This is a guest post by MainStream Board Member Sheryl Spalding.
While the outcome of election night, statewide and nationally, was not what we were hoping for, there are a few bright spots.
Mainstream PAC, in its first attempt to do more than endorse and send checks had a pretty good evening. In the 9 races that our group targeted (with money, campaign literature and/or canvassing) in the primary and/or the general elections, we won 6. We maintained all of our incumbents, Rooker, Clayton, Bollier, Lusk and Sloan. In addition an open seat that had been held by a friend was maintained by Ousley. We also gained a moderate in district 23.
In many respects we were so close to making a huge change. Several legislative positions were won or lost by fewer than 100 votes. We had so much money working against us in all the races sometimes three, four or five times as much and still we came close. Then there were all the intangibles that pundits have credited for influencing races, things outside the control of the campaigns themselves. There was the Ebola scare and blaming Obama for not taking charge. Some have contended that the Royals and Chiefs winning seasons had an effect on the outcome. (The Caesars knew that mollifying the masses with games was critical to their continued rule.)
On the whole, while disappointing, we should celebrate that we live in a time and place where differences are still settled at the ballot box. That is a cliché, I know, but with the newspaper hi-lighting the Holocaust in today’s paper, it reminds us just how very ugly the world has been and in some places still is.
We get the government that we deserve. That is another cliché and also true. I had hoped we deserved a kinder government, one that cared more about people or at least children than tax breaks, but that isn’t who we are right now. Frankly, we in Johnson County are luckier than others in the state, especially those in rural areas who do not have the resources we have.
There will continue to be budget cuts as the state revenues continue to slide, especially if Brownback continues his reckless revenue slashing. On the bright side, he will have to deal with the revenue adjustments, cutting schools, early education, higher education, transportation, home care for the elderly and the list goes on. Of course none of that is the bright side for those of us who care about our state and the people in it, but watching the chickens come home to roost (I know, I know another cliché!) will be entertaining for those of us who will be watching him closely and every move he makes we will be able to say I told you so!
The bottom line is that now that we have taken stands on everything from support of our teachers and public education to a fairer tax system, we must not back down. Now that we have begun organizing and found like minds we must continue. It literally took the Koch brothers decades to figure out how to win elections and this is the culmination of those efforts. We need to stand with all those who are disenfranchised, the working poor without insurance, the disabled and the elderly and the families who take care of them.