Friday, September 26, 2014

The Big Story of the 2014 Election

It would be big news if the Democrats retained control of the Senate or even turned a seat or two, but Patrick Caldwell at Mother Jones thinks the biggest news would be if Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) lost.

Conservatives once celebrated Brownback’s grand tax experiment as a prototype worthy of replication in other states and lauded Brownback himself as a model conservative reformer (“phenomenal,” Grover Norquist has said). “My focus,” Brownback said in one 2013 interview, “is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.'” By this fall it was hard to imagine anyone touting the Brownback model, especially with the Kansas governor at risk of going down in defeat—in the Koch brothers’ backyard, no less—and dragging the entire state ticket down with him. The Wall Street Journal recently dubbed Brownback’s approach “more of a warning than a beacon.”

I think the odds are long that Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate, will actually beat him, but the very idea that a Republican governor in Kansas could lose is amazing in and of itself.

What will also be amazing is how the Republicans will explain the loss if it happens.  Steve M notes that the GOP is already prepping the spin: Gov. Brownback lost not because of his draconian tax cuts and cut-throat politics within the state party — those were awesome! — but because the treasonous “moderates” within the party turned on him.  Remember, conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed by the faint of heart and the lack of True Belief.

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