For Missourians: November 2010 Election Ballot

This posting is applicable primarily to people living in/near my district, but certainly Missouri as a whole. I will note measures and offices as well as particular candidates of interest. Links will be available to allow you to do your own research – an educated voter is a smart voter – and though you’re free to ignore or disagree with some of my assessments and opinions, I’ll mention some of my own thoughts.
Republicans, conservatives and libertarians vote on November 2nd, all others vote on November 3rd. ) Just kidding, seriously. That said, I have a funny feeling quite a number of liberals and Democrats will not be voting en masse this November as they had two years ago. Wonder why? ;)

There will be 5 measures on the ballot – if you’ve been listening to the radio, you’re probably aware of two or three of them already. Ballotpedia has it broken down and links give further information:

Amendment 1 Requires the assessors in charter counties (except Jackson County) to be elected
Amendment 2 Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Former Prisoners of War
Amendment 3 Prohibit taxes for the sale/transfer of homes or any other real estate
Proposition A Amendments to the cities currently using earnings taxes
Proposition B Adopt new rules for dog-breeders in the state

You can also look at Missouri’s Sec. State website.

The big voting ticket will be for a US Senator from Missouri to replace retiring Senator Kit Bond. A number of US Representatives are up for vote as well as numerous State Senators, Representatives, judges and State Auditor. Again, MO Sec. State has the complete breakdown, but I will highlight some of the seats and those running. You may also want to check your local county website for information pertaining to your specific town and/or locale. St. Louis County for example is voting on the County Executive, County Council seats and a number of towns and districts are voting on specific local seats, measures and issues.

For US Senate, the big names running are Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan, but let us not forget that there are two third party contenders, Jonathan Dine – Libertarian and Jerry Beck – Constitution.

For US Representative, the big race is MO 3, between Democrat Russ Carnahan and Republican Ed Martin. Yup, you read that right. Russ and Robin are siblings, a political dynasty the Carnahans are. That said, Roy Blunt is part of another political dynasty, the Blunt family. The MO 5 race is said to be a toss-up; Democrat incumbent Emanuel Cleaver Jr. is trying to keep his seat. MO 4 could be another seat that changes hands; Democrat Ike Skelton, originally thought solid has been looking vulnerable. Probably the most well known district, MO 1, held by Democrat Lacy Clay will probably stay the same.

The other big race is for State Auditor, and this is only because over the years it seems to have become a stepping stone for furthering political careers and office seeking. Current Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill was once State Auditor as was retired John Ashcroft. Susan Montee (D) is trying to keep her seat against Tom Schweich (R) and Charles Baum (L).

I’ve previously looked at the numbers from prior elections and primaries over the last four years or so and my assessments still stand I think. Roy Blunt looks like he could win, as will Tom Schweich. Both will win, I believe, due to the prevailing anti-Democrat and incumbent wave having taken the nation over the last year. From there it gets sketchy. Numerically my analysis led me to believe Russ Carnahan will hold on to his seat by sheer turnout. Though voter ire continues to grow in that district, historically it has leaned Democrat and said Democrats have had the lion share of the votes. This past primary continued to show the same percentage trend, even though more Republicans did vote for Mr. Martin than previous Republicans had garnered.

Since I have not followed the other seats and individuals, I cannot give any further assessment on Mr. Cleaver or Mr. Skelton’s chances, and as far as state offices, I’m clueless. I suspect that for the most part, each district will not vary by much in way of seats changing party hands. I’d love to see Mr. Clay lose his seat, but I just do not see it happening unless by a “miracle”. His district, like many, is fairly lopsided in his favor and leans heavily Democrat; even with the conservative, anti-establishment tide rising, MO 1 would have to have triple the Republican votes to unseat him. Again, the August primary did not show this happening. I bring up the August primary because I believe it could be a forecast of the November election and turnout when compared to 2008 and 2006. The primary this past August showed that Roy Blunt and Tom Schweich both have the numbers to beat Robin and Susan; conversely Russ and Lacy still looked strong.

All of that said, I’m pitching pragmatism out and sticking to principles. Over the years I’ve vacillated and analyzed who to vote for and why, often figuratively “holding my nose”. I did so in 2008 for McCain. That said, I voted Constitution Party for president in 2004. The point I’m making is that I’ve grown tired of the game and I want out. I no longer care about the bigger political picture because at the end of the day it always boils down to pragmatic compromise. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, who’s in power, etc.

The current political backlash and conservative/libertarian wave that is washing over the nation is trying to affect both parties and the system in general. As things move along though, what I see in the solidification and growth of the Tea Party and conservative movements gives me serious pause. I’m left with a feeling that we’re about to replace one establishment with another that will eventually be just as “bad” as the “first”. I say this because at the end of the day, while I’m fiscally conservative, my social values and beliefs come first. Frankly, what I see is lip service to social conservatism by the Tea Party and conservative up-swell, no matter how much they say otherwise.

