So which is thinner: a razor blade, a piece of paper, a human hair, or Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s gubernatorial primary win on the Republican side over Governor Jeff Colyer? Well, it’s not even close.

Op-Ed by Tom Wah

Of the votes cast for the two, Kobach won with 50.068 percent of the vote to Colyer’s 49.931 percent, a difference of 14/100 of one percent. Both a hair and a piece of paper are about 40/100 of one percent of an inch thick and a razor blade is about 90/100 of one percent of an inch thick. The hair and paper are three times bigger the Kobach’s margin, and the blade is almost seven times bigger.

So, what are we to take from these results?

The first; Kobach will be representing the Republican party on the ballot even though Colyer came close in securing the nomination, but remember, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

And second; Kobach is terrifyingly close to residing in Cedar Crest for at least four years. And if you thought eight years of Brownback/Colyer were hard on the likely reader of seveneightfive, a Kobach administration could set back the State decades in terms of government spending on important social programs and infrastructure maintenance and improvement. Even worse will be the attacks in policy decisions on people of color, women, youth, the LBGTQIA community, religious minorities, and essentially anyone not a heterosexual, Christian, white male, preferably of affluence.

Don’t be mistaken, Colyer’s differences with Kobach are minimal, but they are there. In seven and one-half years as lieutenant governor, he never did a thing to modify a Brownback policy or legislative directive. He, however, in my marginal contact with the two of them over nine years spent in the state house, seems to have a bit more empathy than Kobach, but that isn’t hard given Kobach’s lack of any empathy for other than the aforementioned groups.

A little over 25 percent of registered voters voted in the primary Aug 7. And of that group, only 40 percent of Republican voters picked Kobach, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15 percent of Kansas voters actively supported Kobach’s candidacy.

Given the huge edge in Republican registered voters in Kansas, Kobach is the likely winner, unless….

Independent voters and moderate Republicans show up and vote for Laura Kelly, the Democratic nominee.

Simply put, Kelly, a state senator since 2005, is a public servant. I’ve seen her work in committees and on the Senate floor. She comes to work prepared, is thoughtful, and looking to help regular Kansans lead more productive and healthy lives. She exemplifies Kansas values of hard work, fair play, and empathy for the less fortunate of the state.

Conversely, Kobach’s incompetence in running the Secretary of State office or acting as an attorney in a court of law are well documented. Even scarier are his efforts, both statewide and nationally, to suppress voter registration in a way that favors the most conservative of candidates. He successfully kept about 35,000 potential voters off the Kansas polls, most of them young and/or of color. I suspect, deep in his heart, he’d like to return to the days where only white, male property owners had the right to vote. (It should be noted Kobach’s main funder is Wink Hartman, his running mate. Essentially, Hartman put up $1.5 million dollars on the hunch Kobach will run to DC at the first opportunity, letting Hartman step into the governor’s office, which he couldn’t win on his own.) The term “Kansas values” gets primo air-time during elections and it is hard to imagine that what we mean when we speak of “Kansas values,” no, not hard to imagine, it is patently anachronistic to suggest that “Kansas values” means you buy your seat at the table instead of earning it.

Kobach has vowed, among other things, to set the state on the path to financial ruin through deep tax cuts as well as attacking public schools in the state by removing constitutional guarantees to ensure students get the resources they need to become successful, productive citizens.

To sit on the sidelines or vote for independent candidate Greg Orman is essentially a vote for Kobach. Bottom line: VOTE! And vote for Kelly!

The irony is Kobach, a Trump wanna-be, could be elected in an election year where Trump and his policies are repudiated nationwide through an election of a House of Representatives that could easily start impeachment proceedings against him.

And you can help that effort by electing Paul Davis in the Second Congressional District and Sharice Davids in the Third Congressional District. Both would be huge improvements over the two currently holding the seats…unless you’re a corporate CEO, in the upper One Percent, or both!

Another important statewide race is for the Secretary of State with Democratic hopeful and Kansas wunderkind turned research professor, Brian McClendon, hoping to win that seat and bring his skills which helped to build ubiquitous educational and lifestyle tools like Google Earth and Google Maps to make improvements here, at home, for Kansans.

The Kansas Senate is not up for re-election this year, but members of the House of Representatives are.

One current local rep aligned with the Kobach agenda is Ken Corbett. He is being challenged by Democrat Sarah Coats for the 54th District. No stranger to challenging the status quo, Ms. Coats is deserving of your vote, as well, stating recently, her run for this seat is an opportunity for Kansans to have a House of Representatives that more accurately reflects its citizens by replacing Mr. Corbett with a single mother, who supports labor and isn’t afraid to question authority.

Progress doesn’t have to be slowed by continuing to elect those politicians who enact regressive social policies that attract big money from corporate elitists while leaving the majority of us sidelined in the political arena. And victories of these politicians who can set Kansas back on the progressive course it was born into don’t need to be done by skin of your teeth, razor’s edge, paper-thin margins. Grab your neighbor, grab your friend, time to head to the polls again.

This is a critical election. It is time for Kansans to stand against those who support bigotry and hate in all their forms. Racism, misogyny, and homophobia are three of the most evil. Don’t let Kobach take the state down a dark and dangerous path. The most effective way? VOTE for Laura Kelly! –

Op-Ed by Tom Wah. Article is not representative of seveneightfive magazine.
Article reviewed and given collaboration from William L. Domme and Kerrice Mapes.
Scheduled print October 2018.

Leave a Comment


Stay up-to-date
Subscribe to the #785WEEKENDER

Enable Notifications    OK No thanks