Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

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

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Senator Bernie Sanders says that the campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is too personal and that critical economic and foreign policy issues are not being debated.

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The latest survey asking people about their political party identification finds that 42 percent of individuals who are of voting age say that they are Independents. We also know that “pure” independents do not exist in large numbers. “Pure” independents are those who study in detail the issues and the backgrounds of candidates and their positions on issues. Many people will not do so because the payoff would not be great when voters think that their vote will not affect the election outcome.

State revenue shortfalls for Kansas this fiscal year dominated the news this past week. A couple of headlines read: “Should be worried about state revenue;” and “Sam Brownback, a politician of faith and risk, faces his biggest crisis.” Some earlier headlines: “The Dysfunction of Oz,” “Kansas’ Ruinous Tax Cuts” and “America’s worst governor.” Excuses are offered for each shortfall, and the Governor and other state officials seem unwilling to concede that the Governor’s tax plan is not bringing in needed revenues.

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Last Wednesday evening a record number of 11 Republican candidates for president were on stage for a televised debate. I came away with the feeling that a real debate had not occurred.

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I hear it expressed repeatedly that, “If you do not vote in an election, then you have no right to complain or to criticize.” We should remember that individuals who do not cast a vote in an election can still exercise their right to free speech in our democracy.

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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.