For a state of less than 3 million people, Kansas has become disproportionately influential in national politics.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, and his fixation on voter fraud has spurred a national debate about the issue. Gov. Sam Brownback’s supply-side economic experiment was designed for export to other states, but it has become a cautionary reminder of the fiscal damage that reckless tax cuts can cause. And Sen. Jerry Moran’s opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act ensured an early defeat for the bill (which was voted down yet again earlier this week).
Kansas politicians have found favor with the Trump administration. Beyond Kobach’s role in the election commission, former Rep. Mike Pompeo is the new CIA director and Brownback has been nominated as Trump’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
But what’s good for our politicians has rarely been good for the state. Kobach may think of himself as the “ACLU’s worst nightmare,” but he has been sued by the organization four times and his current record is 0-4. …
All of that said, Kansans should still be proud. The rest of the country may look at our state and see voter suppression, economic upheaval and confusion about health care, but Kansans have repeatedly demonstrated that these impressions are gross oversimplifications. Last November, Kansans voted to replace more than one-third of the Legislature, and many of Brownback’s conservative allies lost their seats. They were defeated by moderates and Democrats who explicitly promised to repeal Brownback’s tax cuts and move the Legislature toward the center, and that’s exactly what they did.
Moreover, whenever Kansans have been surveyed about Medicaid expansion, their support has fallen within the 62 percent to 82 percent range — support that was reflected in the Legislature’s vote to expand Medicaid earlier this year. Although lawmakers were unable to overcome Brownback’s veto, the initial votes were impressive: 81-44 in the House and 25-14 in the Senate. …
Finally, Kobach may be one of the most well-known politicians in Kansas, but he’s also the least popular (according to a Fort Hays State University survey released in the spring). Our state’s reputation has certainly suffered during the past few years, but Kansans have much more to celebrate today than they did at this time last year.
— The Topeka Capital-Journal