Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's The Matter With Kansas Democrats?


They couldn't even beat this garbage

Chances are you never heard of Larry Meeker, a conservative politician and former banker, unless you're from Kansas. People in Kansas know him because he's the chairman of the state's moribund Democratic Party. Or he was. Friday he was forced to resign, and tomorrow is his last day on the job. Meeker, exactly like the careerist shills Inside the Beltway-- the folks around the DNC, DCCC and DSCC-- didn't give a hoot about the values and principles that attract progressives to the Democratic Party. Electing Democrats-- even if one has to stretch the meaning of the word "Democrats" into something unrecognizable-- was his priority... just as it is the priority of the DCCC when they recruit "ex"-Republicans like Monica Vernon in Iowa and Mike Derrick in New York and the priority of the DSCC when they recruit "ex"-Republicans like Patrick Murphy in Florida and Heath Shuler in North Carolina.
Kansas Democrats kicked off their annual Demofest convention Friday by announcing that state chair Larry Meeker had resigned after only five months on the job.

Meeker, a former mayor of Lake Quivira, has been vocal about his desire to rebrand the party to appeal to more conservative voters and distinguish itself from the national Democratic Party.

But his message about fiscal conservatism and his perceived indifference to gay rights and abortion rights caused an uproar among the party’s more progressive members.

...Democrats lost all statewide elections in 2014 and saw Republicans strengthen their hold on the Kansas House. With both the House and Kansas Senate up for election in 2016, the party has been seeking a new path forward.

Progressive Democrats say the party needs to focus on registering more voters-- especially in minority communities-- and offer a message that appeals to working class voters. They want to broaden the party’s message beyond education-- the main focus of Paul Davis’ unsuccessful run for governor-- and press issues such as tax fairness, Medicaid expansion and raising the minimum wage.

Meeker, on the other hand, said the party needed to do more to sway Republican-leaning voters and pushed a concept that the party could rebrand itself for a red state.

“We’re looking to re-message how we speak about our party and our issues. At the end of election cycle, as you well know, we are Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Obamacare, Obama, anything bad they can figure out going on in Washington, and the Republicans brand us,” Meeker said Wednesday. “That’s not who we are. Kansas Democrats are very different from Massachusetts Democrats or California Democrats.”

Meeker said Kansas Democrats were fiscal conservatives and emphasized that there was room in the party for people who were pro-choice or pro-life, for same-sex marriage or against it. He said conveying this to voters would serve as “a pickup line” in a more conservative state.

...Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, who had nominated Meeker for party chair in March, called the rebranding idea a waste of time on Wednesday.

“It’s well understood that the party stands for education and for working people and women,” Hensley said Friday, and against what he called Kansas’ unfair tax structure.

“We already have a Republican Party in this state, and it has moved so far to the right that it’s turning people off,” Hensley said. “We need to stand by our values.”
Currently the GOP, which controls every statewide office in Kansas, has a 31-9  advantage in the state Senate and a 97-28 advantage in the state House. Romney beat Obama 678,719 to 427,918, winning every one of the 105 counties in the state except Wyandotte (Kansas City) and Douglas. No Democrat running for one of the state's 4 congressional districts reached 40%. And last year, when spectacularly failed and much loathed Republican Governor Sam Brownback was up for reelection, the Democrats ran a relatively conservative candidate, Paul Davis, who only managed to win 7 counties (Wyandotte, Jefferson, Douglas, Shawnee, Riley, Lyon and Crawford) while losing to the despised Brownback, 433,196 (49.82%) to 401,100 (46.13%). 

Davis opposed marriage equality and said he was "undecided" about prayer in public schools and about stem-cell research. At the same time, Kansas Democrats had their own candidate for Senate, Chad Taylor, withdraw in favor of an independent, Greg Orman. Orman still lost to senile, non-resident incumbent Pat Roberts, 449,974 (53.3%) to 358,898 (42.5%), losing every county but Wyandotte, Douglas and Shawnee. Perhaps offering a real alternative to the failed Republican right-wing extremism is something Kansas Democrats should try-- if they even have it in them.

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