Fascinating development in the race for one of our state’s seats in the U.S. Senate: The Republican Party is coming out saying that Kris Kobach would hurt Donald Trump.
This despite the fact that Mr. Kobach is running on Mr. Trump’s agenda, and President Trump has consistently endorsed Mr. Kobach.
The thing is, the Republicans are right. Mr. Kobach would be a disaster.
Kris Kobach is an extremely divisive figure for a variety of reasons. He has gone around the country promoting anti-immigrant laws and policies. He rode around in campaign parades with a pretend automatic weapon, to show his support for gun rights. Running for governor, he wanted to double-down on the tax cuts of the Brownback administration.
In other words, he alienated a lot of people. A core of supporters loved him, of course, but he managed to lose a general election to Laura Kelly, a fairly low-profile Democrat in a state with an overwhelming Republican registration advantage. (The fact that he had a horrible record in federal courts also didn’t help.)
On this page, we warned Republicans about that. They didn’t listen to us — not that we really figured they would, since neither party seems to find an independent editorial voice terribly useful these days — and they reaped what they sowed by making him their nominee.
Mr. Kobach announced his candidacy Monday for the seat currently held by Pat Roberts. He said he would lead the charge for President Trump’s agenda in the Senate. But in response, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee pointed out that Mr. Kobach had lost to a Democrat last year, and that “Now, he wants to do the same and simultaneously put President Trump’s presidency and Senate majority at risk.”
Here’s the reality that the Republicans have to face: The harder they push for the “Trump agenda,” which is really just populism, nativism and a personality cult, the more they will drive away voters over time. The fact that they are pushing back against Mr. Kobach’s candidacy is a hopeful sign. Perhaps the pullback from that “agenda” is starting to happen.