In an earlier post today I noted in passing that Trump’s victory in Missouri was not exactly a landslide and did not represent a majority of eligible voters in Missouri. I laid out the numbers in a footnote to support my casual assertion to that effect:
Missouri’s had 4,109,936 registered voters as of 2012; only 2,808,605 Missourians voted in 2016 – and of those, only 1,594,511 voted for Trump – 39% of the eligible voters in Missouri delivered the state to Trump.
After I made this observation, I began to think about what it might signify and a couple of things occurred to me:
- Everyone takes it as a given that in order to survive the red-wave, Missouri Democrats like Claire McCaskill have to walk down the center line, balancing their few deviations leftwards with genuflections towards the right side of the road. But could this careful political parsing be why so many Missourians are politically disengaged? Could it be that lots of Missourians are staying away from the polls because they don’t want to vote the strict all guns, no gays ticket, but they just don’t see that there’s a real alternative? Or at least an alternative that makes its presence known. Could an overly cautious Claire McCaskill be stifling the voter enthusiasm that might reward a more principled progressive stance?
- Shouldn’t folks like McCaskill and other state Democrats be dong more to combat voter suppression – especially since it’s poised to take off big-time now that the GOP vote suppression gang is running the state show? How about greeting the voter ID perfecting Jay Ashcroft and Josh Hawlely with a lawsuit?
Numbers tell stories, and the story they tell about Missouri’s voter turnout is one of disengagement and apathy that will only be augmented by the machinations on the part of Missouri’s Republican political establishment to keep Democrats away from the polls. Lest you doubt, there’s ample evidence that the GOP voter fraud concerns are directed at keeping as many Democrats from voting as possible. And that’s bad, but just as bad is if the efforts of Grundy-pandering Democrats to work the political room are having the same effect.