This year will test just how short voter memories are in Kansas. Will Kansans keep rejecting Brownback-era politics? Or, will they buy those politics again, attractively repackaged and reframed? With the Kansas legislature reconvening, that test starts now.
The Brownback era officially ended one year ago with Laura Kelly replacing Brownbacks running mate as governor. She still faces major challenges, but Kelly has enjoyed wins on the budget, transparency, education, and possibly Medicaid expansion. She has also earned solid job approval numbers from Kansans in polls, even from Republican voters.
Kellys governing partner is the Kansas legislature, led by conservatives who frequently supported Brownbacks policies. Brownback cutely called his supporters Brownbackers. Many are on record effectively saying that their biggest governing mistake was not Brownbacking Kansas harder. If only they had doubled down on Brownbacking the budget and taxes, everything would have been awesome.