What issue makes you vote? It doesn't matter if it's a basic right you see curtailed, opportunities limited to the few, or a ridiculously selfish stance by the extremists. Something makes you sit up. Something makes you get out to vote.
What issue is it that will bring the non-voter back to the polls? When more people vote, the extremists scuttle back into their dark corners. When we shine a light on the issues, more people sit up and take notice. More people vote. When more people vote, moderate values win.
At MainStream, we work from our basic tenets: strong public education, good government, and a sound fiscal policy. But that umbrella covers many issues that are important to moderates: from women's health to voter suppression, from judicial policy to equal rights.
Which of these issues gets you to vote?
Budget and Taxes
In 2012, as we began to climb out of the recession, Sam Brownback signed his now infamous tax cut bill. At the time it was lauded by his enthusiasts as visionary, and he crowed that this Kansas experiment would jump start the economy, like a shot of adrenaline. Since then, it has been nothing but bad news peppered with the occasional double-speak press release by the Governor's administration. In the latest go round, the Administration tried to sugar coat yet another missed revenue goal:
- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts cause another revenue hit - KC Star Editorial
Once on the proud forefront of civil rights, Kansas found itself this past year the poster child for intolerance, when extremists in the Kansas House actually passed HB 2453, a bill designed to legalize discrimination against gay couples. The bill was eventually turned back, with a strong push from the people of Kansas, the enthusiastic support of the moderates in the Kansas Legislature, and even the clout of big business. It may have been tabled, but the issue comes up year after year, and next year will be no different:
Kansas is in the midst of several environmental issues right now, from Kris Kobach and others defying Federal wildlife protections for the lesser prairie chicken, to ALEC and Americans for Prosperity trying to torpedo wind energy in Kansas. Moderates fought off these special interest fueled attempts, but only with unlikely help, from businesses unwilling to take the public heat, to western Kansas farmers (now wind farmers) and their legislators, unwilling to risk their livelihood to satisfy the oil energy magnates in Wichita. Even Sam Brownback knows when he's beat:
We have not seen a more divisive issue than health care in a long while, but not for any rational reason. The vitriol leveled at the Affordable Care Act by the extreme wings of the right has all the hallmarks of a crusade. The facts of the matter are that millions of dollars available to fund health care for Kansans, our own Federal taxes, have been refused by the Brownback administration for no good reason. Add to that the mismanagement of Medicaid under Brownback's KanCare program, and their desire to do the same for Medicare, and you have a cause that needs moderate votes. This has recently boiled over into a feud between JoCo's Agency on Aging and the Kansas Legislature's most extreme members:
- Inside the feud over the Kansas health care compact law - KC Star Opinion
A sound system, with checks and balances, is crucial to what we think of as "good government." Since the beginning, the Kansas judicial system has stood between the extremists and one of their main goals, reducing the funds spent by the state on public education. The judicial branch has been called upon, time and again, to rule on the constitutionality of state funding plans, and found them wanting. Stymied, the Brownback administration has taken a systematic approach to reducing the power of the judicial branch, first changing appointment rules to give the executive branch more power, then withholding funds from the judicial budget, and finally fast-tracking an inexperienced judge, and Brownback's former legal counsel, onto the Supreme Court bench. An independent judiciary is important, and moderates know it is worth fighting for.
- Protect the independence of judicial branch - Fred Six, retired KS Supreme Court Justice
If any issue moves this election, it is public education. The Brownback administration has consistently refused to fund public education in Kansas to even remotely adequate levels. We stand at 1992 levels of funding today. With an outstanding court case regarding the adequacy of public education funding, and given the disastrous revenue projections for the state, further cuts seem inevitable. There is a lot of double-speak going around on education this election: to be clear, nobody wants to be seen as cutting public education, but Kansas has done just that, and tried to gloss it over with budget shell games, corporate giveaways, and PR platitudes. Moderates stood up and spoke out, but were steamrolled by the Governor and his allies. Moderates are needed to stop this.
- Kansas governor gets schooled over cuts to education budget - Al Jazeera America
Reproductive Health Services
Home of the "Summer of Mercy," Kansas has always harbored extremists willing to fight to limit women's access to reproductive health services. Already incredibly limited, what rights we have left will be under attack in the next session.
Kris Kobach. Enough said? The architect behind anti-immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere is Secretary of State in Kansas. His voter registration changes in Kansas have left 18,000 people in limbo, unable to vote. His partisan lawsuits over the US Senate ballot resulted in a statement of questionable legality added to overseas ballots. He favors preventing Kansas citizens from voting in local elections if they have registered with a Federal registration form. All in the name of protecting us from voter fraud (seven convictions in a thirteen year period). What is the real result of these policies:
- Kansas Successfully Reduces Voting Rate of Blacks, Young People - GAO via MotherJones
We need you.
We need every moderate vote we can get to push back against the extremists on these issues. We need you, your family, your friends, and the strangers you meet. Tell them about the issues, tell them how to get involved. Tell them to vote.