That tending must get very serious now, so that in November we can take first steps electing candidates who understand and are willing to take head-on the work of correcting the damages done by eight years with Brownback as our Governor. Yes, his name is not on the 2020 ballot but certainly what he stood for and brought to Kansas remains.
Brownback’s far right ideology can be summed up this way: Cut taxes to primarily help very high-income taxpayers, weaken the government to set up more reasons to cut budgets, and promote private education to the detriment of public education. The vast majority of both House and Senate Republican incumbents, as well as their new recruits, are locked into the Brownback philosophy of anti-government and give full attention to whatever far right special interests want.
This past August’s Republican Primary results certainly added to the challenge we face. With so many Republican moderates in both the House and the Senate losing their elections, the informal alliance that has in recent years been so helpful is really in trouble. This makes holding back further policy damage from the far right even more difficult. And, for many Kansans, the choice for maintaining fiscal sanity and a rational approach to governing may involve crossing party lines to support a Democrat, especially given the number of far right successes in the primaries this year.
Who we elect to serve us come January will not just be the legislators taking on Medicaid expansion, support for public education, and a host of other issues. These people will also decide the district maps for both House and Senate for the next ten years. For that process to have any built in fairness, at the very least, Democrats will need enough votes to back up a Governor Kelly veto, to force some degree of balance rather than creating a total gerrymandered Republican set of maps.
I’ve read commentary on the coming legislative races that includes a focus on the need for Democrats to have the votes necessary to protect any Governor Kelly veto. From experience, I know sustaining a veto is important. Doing so will be key for the Governor to match the strength of the majority, but that should be a minimum goal. We need to take steps toward having the numbers to have real influence and legislators who, over time, can deliver for the state what is desperately needed to address the obvious challenges we face.
Although we know this will take many years, we can at least begin with this election to make the changes necessary. Starting now is imperative. There are quality Democrats in many districts, both House and Senate, that could bring back a direction of wisely, not wildly, investing in our future, much like in years past when Republicans, working with Democrats, got the state's business done and done well.
Again, Brownback’s exit from Kansas is true only in mailing address. He still very much impacts our state and not for the better. Fortunately, we have an alternative direction that can begin with changes made in our November General Election. Now, go do something to help. The future is hanging in the balance.