And the big loser Nov.6 was … drum roll … Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state.
The Kobach anti-immigration wing of the Republican Party is drowning as a tsunami of Latino votes swept Barack Obama to an electoral landslide. The current trend, if the Republicans do not abandon their mean-spirited attitude toward Hispanics (the majority of illegal immigrants), means states like Texas will switch from red to blue and Republicans will never regain the presidency.
Two Fox pundits, Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer, who heretofore bashed illegal immigrants, have changed their tune since the election.
Hannity has said, referring to Republicans, “We’ve got to get rid of the immigration issue altogether.” Krauthammer has just called for “a border fence plus amnesty.”
Here’s a prediction (I didn’t do too badly with my predictions last week): There will be comprehensive immigration reform passed by the Congress and signed by the president before he leaves office. Probably much sooner.
And there goes Johnny-one-note, Kris Kobach, whose message has been clear: Make lives so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they will want to go home willingly.
Without this message, Kobach stands for nothing, and there goes his political future. Adios, Kris.
As predicted, the Republicans — all conservatives — swept the Kansas Senate seats in Johnson County, and Republicans now control the Senate with 32 out of 40 seats. Conservatives also control the House and are prepared to accelerate Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda.
The only branch of Kansas government that is not radically conservative is the moderate courts. But that will soon change.
Expect new legislation to change the way we select our appellate court judges from panels of lawyers and non-lawyers recommending nominees to the governor to a system whereby the governor appoints and the state Senate confirms.
And if they can get the votes for a constitutional amendment, the Brownback-led Legislature will try to get voters to approve the same appointment-style system for the Kansas Supreme Court.
The crazy way we write our proposed constitutional amendments was on full display on Nov.6. Voters were presented with mumbo-jumbo language that few could understand and a length that nobody would want to read. It was about decreasing taxes on boats, but no human being would know that after trying to grasp the contorted wording.
Back in the 1996 ballot proposal to create a bistate district and levy a one-eighth cent sales tax to renovate Union Station, the original proposed ballot language was so convoluted, it was indiscernible. Those of us on the campaign asked if it could be rewritten in English. We got the green light, and we rewrote the language so that it was understandable. The lawyers then brushed it up.
It is a travesty that ballot language, written by a battery of lawyers, should be so incomprehensible to the common people. It does not have to be this way.
Among the big winners in the primary and general elections of 2012 in Kansas were the billionaire Koch brothers of Wichita. Their Americans for Prosperity, funded by millions of dollars, helped sink Republican moderates and then Democrats.
What many may not realize is Americans for Prosperity had tentacles in state legislature races all over the country. For example, the Kochs reportedly spent a million dollars to swing the Arkansas legislature from Democratic to Republican.
They got their wish. For the first time since 1874, both chambers of the Arkansas legislature went Republican.
When history is written, the impact of the Kochs will be more than a footnote.
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