People call the months in the run up to an election the "silly season," because of all the outlandish tactics, stunts, and events that candidates and their supporters roll out to sway voters. But that term is too trite this year. In the balance in 2016 is no less than the future of Kansas.
This election threatens the integrity of our impartial court system, the effects of which could be felt in Kansas for decades to come. It is a referendum on Brownback's medieval and disproven "trickle down" economic theories, which have resulted in historic sales tax increases on working Kansans. This election will mark the test for whether Kansans care for their children, their elderly, their disabled and their needy, or whether the Brownback plan to cripple schools, mismanage health care, and ignore the working poor is how we should proceed. The results of this election are so critical, that "typical" election year shenanigans take on a more sinister tone.
For example, in the past week or two, members and supporters have been calling MainStream's offices, concerned that we have turned our backs on them, saying that we are attacking moderates and slandering candidates. We were shocked, as nothing could be further from the truth, so we looked in to what they were seeing.
As it turns out, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, well known allies of Governor Brownback and his patrons, have created a political action committee with the name, "MAIN Street Kansas PAC." Here is their filing. They have used this PAC to send political postcards, smearing candidates, spinning lies, and yes, fooling voters. One supporter even went so far as to tell us they would no longer vote moderate, because "our" postcards used such despicable smearing tactics.
But it's not enough for them to claim a name similar to ours to muddy the waters. They've also spun the facts to fit their narrative.
In one especially infuriating card, directed against Patty Markley, the challenger to Rep. Craig McPherson, it claims that "Markley is supported by special interests who would let Medicare be privatized," and references the MainStream Coalition and a bill number (SB 249), presumably pointing to us as that "special interest" group. First, in no way has MainStream supported the privatization of Medicare. In fact, we have taken the opposite position, pointing out the disaster that KanCare, the Brownback-promoted privatization of Medicaid, has become.
We can quote bill numbers too, and a real voting record, not just invented positions with no facts. Craig McPherson, the incumbent in that race, and for whom that postcard was mailed, scored 0% on our moderate issues voting scorecard. He voted to raise sales taxes (HB 2109), to send taxpayer funds to private and religious schools (HB 2506), to gut college and career-ready academic standards (HB 2292), and to allow unlicensed guns in public spaces, including pools and college campuses (SB 45).
And in a stunning turn, McPherson actually voted to allow Kansas to assume control of Medicare, in HB 2553.
Normally, we'd laugh this off, it is so ridiculous. But with the stakes so high, we cannot. You cannot. And we must, once again, rely on voters to be informed, to seek out the truth, and to talk to their neighbors.
Yes, this is politics as usual. But it does not have to be. Vote for candidates that don't have to distract from their records by resorting to fabrications and ridiculous postcards.
And do more than vote.