Cory Gardner. Joni Ernst. Thom Tillis. Lindsey Graham. What do they all have in common?

They are all former state legislators. They are far-right Republicans. They are all sitting United States Senators. While we have good hope of unseating at least some of them in November, let’s look to the future and see if we can learn something about how they got there.

Today’s Daily Kos makes good points in this regard: “It’s long past time we smash up this malign pipeline and focus on building up our own talent pool in the states. The best part, though, is that it’s a two-for-one proposition: For every budding GOP state legislator whose rise we can thwart [for example, Wendy Rogers and Walt Blackman], we’ll also be giving a huge opportunity to a rising progressive.”

For Republicans, the nation’s statehouses have been the ideal breeding ground for succeeding generations of ever-more-conservative members of Congress. The GOP has spent decades devoting almost limitless resources to develop this farm system, giving it ready-made candidates tailored to exacting Koch brothers specifications who will, once they get to Washington, uphold every plank of the party’s authoritarian agenda.

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