Originally posted here.

“I’m totally new to politics”  says James Thompson, a civil rights lawyer in Kansas.  He may be new.  But, the noise he is making has reach Congress in Washington D.C.  This is especially evident with the amount of funding the Republican party is asking for in support of the opponent to James Thompson.  In this new age of politics, it is difficult to predict who will gain favor with voters.

Tuesday, April 11, is the day for a special election.  A vacancy was created when Mike Pompeo accepted a post in the Trump administration.  It seems the Republican party assumed as easy victory.  But, recently (just six days before the election) the National Republican Congressional Committee poured money into a last-minute media blitz.  Now, it seems that this is one of the most important elections of the year. House Speaker Paul Ryan announce a “personal request” that Republicans donate to this special cause, Ron Estes, in “one of the most important House races in the country.”

Special election with James Thompson and Ron Estes

Mike Pompeo was known as the “Koch Brothers’ Congressman” and “the congressman from Koch” because he seemed to always vote in favor of his biggest donors Charles and David Koch. Koch Industries is based in Wichita, the largest city in the 4th congressional district.  Thompson may snatch this seat from one of the wealthiest districts in the area.

Thompson is running a campaign that proudly embraces the “not the billionaires” ethic of Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid.   He is living proof that good people can rise from humble beginnings.   In his youth, he dropped out of high school to support his family.  Government assistance made it possible for him to climb out of poverty.  Now, he is fighting to make sure that the current leadership does not strip the nation of basic rights, such as healthcare and education and social safety nets.

“It’s in the first sentence of the Constitution—promote the general welfare,” says Thompson “We must provide a certain level of safety for everybody… make sure it’s accessible.”

This election is special in many ways.  The nation is split over Trump style politics and Sanders style of rants.  As the Topeka Capital-Journal reported last week, thousands of dollars are pouring in to save Estes, “Congressman from Koch.” More than $93,000 came to Estes’ last week.  Over $60,000 were spent on television advertisements.  Several industry leaders came out in support of Estes.  They include “American Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Business Aviation Association, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.”

Berniecrats and James Thompson

But the donors for Thompson are similar to the Sanders campaign model.   His campaign relies on small donations. Almost 95 percent of the Democrat’s donations are individual contributions.  The National Democratic Committee has not raised any funds on his behalf.  If James Thompson wins, it may shake the nation.

Estes is a career politician with strong ties to special-interest groups in Kansas and Washington.  His wife, Susan, was the Kansas-based field director for the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity. But, Kansas voters may be ready for a change.

Thompson has a tough challenge on hand. He is an outsider, with little financial support.  Maybe, his law skills will be enough to win some votes.  Yet, winning a few votes is not enough. While Estes, a Trump elector last year, defends the president and unpopular Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback, Thompson calls the special election “a referendum on Trump’s policies and Brownback’s policies.” In a sense, Thompson is taking on the president.

THE STAKES ARE HIGHER NOW THAN EVER. James Thompson wants your vote.

“It is not just our district or state that needs to be concerned about this election. This election is literally about a man who wants to take the failed policies of the Brownback administration and nationalize them,” says Thompson. “We have shown why trickle-down economics don’t work, we have shown his policies have failed. They have been disastrous for our state.”

In front of 1,500 Kansas Democrats and their allies, “ground zero for trickle-down economics,” said Sanders when he came to Kansas in February. “We can defeat the Trump agenda. We can create a progressive America if millions of people stand up and fight back.”

 

2017 is turning out to be a turbulent year indeed.  What happens Tuesday will be most interesting.  It will be even more interesting if it is displayed in the president’s Twitter account.

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