On Friday, both the New York Times and the New York Magazine warned their readers of impending disaster in Kansas. The Times declared, “In Potential Kobach Candidacy Kansas G.O.P Faces Another Lurch to the Right.”
New York Magazine headlined its article, “Don’t Look Now, But Trump Whisperer Kris Kobach May Become Governor of Kansas.” Its reporter Gabriel Debenedetti ransacked his thesaurus to find new words to belittle Kobach, a Yale Law school grad and Oxford Ph.D.
Debenedetti calls Kobach “a Trump immigration whisperer who represents the greatest fears of many Republicans and most Democrats.” Why are they afraid? Debenedetti offers as reason the fact that Kobach is “the country’s single most notorious anti–illegal immigration and voter-fraud crusader.”
To his credit, rare in his profession, Debenedetti uses the phrase “illegal immigration,” not the more customary and deceptive “immigration.” This raises the question of how a secretary of state could become “notorious” for fighting two patently criminal activities, illegal immigration and vote fraud.
The New York Times article opens with a claim that makes absolutely no sense on the ground: “The evolution of the Kansas Republican Party mirrors that of the national party, a rightward shift from the moderation of Dwight D. Eisenhower to the mainstream conservatism of Bob Dole to the small-government absolutism of former Gov. Sam Brownback and Wichita-based Koch Industries.”
An assertion this off-base should be a fireable offense. In 2016, the most recent election, Kansas lurched hard to the left. Throughout Brownback’s era the powerful education lobby and its allies saw to it that Kansas government continued to grow.
We would recommend that reporter Jonathan Martin read the Sentinel article from Thursday, “Courts, Schools and Spendthrift Legislators Tee Up $3.7 Billion Kansas Tax Hike.” If he can construe Kansas’s potentially bankrupt future as a rightward lurch he is a media alchemist.
“Now the party appears to be shifting once more: toward the hard-line nationalism of President Trump,” argues Martin. This is an exercise not in journalism but in wish fulfillment. Martin cannot conceal his glee at the possibility that a Kobach candidacy would open the door for a Democratic victory in November.
From both headlines, one would suggest that recent polls dictated the reporting of these two publications, but that is not the case. Debenedetti says polling data is “scant.” Martin avoids the subject altogether.
The motives of both publication are painfully transparent. Teeing up the Kobach candidacy four days before the election prepares the way for a “Kansans reject Trump proxy” headline should Kobach lose on Tuesday.
If Kobach wins, well, our New York betters tried to warn us, didn’t they?