One bright bit from the 2016 elections is that there really does appear to be a limit to how badly you can screw up a state's economy before voters have had enough. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been testing the theory mightily during his tenure, slashing taxes for corporations and the rich, cutting state services, and creating gargantuan state deficits while promising magic ponies that continually fail to arrive. And this year, even deep-red Kansas had enough of it.
Mr. Parker will be sworn into the Kansas House of Representatives next month, one of 13 legislative seats the Democrats picked up here.
In this election year, voters across Kansas leaned firmly to the right at the federal level, but showed far more nuance when it came to their state. In parts of Kansas, they punished conservative legislators linked to Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax-cutting doctrine, instead gravitating toward moderate Republicans and Democrats like Mr. Parker who blame the governor and his legislative allies for imperiling the state’s finances and putting public schools at risk.
“Their goal was very simple, and that was to associate me with Brownback,” said James Todd, the two-term Republican lawmaker Mr. Parker challenged here in suburban Kansas City. “That obviously was effective enough to beat me.”
Picking up 13 seats at the epicenter of Republicanism is a good showing for Democrats, and evidence of just how little trust in Brownback remains after his ongoing six-year disaster. There's even talk of Brownback perhaps getting a gig in the Trump administration, fleeing the state a la Mike Pence.
In any event, we seem to have answered at least one question: How badly can you screw up an entire state's government and economy before even Republican voters notice? The answer: Kansas.