In an August column in The Topeka Capital-Journal, Washburn political scientist Bob Beatty noted the “near-continuous pattern of political and policy experimentation, tumult and revolution under the direction of Gov. Sam Brownback and (Kris) Kobach.”

There’s a reason why Kansas has had an outsized impact on national politics for a state of only 3 million people. From repressive voter ID laws to ultra-restrictive welfare policies to a stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid to massive tax cuts that cost billions of dollars over a few years, Brownback and other leaders in our state have been trying to construct a radically conservative model for the rest of the country.

… When he delivered the weekly GOP address in 2013, he described Kansas as a model on tax reform. …

Of course, he also insists that it’s only a matter of time before states start emulating his fiscal policies. …

Although Congress just passed a disastrously familiar package of tax cuts, there’s no sign that states will be making the same mistake any time soon.

And it isn’t just Brownback — Secretary of State Kris Kobach has established himself as the most visible champion of stricter voter ID laws in the country. This is why the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, Dale Ho, calls Kansas the “epicenter of voter suppression.” …

Now Kobach is running for governor on a platform of extreme conservatism and Trumpian populism. He describes Kansas as the “sanctuary state of the Midwest,” assures Kansans that he’ll “drain the swamp” in Topeka and promises to rid our state of its “culture of corruption.” Oh, and he wants to restore Brownback’s tax cuts. …

Kobach is just another hyper-ideological conservative who wants Kansas to be a “leader” that the rest of the country will emulate, which is why he has been a tireless evangelist for the state’s hardline approach to voter fraud (and legislation like the Secure and Fair Elections Act) across the country. But we’re tired of politicians who use our state as a lab for their political experiments, and Kansans should refuse to be guinea pigs when election season comes around.

— The Topeka Capital-Journal