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Commentary: Predicting Election Day Winners

Sully Fox
KBIA file photo

Here are some predictions about the election.  The sell-by date is close-of-business today, no refunds, and the product is guaranteed to be either delicious or rotten.

Partly because Trump will run strongly in Missouri, Senator Blunt will be narrowly reelected.  Jason Kander has run an impressive race and has a promising future in Democratic politics, win or lose.

All of Missouri’s U. S. Representatives will be comfortably reelected.

Chris Koster will defeat Eric Greitens for governor.  The National Rifle Association and Farm Bureau endorsements will put him over the top.

Russ Carnahan will be the only other Democrat to win statewide office.  Name recognition will allow him to hold off Mike Parson.  The Democratic nominees for Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney General are female, and one or more of them could conceivably win if there is an extremely strong women’s vote for Clinton that continues down the ballot, but all of them have been significantly outspent.

In the local state senate race I think Caleb Rowden will upset Stephen Webber.  A huge majority in Cooper County will neutralize Webber’s modest advantage in Boone County.

In the competitive local state representative races I think Republican Sherry Reisch will win Rowden’s old seat and Republican Chuck Bayse will keep his seat.

In the Boone County commission races Democrat Janet Thompson will be reelected in the Northern District, and Republican Fred Parry should win the Southern District, although a win by the newcomer Brianna Lennon will not be a shock.

A final comment about the presidential race.  I’ve talked to several people whose judgment I respect and who know a lot more about this than I do.  They run the spectrum from liberal partisan Democrat to conservative partisan Republican.  All of them think Hillary Clinton will win, and their average number of Electoral Votes is about 300.  I agree with them.

If you are of a certain age you will recall the 1968 election, which was the last time someone other than a Republican or Democratic presidential candidate carried a state.  George Wallace was the American Independent Party candidate and his angry anti-establishment, states’ rights appeal attracted millions of followers.  Wallace carried five Southern states but did not do as well nationally as many thought he would.  Some thought he would keep Richard Nixon or Hubert Humphrey from winning an Electoral College majority.

The best New Yorker cartoon I’ve ever seen was that year.  It had a guy washing his car and it’s starting to rain.  The guy is looking up and the caption is: “That’s it.  I’m voting for Wallace.” 

Some of that is going on now, 48 years later, but there is the possibility that some Donald Trump supporters, when they actually go vote, will decide they have taken their protest far enough and not actually cast their vote for Trump.  Or times and society may be different enough that Trump supporters, even those who fully comprehend the risks of a Trump presidency, will actually vote for him without hesitation.

We’ll know tomorrow if the lyrics from the song from the movie Casablanca give us the theme for this election: “The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.”  Even if they do, get ready for several weeks of post-election turmoil that may make us pine for the relative tranquility of the battle that followed the bitterly-contested 2000 election.

But if the fundamentals don’t apply and all the conventional wisdom is wrong and Donald Trump is elected, then you and I will have front row seats for a political upheaval unlike anything we have seen in this country since the 1930s.

Be sure to tune in to KBIA tonight for local and NPR election coverage.

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