Additional reading: Our one pager on the Kansas Senate election.
“Trusted by Trump.” That’s Roger Marshall’s big sell to his constituents. With 180,000 Americans and counting having lost their lives to COVID, 40 million at risk of losing their homes, and unemployment claims at a historic high, it’s not a very good argument.
Few politicians have put themselves as comfortably in Donald Trump’s pocket as Roger Marshall. He currently propagates the myth that mail-in voting will lead to election fraud. His support for the president’s efforts to dismantle the United State Postal Service also directly contradicts his professed dedication to Kansas’ rural areas, many of whom rely on the USPS to mail their bills, keep their small businesses running, and receive prescription drugs because private services don’t service small, far-flung communities. Even urban Kansans are waiting many more days for essential prescriptions and Social Security checks. In his haste to affirm the president’s fear-mongering, Roger Marshall is letting all Kansans, but especially the most vulnerable, take the hit.
Roger Marshall is a doctor and proud of it. He even unsuccessfully campaigned to have his name listed on the ballot as “Doc.” So here’s another reason why his ardent admiration for Trump bespeaks poor leadership ability: all doctors, like lawmakers, are required to take an oath. In the Hippocratic Oath, doctors swear to do no harm. Yet Marshall is so taken in by Donald Trump that he publicly recommended to his constituents that they take hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that Trump resoundingly endorsed as a miracle treatment for defending against COVID-19. Not only is there no scientific evidence to support the claim that the drug prevents COVID-19, but there is actually substantial evidence that it causes serious and even fatal side effects, which means that Dr. Marshall has allowed even his cherished professional judgement to be clouded by his adoration for Donald Trump. If he was willing to turn his back on the Hippocratic oath to trumpet the president’s nonsense, what’s to say he won’t violate the oath of office that keeps our democracy working for the same reason? The public’s welfare should always be a Senator’s first priority, and Marshall’s unquestioning devotion to Trump proves him unfit to independently represent the people of Kansas.
Kansans don’t need a leader who prioritizes his desire for office over their health and wellbeing. Marshall continues to flout public health recommendations to this day, campaigning in person, oftentimes without a mask, despite the fact that rates of COVID-19 continue to rise in Kansas. The simple truth is that Marshall doesn’t stand up for all Kansans. He doesn’t believe that transgender people deserve rights, thinks that businesses and adoption agencies should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, and staunchly opposes a woman’s right to privacy and to choose what is best for her own body.
Not only his social views, but also his policy plans, are retrograde. Many are painting the Kansas Senate race as a face-off between two doctors with two radically different ideas of what will cultivate good healthcare in America. While the challenger, Dr. Barbara Bollier, wants to expand Medicaid, protect people with pre-existing conditions, and build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act to make healthcare more affordable, Dr. Marshall voted to repeal the ACA and to replace it with a plan of his own that would have stripped insurance from fully ⅙ of Americans and jacked up premiums over the next decade. So if this really is a battle between two different ideas of what healthcare should look like in the United States, then this is Marshall’s vision: sky-high premiums, no protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and overall fewer insured Americans. This shouldn’t be a surprise: Marshall has been up front about his belief that poor people “just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
Roger Marshall has repeatedly turned his back on his constituents’ needs in a bizarre bid for Donald Trump’s attention. He’s abandoned the LGBTQ+ community to discrimination, negated the existence of systemic racism (saying, in response to a constituent’s question about Trump’s deplorable use of force to clear protesters, “I don’t see color”), risked the wellbeing of rural Kansans, and denied the universal human right to healthcare. But Marshall’s close relationship with Trump means he’s plenty well funded, and we’ll need all the help we can get if we want to flip this red state blue. Join Flip the West to elect the right Doctor for the job and show Marshall that his retrograde ideas don’t have a place in our American future.