It is truly my hope and prayer that at some time soon the Republican Party can return to a saner version of conservatism, where the two Parties, particularly on really important issues, work across Party lines for the best interest of the American people and the future of our democracy. President Eisenhower worked closely with Majority Leader Senator Lyndon Johnson and Speaker Sam Rayburn, both Democrats and as a result the Interstate Highway System was passed.
My message to Republicans, especially to those of you who have concerns but do not want to abandon the Party, I say this: vote for Democrats in key races, which does not require a change of registration (although you would be welcome) and send a strong message that until the Republican Party returns to sanity, you will continue to vote for Democrats. If you stick with the Brownback Republicans, how can you expect change? Losing can send a powerful message. In fact, it may be the only way to bring real reforms into serious consideration within the party.
Many quality, moderate Republicans were defeated in the August Primary because of their opposition to the Brownback agenda and their shocking willingness to work with Democrats for the good of the state. This might be less likely to happen in the future if election analysis shows Democrats won big because of Republican votes. Something must happen to get more Republicans back to a conservative set of beliefs that can help lead to good policy for the state, especially on the key issues for Kansans.
As I reflect on my years with Kansas politics, I value the many times I had to visit with former Governor Alf Landon and learn from his experiences. Senator Bob Dole and I had our political differences, but we didn’t let that get in the way of working together for the best interests of Kansas. I think back on some of the key successes we had in my administration where, for example, working with Republican Senator Charlie Angell and Representative David Heinemann on the State’s first real Water plan or Senate President Ross Doyen on a major infrastructure program made a real positive difference for the State of Kansas.
Then, I think of our contemporary Kansas Republican leaders at the national and state level, and there is a stark difference, one almost totally devoid of compromise and crossing the aisle. How can Moran, Marshall, Roberts and Wagle look themselves in the mirror with integrity? Or should they feel shame for their role in advancing Trump’s hijacking of the Republican Party and his abuse of fundamental principles and institutions underlying our democratic system of government?
Share this message, use it in conversations with friends, make it clear they can have it both ways. They can vote the right way for what is best now and give the Republican Party another chance to make the changes necessary to get back to when two strong Parties with different philosophies, in the end, worked out their differences and did what was right for the country.
But if the "Party of Lincoln" doesn't start resembling their founder soon, they bring grave risk to the foundation of the "House United" that he worked so hard to preserve. We cannot remain divided against one another, against ourselves as a Nation. For, as President Lincoln warned—and our adversaries around the world know full well—that house cannot stand.
We've reached the final stretch of a hugely-consequential election, and if you've ever wondered what you would do if our republic was on the line, this is the time to bring those thoughts and words into action. Vote like your life depends on it, and make sure others are doing the same.