What’s the matter with Kansas? Republicans are at each others’ throats or else running as Democrats.
In 1994, when the GOP won both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years, a group of religious conservatives in Kansas ousted the moderates who ran the party. The intramural squabbling grew so great that four years later, the then-chair of the party unsuccessfully ran against the moderate Republican governor.
Today, websites for some county branches of the party instruct on how to identify RINOs — Republicans In Name Only — and keep them from gaining influence. Social conservatives have solidified their power over the party and are especially influential in low-turnout primaries and local elections. Increasing numbers of moderates like Parkinson are saying they’ve had enough.
Is the same thing happening in Pennsylvania? My newspaper (the one that asks for your zip) reported on Republican and Democratic annual reorganizations in a local county. The Democratic chair cheerfully passed the baton to the former vicechair “to keep that momentum going”: “Her challenge is going to be meeting the expectation the Democratic Party is very close to a breakthrough year in Dauphin County.”
By contrast, the Republicans, who “hold a large registration edge,” are having a dogfight. Lots of “we can't keep losing ground” versus “a handful of dissidents and malcontents that are trying to take over” talk. This is the state where Arlen Specter almost lost his primary fight to the Club for Growth candidate two years ago and where a State Senate seat that’s been Republican for at least a century turned Democratic in a special election last month.
Is this infighting and turmoil going on elsewhere, like where you live? Can I hope this is a good sign for future Novembers in even-numbered years?