To the editor:
Consider the following scenario. The legislature designates the courthouse to be your county’s sole voting location. It burns down and your county clerk provides an alternate site. On election day, the voters in your county provide the margin of victory to elect your political party’s candidate as governor. A county attorney from another county and the opposition party successfully sues that your county clerk’s action was unconstitutional. Your vote is thrown out along with the votes of everyone else in your county and the opposition party candidate becomes governor.
Your vote was not fraudulent. The county attorney did not claim it was. He maintained it did not make any difference. Your vote still had to be thrown out, allowing his candidate to be elected. You would be right to contend that this county attorney acted against the very basis of democracy and that you were cheated of your most precious political right.
Welcome to Derek Schmidt as a defender of democracy. He did all he could to take away the right to vote from 21 million citizens. He did not claim the votes were fraudulent. He maintained it did not make any difference. He joined the lawsuit to throw out the votes of four states in the 2020 presidential election because the states changed election procedures to deal with the crisis of the pandemic.
Sam Brownback established party-before-all-else as the major political force in Kansas. As Schmidt has shown, he is prepared to blaze new pathways down this road. Our Kansas tradition is to elect moderate governors. Sometimes they were Republican and sometimes they were Democrat. We no longer get the option of electing a moderate Republican governor, only an extremist.
The Brownback political machine also saw the change from moderate to extremist leadership in the Legislature. That was how Brownback’s income tax cut fiscal train wreck endured for as long as it did. A benefit of our moderate governor being a Democrat is the partial check it provides on the ambitions of legislative political bosses and the dark money funded political propaganda organizations that support them.
A major effort of this coalition of political bosses and dark money was years of reducing the share of our wealth that we provide for education. Fortunately for our schools, Schmidt’s support in court for this effort failed. To operate by a standard of the whole truth, Schmidt would have to walk through our schools and help pick out the teachers and resources that our kids would not have if his support of the political bosses/dark money coalition had succeeded. Instead, he proclaims himself pro-education as he promises to reintroduce a wedge issue parental rights bill. The bill would have required our teachers to maintain a lawsuit-ready online defense of their teaching. In testimony, it was opposed by 120 private citizens, including teachers and 15 organizations such as the League of Women Voters. It was only supported by six organizations who were all, surprise, surprise, dark money funded political propaganda organizations.
We cannot support the basis of our democracy and avoid rule by dark money political edicts with Derek Schmidt’s party-before-all-else loyalty. Laura Kelly is the choice for our tradition of moderate, common-sense governance that serves all Kansans.