Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


More on that changing Kansas electorate

An article in the American Prospect examines the increasing number of Republicans in Kansas and elsewhere bolting the party and running as Democrats. This fall in Kansas, nine former Republicans are running for office as Democrats for offices like Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

In Virginia, Ronald Reagan's former Navy secretary Jim Webb has become a Democrat and is running for US Senate in November. Even former NBA player Charles Barkley has made the switch.

From the article:

“The more converts you get, the bigger the party you have. Are there going to be some people inside the Democratic Party who are resentful of switchers? Yes, there are people like that,” said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg. “[But] of course it’s better for the Democrats to get those switches because it means: a) the party is attractive to people who it wasn’t attractive to in the past; and b) that’s how parties grow!”

Rothenberg noted that the fracture between moderates and conservatives in Kansas could lead to Democratic gains in 2006 in that state. Meanwhile, a July Zogby poll showed that while Webb trailed Allen by ten points, Allen's numbers continued to reside below 50 percent, indicating that he is vulnerable, and pollster John Zogby called it a competitive race.

But the implications extend beyond 2006, or even 2008. As the country witnesses the massive failure of Republican governance, coupled with the increasing isolation and elimination of the party’s moderate wing, large swaths of the electorate may be up for grabs. Webb thinks so. He says that despite his party switch, his basic beliefs haven’t changed. “I’m a realist on foreign policy, a moderate on social policy, and a populist on economic policy,” he said. “Thirty years ago, the Republican Party embraced people like me. Today, however, the Republicans’ extreme wing has pulled the party so far outside the mainstream that a lot of people who share my basic beliefs are looking for new leadership.”


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