You probably know what has been going on in the Kansas Senate race, but I’ll give you a brief refresher. The Republican Party in Kansas have been so extreme that even many Republicans are turning against it. Art Laffer convinced the state of Kansas that if they just lowered taxes on the rich, there would be economic growth and (Perhaps you’ve heard this before?) the tax cuts would pay for themselves! Instead, what they got was ruinous budget deficits. I wrote about this in some depth back in May, Art Laffer’s Toxic Prescription.
Part of the displeasure with the Republicans in Kansas is with their current senior Senator Pat Roberts, who is very unpopular. He is technically in a three-way race with Democrat Chad Taylor and independent Greg Orman. In that race, Roberts would likely eke out a minor win. Given that Orman was doing much better against Roberts than Taylor, Taylor decided to drop out of the race. In a two-way race, Orman is about ten percentage points ahead of Roberts. So clearly, the Republicans would like to keep Taylor on the ballot.
Not to fear! Kansas has one of the most partisan and unethical Secretaries of State in the nation, Kris Kobach. He has refused to remove Taylor’s name from the ballot based upon some technicalities. Taylor decided to take the issue to court and today, the Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kobach v Taylor. Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog watched the whole thing and concluded that Taylor is likely to win the case.
The case has turned out to be different than most people expected. The issue seemed to be that Taylor had worked with the Secretary of State’s office to make sure he did everything right. As a result, the papers he filed should be enough. But the justices didn’t seem that interested in hearing about that. They were more interested in the fact that Kobach allowed other similar petitions to be approved. They didn’t say it, but it is clear enough what this means: Kobach is doing this only to help his party. And Kobach has a history of this. He’s a good example of the revolutionary right that doesn’t see our political system and its norms as valid. Whatever pushes Kobach’s proto-fascist ideology is good.
Even if Taylor loses this case, there is a very good chance that Orman will beat Roberts anyway. Even though Taylor has only dropped out of the race less than two weeks ago, the word is out and a poll released today shows only 6% of those asked plan to vote for him, giving Orman a 7% lead even if Taylor remains on the ballot.
Regardless, the Republicans have gone into Kansas in a big way now. They know that Kansas is likely the state that will decide which party controls the Senate. So there will be a lot of attacks on Orman and his numbers will go down. So he needs all the Democratic support he can get. If the Kansas Supreme Court forces Kobach to take Taylor’s name off the ballot, it will be a great help to Orman.