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Congratulations to readers who recognize the title borrowed from the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz” (not the 1900 book). Extra credit if you noticed the divergence from what Dorothy really said: “WE’RE not in Kansas anymore.” Originally the allusion to Kansas was a comfortable, normal, middle-America place. Perhaps America has moved on and Kansas is stuck in 1939 (or 1900), but Kansans have voted republican in 19 of the last 20 presidential elections back to 1940. trump carried the state by 15 points this year and by 20 points in 2016.

Polls have shown that a majority of republicans (some as high as 3 in 4) believe that trump was the presidential winner or that the election was corrupted. Could all those crazy, Kool-Aid drinking believers be confined to deep red states like Kansas?

In the 2020 presidential election, voters in the Mesa precincts (2020, 2030, 2040, 2090, 2110, 2120, and 2160) voted overwhelmingly (78.6%) for Joe Biden. Still 2,014 neighbors voted for the other guy. Applying the national conspiracy poll numbers, does that mean as many as 1,500 Mesa residents believe the election was stolen from L’enfant Terrible? They’re not just in Kansas anymore. They are neighbors, even friends, who put their pants on just like the rest of us: one leg at a time. Letters correcting me on that statement are always welcome.

It’s likely we’ll continue to see this persistent trumpism at least through 2022. That will be the Congressional election that shows whether fealty to a deposed leader counts for anything with voters two years hence. Our primary election system with two major parties ensures that republican candidates will need to satisfy the majority of only their voting base before reaching the general election. If most republicans continue to believe trump is the rightful president, then that’s the posture a successful republican candidate must take to win in the primary election. Right now, there is a virtual army of elected mini-trumps (I’m not talking about body parts) in Congressional Districts (not ours) representing that aggrieved constituency or hoping to in the next election. The success of those republican candidates in 2022 will determine the future of the party.

Both the Georgia Senate runoff elections and the Congressional certification of the Electoral College results may still be ahead as you read this. Georgians will decide if the nation gets a productive Congress or more gridlock that nobody admits they want. My personal opinion is that gridlock is a republican preferred outcome over frank defeat and it’s a measured campaign to forestall the inevitable demise of the party without some major restructuring. The demographics are just not in republicans’ favor.

Republicans have managed a semblance of parity by the grace of the Constitutional compromise that gave equal representation to populous states and prairies, i.e., the U.S. Senate. The ebb and flow of electoral politics gave them the good fortune to win statehouse majorities in 2010 when census reapportionment allowed gerrymandering to favor their candidates. They were in the right place at the right time to add 3 Supreme Court justices with this president. But demographics don’t lie. The electorate is becoming inexorably younger, more diverse, better educated and more urban. All aspects that favor liberal politicians.