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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

September 25: A Brownback Defeat Would Send a Big Signal

Like everyone else in political journalism, I’ve spent months obsessing about the struggle for control of the Senate, and without question it matters a lot. But it’s becoming more and more apparent that if there was just one contest you could choose that might send the right message to the GOP, it’s the Kansas governor’s race, where incumbent Sam Brownback is in big trouble. Here’s how I put it today at the Washington Monthly.

If the Republican governor of a very Republican state loses for undertaking a conservative political and policy revolution, complete with a purge of party “moderates” and reactionary legislation on just about every front imaginable, it may remind Republicans everywhere that there are limits to a meta-strategy of moving to the right, polarizing the electorate, and then winning on money and pure dumb luck. As a huge bonus, among the injured in a Brownback loss would be the Koch Brothers, right there in their Wichita lair….
Brownback has very publicly made his state a conservative “experiment station” and sought to stamp out any dissent in his party, all in the pursuit of a sort of intellectual rogue’s gallery of bad ideas, from supply-side economics to the harshest attacks in the country on reproductive rights. He not only deserve to lose, but his regime needs to be remembered with fear and trembling by Republicans everywhere.

If this sounds like a prayer as much as political analysis, so be it.

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