Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Political commentator Ken Ciboski stands just right of center and offers a common-sense view of politics today.

Ken Ciboski's editorial commentary is also available on iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump is currently the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination for president. He has defied all predictions that his campaign for the nomination would collapse not long after he announced his candidacy.

Sedgwick County

There are rumblings pushing toward the idea of consolidating Sedgwick County and City of Wichita governments. Some people are unhappy with a divided Sedgwick County Commission on some budgetary matters for the coming fiscal year. Also, there is concern about how well the city-county partnership is working in funding some entities.

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Many Americans think and express the view that the United States is the greatest country in the world and that it has the best political and economic system that ever did exist. That may be, but we ought to ask: In comparison with what?

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Many Americans complain about the dominance of our two-party system at election time. America is peculiar among democracies with its two-party political system, which is in contrast to the multi-party system that is present in most other democracies. Having a two-party system means that candidates for any elected office, from president on down, are more likely to be successful if they run as a Republican or as a Democrat.

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The United States Supreme Court decided two landmark cases this past week. One affirmed subsidies for Americans purchasing health care insurance on a federal exchange. In a second case, Obergefell v. Hodges, the court, after refusing to hear earlier cases, declared same-sex marriage to be a right guaranteed under the Constitution, by expanding the penumbra of a constitutional right to gay couples.

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Emotions ran high, the political atmosphere was tense, and Governor Brownback reportedly “choked up” in a meeting with legislative leaders before the Kansas legislature ended its 2015 session at 4:00 a.m. on a Friday, when the House passed the largest tax increase in Kansas history.

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The 2015 Kansas state legislative session is winding down.

Critics complain that the legislature was in session too long to accomplish what it did. At the same time, we need to remember that the state legislature is the most important link between Kansans and their state government. It is also the most representative institution of the state.

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In my years of teaching political science, only a few students have expressed a desire to be a professional politician or to run for political office. Recently, I asked a class at Wichita State if they were encouraged while growing up to think about politics as a career. Only one person raised a hand.

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The question of what to do to fix a $400 million budget deficit projected for the state of Kansas next fiscal year is fraught with political peril for officeholders, especially if taxes are increased, which is likely.

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After five years of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and the failure after more than 50 votes in Congress to get the needed support to repeal the signature legislative achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans in Congress are dropping the effort for repeal and are turning to issues such as trade and tax reform.

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