Talking Politics: Breaking Down the 2018 Missouri Midterm Elections | KBIA

Talking Politics: Breaking Down the 2018 Missouri Midterm Elections

Dec 7, 2018

Some of you might be interested to know that this coming Saturday is the 666th day of the Trump presidency.

How did your party and candidate and ballot issue do last week? I feel the same way: Could have been worse, could have been better.

If you are a Republican you like picking up seats in the U.S. Senate, with Missouri being a big contributor to that. You don’t like losing the U.S. House, especially by more than the average number of seats after a presidential election.

If you are a Democrat you don’t like Claire McCaskill’s loss but you love all the flipped governorships and the House majority with its potential for serious mischief for the Trump administration and agenda. You will take Nicole Galloway’s auditor win, even though – or maybe because – she beat a Republican who was a complete catastrophe. You are disheartened that there was a gain of exactly zero in the Missouri House and Senate, and that your party remains a super-minority in both chambers.

In an earlier commentary I said there might be a Blue Trickle in Missouri. It turns out there was a Blue Slough, with one of the dictionary definitions of “slough” being a situation characterized by lack of progress.

Locally, U.S. Representative Hartzler was easily reelected. All incumbent state legislators won and no race was close. The two Democratic representatives whose districts are entirely in Boone Co. won; the three Republican representatives whose districts go into adjacent counties won. Boone Co. is a purple island surrounded by a red sea that extends to Kansas City on the west, St. Louis on the east, Des Moines on the north, and New Orleans on the south.

Dan Atwill was handily reelected presiding commissioner. Republican incumbent county clerk Taylor Burke lost to Democrat Breanna Lennon. It must have been awkward and painful for him on election night, reporting the county vote totals that included his own defeat.

I was heartened by two developments. One was the huge local and national turnout. Way to go voters. The other was that it appears to be possible to educate the electorate in a sophisticated way. The three medical marijuana proposals were a confusing mess. If you were a supporter there was a preferred outcome – Amendment 2 passing, Amendment 3 and proposition B losing. Proponents got it done, quite amazingly in my view.

My prediction is that medical marijuana is a gateway amendment to recreational marijuana, maybe not right away but soon enough. Missouri is the 31st medical marijuana state and Michigan became the sixth recreational marijuana state last Tuesday. Hey man, it’s what’s happenin’. Be cool.

On the other hand Missourians remain allergic to higher taxes, defeating the ten cent fuel tax increase. The proposal was corrupted by the exemption for Olympic medal winners – what was that all about? – and Highway Patrol funding – was that necessary? In any case, I-70 may become a gravel road between St. Louis and Kansas City, but we will still have the second lowest gas taxes in the country.

And the best news is that the 2020 election campaign began about seven minutes after the 2018 campaign ended.