The August 3rd primaries are coming up in Missouri, so I thought I'd share my 2 cents on a few of the upcoming races. I don't claim to be an expert on the intricacies of all of the local races, and as you'll see I don't have a strong opinion on many of the contests, but I thought it might be helpful to share at least one perspective from a progressive point of view on the elections. The November general elections are often the traditional Democrat v. Republican matchup, so primaries can be a great opportunity is a place like the St. Louis area to really look for candidates that reflect the values you care about.
So with no further ado...
The Most Important Point: VOTE NO ON PROP C! Proposition C is a right wing attempt to roll back the health care reforms passed after a long and brutal struggle earlier in the year. As has been pointed out by those on the left and the right, Proposition C will not be legally binding. However, it's an attempt by the Right to create the impression that people are opposed to the reforms (many of which have not even taken effect yet). In fact, with support of the new health care laws growing, this vote can be seen largely as an attempt by the Right to shift momentum back in their favor. The Right in Missouri has been organizing around this issue for a while, with no comparable effort on the Left, so Prop C is likely to win. However, since it's really about sending a message, and since the Right has raised the goalposts pretty high (for example, right-wing blogger Jim Durbin at 24thstate, who's been working on this campaign for a while, said they were aiming at getting 75% of the vote), we can send a strong message by generating a significant No on Prop C vote. Basically every vote matters for the national narrative, and everyone who votes against Prop C and for moving forward rather than backwards on healthcare reform can help shape the message for the November elections.
Missouri House Races: Pastor James Morris is a strong progressive who is very connected with the activist community. I strongly support his bid for re-election.
There are a couple of Democratic candidates who I would say are not part of the establishment and have real potential to improve the Missouri House of Representatives. Doug Clemens in MO district 77 might not call himself "progressive" on his website, but I'd say he stands for the core values of the Democratic Party: he's labor-friendly, he's environment-friendly, and he understands the need to combine the two values by helping to create green jobs. Many of the people whose opinions I value most are supporting Clemens' campaign. You can find out how to help Clemens campaign by clicking here. Byron DeLear also supports the creation of green jobs, and he brings an expert perspective as someone who has been working in the clean-energy industry and who helped pass the Property Assessed Clean Energy bill through the Missouri House. It would be fascinating to see what effect a genuine green jobs expert could have in the Missouri legislature. Find out how to help Byron here.
Missouri Senate: I don't have definitive opinions on any of these races, but I do have a few thoughts. Probably any of the four candidates in the Democratic Primary for the 14th district would be reliable progressive votes. I used to really like Maria Chapelle-Nadal, but have been very disappointed in some of her recent antics, from her obnoxious comments on Twitter, to her recent ridiculous legal threats (which she refuses to support with any evidence) against my friend Clark at Show Me Progress, to a couple other things that I won't bother to mention. If she was elected, she hopefully would vote the right way and maybe could even because a strong progressive voice in the Senate, but some of her behavior strikes me as pretty serious warning signs. Among the other candidates (Don Calloway, Joe Adams, Ted Hoskins), I don't have strong views. Don Calloway wrote a blog post several years ago that I thought very nicely articulated a progressive vision for St. Louis, and I trust the judgment of a couple of intelligent young progressives who have been working hard for his campaign, but I realize this probably isn't enough to base a "full endorsement" on.
Similarly, in the 24th District Senate Democratic Primary, I don't have a conclusive opinion. This case is a little different, however, because whomever wins will have a competitive Republican challenger in November. The race is for the seat of Senator Joan Bray, one of the most important progressive voices in Jefferson City, so I'm inclined to support Bray's strong endorsement of Barbara Fraser. She seems to me to have a stronger chance of victory in the general election.
One last thing: if you are a conservative who by some odd twist of fate stumbled across this website, surely you would support a genuine conservative like Chuck Purgason in the Republican Senate primary rather than a D.C. insider Corporocrat like Roy Blunt, right? It seems clear to me that anyone who, like the St. Louis Tea Party, supports Blunt over Purgason in the primary, is standing not for conservative values but for the exact Government-playing-favorites-based-on-who-donated-the-most ideology that free market enthusiasts claim to oppose. Just sayin.
So, those are my thoughts. Feel free to share yours in the comments.
Update: for information about voting rights and election day, click here.