Missouri is not a red state. It’s not a blue state.
It’s a white state.
That’s the arithmetic message of the 2012 elections. Five of the six statewide Democratic candidates won their races—three by landslide margins—on the same ballot on which President Barack Obama, their standard-bearer, was crushed by nearly 264,000 votes, or 9.6 percent.
If one glances at the divided national map, it would be natural to categorize Missouri as a “red state,” and a solid one at that. The president lost the state by more than he lost Georgia. And voters sent ridiculous majorities of Republicans—in every sense of the word—to the state legislature.
But that doesn’t account for the vast disparity between the performance of five of the Democrats who won statewide office and the man who was reelected by a landslide electoral margin. Yes, it can be argued that the reelection of Sen. Claire McCaskill—a longtime Obama ally—was aided by having run against an unhinged person. Write off her 15.5 percent victory margin as an outlier.
But that still leaves Gov. Jay Nixon winning reelection by 12.1 percent and Attorney General Chris Koster winning by 15.1 percent. And the number of ballots cast for McCaskill, Nixon, and Koster was almost identical: In an election in which more than 2.7 million Missourians voted, the three were separated by less than 3,000 votes (or one-tenth of 1 percent). That’s remarkable.
Obama, on the other hand, received roughly 270,000 fewer votes that the candidates below him on his own ticket. Literally 10 percent of the electorate supported three major statewide candidates while opposing their standard-bearer, a man with whom they were constantly linked, and with whom they expressed no serious disagreement.
How do you explain those incongruous outcomes? I have a theory:
It’s racial. Missouri doesn’t do the diversity thing in statewide elections...
Ray Hartman: Missouri is a "White State"
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