The fact is that just as blacks have been seen as a reliable voter base for Democrats and have been used by the Democrat establishment, so too Christian conservatives and other social conservatives have been largely used by the Republicans and fiscal conservative politicians. This isn’t to say that socially conservative issues don’t get passed or promoted by Republicans and avowed conservatives, but as a rule it’s pretty clear that we are seen as a means to an end; political power. What is more, social conservatives are waking up. Many of us have been aware of this for some time, hoping things would change, but, with the conservative resurgence and the focus on fiscal issues, some are threatening to walk away.

As secular as ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is, it’s time for Christians to figuratively* go “John Galt”. Remember, we’re called to be in the world but not of it. Furthermore, as I previously discussed, we need to have a proper perspective on our role in our nation and government. This isn’t to say that we must totally disengage; rather it is to say that we need to think radically.

If you are a social conservative, placing high value on life, family and beliefs, then it is time to stop giving in to the political game of compromise – pragmatism. The left and Democrats may see this as a victory and gain for them and particular seats, but they’re not seeing the larger picture. The big picture is God; worship, devotion to Him and personal witness in our daily life – loving one another, spreading the Gospel. That is our primary duty. Instead, many Christians have been placing this nation before God and focusing way too much energy and faith in political action and laws. Sure, we should exercise our rights and fight to keep this nation on a good path, but I wonder how many of us have given lengthy introspection into our beliefs, core values and principles.

All of this is to say, I find that I cannot vote for Roy Blunt or Tom Schweich. I saw pragmatism rule the day during the primaries. My understanding has always been that every election should be voting for who you feel is best for the position, no matter if it’s a primary or regular election. You then continue to reassess at each stage. Typically the compromises come in during the general election, people largely lining up behind one of two party candidates. Instead I have heard conservative radio pundits say that the primary was a time to vote for the candidate who not only was the most conservative, but had the best chance of winning. Excuse me? This is the Buckley Rule. Excuse my French, but that’s bass ackward. You vote for the most conservative candidate, and then you MAKE them electable for the general. Many states have proved that they’re putting principle before pragmatism, such as Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and look what happened. A flagging campaign became flush with cash once she won. She’s been the underdog the whole time. The same thing occured with in Nevada and no doubt in other states. Yet, here in Missouri, big names came out swinging for Blunt and Schweich while there were clearly more conservative candidates running such as Chuck Purgason and Tom Icet. Missouri is supposed to be a Tea Party hotbed, yet the Republican establishment ruled the day and the “Tea Party” and conservatives went right along all out of fear: Robin Carnahan and continued Democrat dominance. Vocally the Tea Party said they weren’t for Blunt, but polls say most who align with the Tea Party are firmly behind him… and then he went and signed their little treaty.

So what. This is what it boils down to; so what? I say again, perspective and priorities. Again and again we’re often left with a vote that equates to a “lesser of two evils” so to speak. Every vote rests on hope. Hope in a candidate didn’t start with Barack Obama. It began with the very first candidates American colonists elected. Time and time again they fail us, and by proxy we fail ourselves because we buy into the lie that is pragmatism and compromise. Squelch your distaste of candidate ‘x’ because of their stance on this issue because they’re promising ‘y’ and are good on ‘z’. It becomes a gamble, meanwhile they get snug in their seat and tell you year in and year out that they’re the only candidate for you to get things done. In part that’s certainly what the anti-incumbent mood is about in the nation, getting sick of entrenched politicians who’ve lied their whole career, but what I see being sold to social conservatives is just seat switching – musical chairs.

I will continue to vote for Republicans, but I’ll also vote for more third parties or no one at all if I’m displeased with the whole selection. I completely realize that many people may win who I don’t like, and laws and other things may change in such a way that is displeasing to me, even “harmful”. Again, this doesn’t mean I just take my licks. I have a right and privilege as every American does to engage in the system and with my elected officials. The point is that I’m refusing to play the game at all, and if enough people do it, the whole system of the political game will have to be radically redefined and played. I understand that on a national level the third parties are irrelevant by the machinations of the Republican and Democrat parties, but that is because we’ve allowed that to happen.

Do not vote for a party, hope or pragmatic political chess. Vote your principles and stick to them come what may. You shape them; don’t let them shape you.

And if Roy Blunt and Tom Schweich both lose this election, maybe that’ll be a good lesson to Missouri conservatives to stick to their principles instead of the St. Louis Tea Party Assoc. and establishment Republicans. Frankly I think the Tea Party movement is growing too fast and too big. They need some balloons popped to learn a little humility and slow down, not taking social conservatives – specifically Christians – for granted. It’s not the end of this nation or the world if Democrats continue to maintain power until 2012 or beyond – no matter how much they and president Obama continue to push us over the brink and/or into full statism.

– Backtracking a little, on the ballot measures, be sure you read them thru and do your own research. Specifically Amendment 3 and Prop. B. (more so B). The more I learn about Prop B, the less I like it. It was either sloppily put together or it’s another stealth bill like the cloning/stem cell bill Amendment 2 was in 2006. In a nutshell, what I surmise is that while on the surface the bill is emotively sound, it’ll actually do more harm than good. Many farmers are downright leery of it.

* I say figuratively because Ayn Rand and John Galt were/are not Christians and much of what Atlas Shrugged espouses is contrary to Christian belief. But you get the gist.