsin’s “Steve Scaffidi Show” on WTMJ, Nicholson stated that veterans voting for Democrats doesn’t make sense because the democratic party has “rejected the Constitution.”
“Those veterans that are out there in the Democratic Party, I question their cognitive thought process because the bottom line is, they’re signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud,” he said.
Such an assertion is quite on-brand for the Senate candidate. Nicholson told USA Today that his conversion to becoming Republican stems from his experience in combat, becoming a husband and father, and his choice to become a Christian; his status as a decorated veteran and his outsized business acumen certainly attracted the attention of major GOP donors.
Let’s just say this makes Nicholson a bit of a walking contradiction given, well, his own strong history as a former Democrat.
Nicholson was formerly the president of the College Democrats of America while attending the University of Minnesota. At the 2000 convention for the Democratic National Committee, he gave a speech supporting a woman’s right to choose. So why the sudden change?
Perhaps it's not about party or principles with Nicholson. An in-depth report from Politico reveals several people who knew Nicholson during his college days that attest to his clear ambition to hold public office, which reportedly included having an “ARFS1,” or Air Force One vanity plate. Former friends and colleagues note Nicholson’s charismatic and powerful personality, but also question his reasons for running; one former roommate claimed he was emotionally abusive.
But even beyond Nicholson’s own political status, his statement is demonstrably false. Several veterans who are Democrats have successfully served in both the Congress and the military. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and the late Sen. Daniel Inouye both served honorably; the latter volunteered to fight in World War II and received the Medal of Honor. Most recently, Marine Corps veteran and Democrat Conor Lamb won a special election in Pennsylvania this year to be the U.S. Representative for the state’s 18th district.
Look, the factors of being a husband, father, and Christian who has seen combat are not mutually exclusive to being a Republican — or even, really, becoming more conservative. Veterans and Democrats can also be all of these things and still have a lasting and successful impact on this country. If anything, the more diverse perspectives we have, the stronger Congress will be — and this doesn’t mean that the majority should even be veterans anyway.
Being able to draw on multiple experiences and backgrounds to include different religions or professions such as teachers, doctors, and scientists, will provide valuable skill sets and representation for our increasingly diverse population.
Maybe Nicholson is doing what he needs to advance his political career and distance himself from his often-polarizing background. But as a political unknown with a contradictory background, he’s not exactly building confidence into being what we need in Congress right now: House Speaker Paul Ryan recently endorsed his Republican primary opponent.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.