The Whole Truth

You may have heard that Republican State Senator Barbara Bollier endorsed a Democrat in the 2018 election. Her calm, reasoned decision, based on putting values over loyalty to a party apparatus, has placed her square in the crosshairs of the ultra-conservatives in the Kansas Republican Party. She has been removed from any leadership positions in the Kansas Senate, and targeted for a primary contest in 2020.

Dr. Bollier was a recipient of MainStream's Robert H. Meneilly "Stand Up, Speak Out" Award in 2012, for speaking truth to power and standing up for her constituents. The award is given to "recognize leaders who demonstrate respect for the rights, beliefs and freedoms of all individuals, have the courage to stand up for justice and equality, even when unpopular, and understand the importance of the political process in securing these rights."

We think Dr. Bollier's decision, as well as her votes in the Senate, and the House before that, have been quite popular... with her constituents. And quite unpopular with the ultra-conservative leaders in her party. Sen. Jim Denning, whose district borders Sen. Bollier's, called it, "a profound and personal disappointment."

Sen. Denning campaigned in 2016 as a pro-public education moderate, and was elected by constituents who believed him. But his actions since then (and before then, of course) have proven the lie. He is only 23% aligned with MainStream's positions, while Dr. Bollier remains at 100%. Is that rating unusual for a Republican? Not at all, she keeps the company of forty-three other Statehouse leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, at 100%.

And here's the crux of the matter. Despite the outcry, the pressure, the name-calling, Dr. Bollier and those others have stood up for what they believe. And when it comes to communicating with their constituents, they don't pretend to be otherwise. In their campaigns, they don't whitewash their choices.

We've entered the final two weeks of the primary election in 2018. The ultra-conservatives—led by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity—have begun to paper some legislative districts with postcards, flyers, and door hangers claiming one thing or another, implying untruths and looking to fool voters. When you see cards from several districts together, you see that they don't bother to pay attention to who they are attacking, they paint them all with the same photo filter, the same talking points, the same misleading claims.

The most recent set have dropped last week, accusing this or that moderate Republican of going on a "spending spree" and making "your family budget smaller to grow government to record high levels of spending."

Here are the facts of the matter. These Republicans are not outliers, scofflaws, or "bad Rs." In fact, these Republicans voted with the Republican majority over 90% of the time. And they voted with Democrats over 80% of the time. Which means the majority of the Statehouse voted the same way almost all the time, for sensible, sustainable, common sense legislation that helps all Kansans. 

If the ultra-conservatives backed by the Chamber and the Kochs are complaining about these votes, doesn't that mean the ultra-conservatives are in support of the... 10%, 20% of the time when votes were not so bipartisan? When outcomes were so extreme that a majority couldn't come together?

The truth is, these postcards don't give the whole story. They don't tell the whole truth. They have cherry-picked their facts, hoping voters won't investigate their claims. But let's look at what they claim on their latest cards. Of the bills mentioned on these postcards, HB 2365 (spending) passed the House 92 to 24. HB 2044 (expanding health care) passed 81 to 44. HB 2184 (worker's compensation) passed 120 to 0! And the veto override of SB 30 (tax reform) passed 88 to 31. So who is the outlier here? Who is representing a minority view? Who is being paid to try to pull the wool over the eyes of Kansas voters?

Seriously. If it weren't so despicable, it would be laughable. But instead, we have good voters being lied to by extremist politicians who will subvert the truth on campaign materials because they only care about voters when it's the month before an election.

Get the word out. Get informed.

It starts here. With you. Do more than vote.

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