What to make of the local election results? I’ll tell you what I make of it: Voters rejected partisanship and picked individual candidates they liked.

The conservative burn-down-the-house types basically lost. The liberal ticket also didn’t fly. The result is that both sides need to learn to work with each other to get things done, which is as it should be.

Let me back up a minute and congratulate the winners, and offer a word of encouragement to the losers. It was a very active local campaign, and that’s almost entirely good. People got engaged in matters related to their city government and their public school system, and that’s excellent. The candidates were all capable of doing the work that needs to get done, and the candidates are to be saluted for volunteering to serve. Everybody running did so because they want to improve the community.

Kent Glasscock, the Manhattanite who became Speaker of the Kansas House, had a nice way of looking at local election results. The voters in Manhattan, Kent said, are always right. Whatever the decision, it’s the right decision, because the Manhattan voters made it.

Circular, I know, but also completely correct, and very healthy.

The candidates themselves cleaved the field in half, and if you want to look at it that way, the results were a completely even 50-50 split. The liberals won two of three on the school board, and the conservatives won two of three on the City Commission. Why that way and not the other? Well, I’m guessing that people didn’t bite the hook on the silly argument that the school system is messed up, but they did in fact feel that the property tax increase at the city this past year was too heavy.

But even that interpretation is shaky, since one conservative won a school board seat and the top vote-getter on the City Commission was an incumbent who supported the tax increase.

If there’s one common theme, it’s that familiar names prevailed. The only new public office-holder of the six will be Christine Weixelman on the school board. And there was guaranteed to be one of those, since only two previous office-holders ran in that race. They both won.

How to move forward from here? Simple: Work together on those elected boards. And that’s going to happen naturally. Actually doing the work tends to make people moderate their silly campaign positions. Because the truth is, once you get in office, you find out that the administrators who run these operations are doing a really good job, and you’d be a numbskull to try to burn them down.

To the chairs of the local political parties, here’s how to move forward: Knock it off. It didn’t work.

Get out of these non-partisan elections. Sell your malarkey in 2022, and 2024, but leave 2023 alone. OK? OK.

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