Why former Republican Jean Schodorf must be considered a serious contender to replace the pig-headed Secretary of State in Kansas
Kansas is a state mired in the compounded result of years of incompetent Republican leadership. Kris Kobach, the current Secretary of State, represents the epitome of this ham-fisted idiocy. In the interests of a more open, egalitarian, and progressive state it is necessary to remove the rust from the Kansas capitol.
I. Knowing the Enemy
Kris Kobach, born in 1966, currently serves as Kansas Secretary of State. He is a former graduate of both Harvard and Oxford, as well as Yale Law School. Kobach also serves as legal counsel for the Immigration Law Reform Institute, which is a legal arm of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Kobach has taken a conservative, hard line on immigration. He even served as counsel on immigration to the Mitt Romney campaign (his innovation of the idea of “self-deportation” comes to mind). To that end he has also taken much criticism from human rights groups and liberals alike. His stance can, at times, border on ridiculousness. When he was invited to speak at the 2004 Republian convention, for example, he used his time to assert the necessity of American combat troops stationed at the border to curb illegal immigration.
FAIR, the group which he serves as legal counsel for, has been categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.” This categorization comes for many reasons. The group’s founder, John Tantor, has a dubious past when it comes to racial stance. His record includes past questioning of the “educatability” of Latinos. He is also quoted as stating that, “for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” There have also been allegations of possible anti-semitism in Tantor.
The group’s current president, Dan Stein, is also in question in this respect as he has stated that many immigrants “hate America.” He has also attacked the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, which ended the imposition of often racist immigration quotas, as retaliation for years of “Anglo-Saxon dominance.” Kobach has stated of FAIR’s status as a hate group that he is “aware” of this designation but that it is apparently incorrect. He has fervently denied that he has ever or ever will be involved with any group which espouses intentionally racist ideologies.
Kobach’s political career has also been characterized by systematic efforts at voter suppression. In the state of Kansas, for example, he supported what amounted to a two-tiered voter system. This system featured an internal imbalance wherein voters who qualified to vote on the federal level may not have qualified to vote at the state level due to perceived “discrepancies” in individual immigration records (the requirement for “proof of citizenship” in many instances).
Kris Kobach is formerly the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party. Under his tenure, as was discovered in an later FEC audit, the state Republican Party failed to pay many state and federal taxes for years. There were also allegations of the reception of illegal campaign contributions. He also instituted a “loyalty committee” to ensure that Republicans stay on their side of the aisle. This, of course, only served to disenfranchise many Republicans in the moderate section of the political spectrum.
II. Fighting Back One Office at a Time
Jean Schodorf was one of these Republicans. In 2013 she changed her party affiliation to Democrat and is running to challenge Kris Kobach for Kansas Secretary of State. Schodorf will bring welcome change to a state which finds itself at an operational standstill.
Her platform consists in reforming the current voter registration system so that it may become more efficient and progressive for the modern era. This will necessarily consist in registering those voters who have been disenfranchised under Kobach’s tenure. She will also, in contrast to Kris Kobach, endeavor to spend a great majority of her time actually working on issues for the taxpayers of Kansas, instead of taking significant perids of time off for personal reasons.
Jean Schodorf represents a non-partisan candidate well-suited for the position for which she is running. She has support on both sides of the aisle and will be able to coordinate many bi-partisan solutions to problems currently facing the state of Kansas. Progressives must realize her value in the struggle for a more inclusive, democratic society. The state of Kansas is one small step on the path to individual liberty and flourishing on a global scale.