When Kansas Republican State Senator Barbara Bollier switched parties last week, it signaled a major change in the strategy for many Republicans who had hoped to change their party. In 2016, more “moderate Republicans,” who were pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-education candidates hoping to change the dark outlook of their own party ran and succeeded. The argument they raised was simple: in order to have a better government, especially in a state where Republicans control the legislature, we need more calm and reasonable voices inside the Republican caucus who could help bring reasonable government.
This problem with the strategy was that Republicans, even once elected, were never tolerant of those who didn’t follow party scripture, and Republicans fought off attempts to change their party from the inside at every turn.
Good morning #ksleg! Think any more fake Republicans will stop lying to us today?
— Ian Fury (@IanTFury) December 14, 2018
Even gone from Kansas, the Republican pelting and attack on the women who tried to change the party into a reasonable organization? Well, that barrage results in another change in the state house today, as Dinah Sykes (R, now D-Overland Park) switches parties, giving the Democratic party 2 pickups post-election in the Sunflower state.
Dinah Sykes’ district has trended more Democratic, but in the end, it wasn’t that which caused the change. Republicans had played hardball, using threats and intimidation, and the Republican coalition in the State Senate is now far more conservative. With Vicki Schmidt (R-Topeka) moving on to become Insurance Commissioner, leaving behind Kris Kobach yes man Eric Rucker (R-Topeka) in her place, and Sen. Barbara Bollier (D-Mission Hills) leaving to become a Democratic elected, Dinah Sykes found herself on the wrong end of her own caucus.
— Dinah Sykes (@dinah_sykes) December 19, 2018
The Republican caucus in the Senate today finds that it is short three women, losing two to the Democratic party, and one replaced by a conservative man. Still, some Republicans continue to call for others to leave as well:
— John Altevogt (@JohnAltevogt) December 14, 2018
That still wasn’t quite enough, as Representative Stephanie Clayton, a moderate who had come under significant fire from Republicans, also chose today to switch parties, giving Kansas Democrats three new legislative seats post election.
BREAKING: Yet another Republican crosses the line. Overland Park state Rep. Stephanie Clayton says she will today become a Democrat. That makes 3 Rs to jump ship in last two weeks. #ksleg #ksed @kcur pic.twitter.com/IvHm9GS06s
— sam zeff (@samzeff) December 19, 2018
While Kansas Republicans continue to shove women out of their party, Democratic hands tend to reach out and say: women are welcome here.
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