Monday, November 05, 2018
Ten reasons why Claire McCaskill will win
The eyes of the nation will be on Missouri Tuesday night.
That's the kind of rhetoric you always hear as elections approach and this time is no different.
The U. S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and her Republican challenger, Attorney General Josh Hawley, is a key race as the Republicans attempt to maintain their hold in Congress.
While the odds of the Democrats retaking the Senate are slim, a loss by McCaskill would eliminate them altogether.
The Democrats may not regain control of the Senate, but all signs point to them holding on to this U. S. Senate seat.
Here are 10 reasons why the Missouri U. S. Senate position will not fall into GOP hands Tuesday:
1. Roy Blunt- The pundits are fixated on Donald Trump's approximately 20 percentage point win in the Show Me State in 2016. I have not heard anyone talking about the 2016 Senate race. Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander lost to Republican incumbent Roy Blunt by less than three percentage points.
Part of that was Kander's energetic campaign; part of it was a growing dissatisfaction with Blunt even from members of his own party.
A big factor was the Trump phenomenon. Voters were willing to take a shot at voting for someone who was not a politician. Blunt was definitely a politician.
So is Josh Hawley.
2. Hillary Clinton- In 2016, the Democrats picked the only candidate who could have lost to Donald Trump and even she was able to beat him in the popular vote by three million. Clinton did not generate the excitement among Democrats that Barack Obama did and she lost many of Missouri's Bernie Sanders supporters who elected to stay at home.
Nobody's staying at home this time.
3. Todd Akin- Claire McCaskill's 2012 opponent has nothing to do with this race. I am using him to make a point.
Todd Akin was more qualified to be a U. S. Senator than Josh Hawley.
While I realize that's not saying much, consider the following:
When Akin ran against McCaskill, he was well into his sixth term in the U. S. House of Representatives. had served in the military and had experience in business, as well as being a pro-life activist.
Josh Hawley's background falls short of even Akin standards. While he did serve as a clerk for U. S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, obviously a plus, Hawley built his reputation on winning the Hobby Lobby case in the Supreme Court. While he was involved in the case, it was primarily as a backbencher.
Other than that, Hawley's background is less than two years, and not particularly strong ones, as Missouri's attorney general.
4. The Joplin Area- This area will play a major role in Claire McCaskill's victory.
Don't get me wrong. McCaskill will come nowhere near to beating Hawley in Joplin and the surrounding area.
She doesn't need to.
Unlike many other Democratic candidates who have totally neglected this area, McCaskill has been in Jasper County, Greene County and other venues in southwest Missouri. This is nothing new. She did that when she upset Jim Talent in 2006 and when she beat Akin six years later.
During those campaigns, however, she did not visit this area as often during the latter stages of the campaign. She was in Joplin just a couple of weeks ago.
Even that might not be enough, but this time she has reinforcements.
For the first time in recent memory, the Democrats have fielded candidates for each of the seats in the Missouri House of Representatives in the Joplin area and though those candidacies are long shots in this rock-ribbed Republican part of the country, they are being waged by high-energy people who have been following the tried-and-true retail politics game, going door to door and talking to as many people as possible.
Forget the robocalls, that is how you win voters. While even a re-energized Democratic party in this area is at a disadvantage, it should be able to bring enough voters to the polls to add a few percentage points to McCaskill's total and that may be all she needs.
5. Health Care- Missourians are not stupid.
The idea that Josh Hawley made a big deal out of being a plaintiff in a lawsuit to completely eliminate the Affordable Care Act and then claims he will make sure that those with pre-existing conditions are insured is laughable.
Perhaps it would have been easier to sell if we did not have the recent evidence of a Republican Party that railed against the Affordable Care Act for more than eight years and then when voters elected enough of its candidates to take control of both houses of Congress revealed that it had not been able to come up with any kind of health care plan in all of that time.
We all either have pre-existing conditions or have loved ones who have pre-existing conditions. So when Hawley responded to the Democratic attacks centering on his role in the lawsuit by noting that his son Elijah has a pre-existing condition so why would he be against covering them, it was not convincing.
We all know that Hawley can afford the kind of insurance that can cover pre-existing conditions. Most of us those he is asking to vote for him cannot.
6. Donald Trump- Having the support of Donald Trump is a double-edged sword. For those who adore our president, his stamp of approval is all it takes for them to cast their votes for Josh Hawley. And there are a great many Trump supporters in this state.
That being said, there are many independents in Missouri who are troubled by Trump's propensity to divide rather than unite the country, his juvenile insults, his penchant for kissing up to dictators and his complete disregard for any and all rules that govern this nation, including at times the U. S. Constitution.
Even those conservative leaning independents who appreciate the appointment of Supreme Court Justices Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and who may agree with many of Trump's policies see a need for some oversight on his presidency.
That is not going to come from Josh Hawley.
7. Women- While I am fully aware that many Missouri women will cast their ballots for Josh Hawley because they agree with his conservative philosophy and are not enamoured with Claire McCaskill, women will still play a role in McCaskill's win.
More women vote Democratic or are independent than are Republicans and the party's complete and total backing of President Trump during a time when he has made a number of disparaging and disrespectful comments about women appears to have caused a few Republican women to reconsider voting for the party's candidates. It is not many of them, but in order for it to make a difference in the Senate campaign, it does not have to be.
There is also a growing understanding that much of the most vehement opposition toward Claire McCaskill comes from people who are simply not comfortable with having an outspoken woman in any position of power. You hear Chuck Schumer's name mentioned in some of the negative advertising, but the real venom in those ads is reserved for Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. That is no accident.
8. Eric Greitens- For those of you who do not remember, at one time Eric Greitens was governor of Missouri. One of Hawley's early challenges was how to deal with allegations against Greitens. He wiggled, he wobbled and the decisions he made did not satisfy anyone.
He conducted an investigation that was not really an investigation, which meant he did not please those who thought Greitens was the subject of a witch hunt and he did not go far enough for those people, including many Republicans, who thought Greitens' activities and these allegations were demeaning the state.
9. Those ladders- Josh Hawley's successful campaign for attorney general included an ad in which he was surrounded by ladders and made it a point to say that he was not running for attorney general just to position himself for higher office.
When he announced his Senate bid, he made it clear that he had to be talked into it, for the good of Missouri, of course.
Recent reporting by the Kansas City Star makes it clear that decision had already been made, probably even at the time Hawley made that ad. Hawley was working with consultants right from the start to position himself to run for the Senate. That included decisions on what cases the attorney general's office should pursue.
In other words, Hawley's argument that McCaskill has sold out to Washington and no longer represents Missouri seems a bit hollow.
10. Claire McCaskill- Claire McCaskill is a politician. And there is nothing wrong with that. Politics, while never pretty, is admirable, especially when practiced by people who can relate to their constituents.
McCaskill is a seasoned campaigner who bounced back from a narrow loss to Matt Blunt in the 2004 gubernatorial race to win two hard-fought Senate races.
While Josh Hawley may well turn out to be a solid politician at some point in his career, he has not arrived there at this point. His campaign has been awkward, consultant-driven and he appears to be a pre-fab candidate.
Admittedly, it was an earlier point in the campaign, but when I had a chance to watch Hawley in action, but from what I could see, he is not comfortable meeting with constituents. That can be worked on, but it will have to be in a future campaign or as he conducts his business as Missouri's attorney general.
Josh Hawley's campaign is Trump-driven and consultant-driven.
Claire McCaskill will be elected to her third term in the U. S. Senate Tuesday.