Commentary

An embarrassing failure for election pollsters

BY: - November 6, 2020

Election polling is facing yet another reckoning following its uneven-at-best performance in this year’s voting. Although the outcome in the 2020 presidential race remained uncertain the next day, it was evident that polls collectively faltered, overall, in providing Americans with clear indications as to how the election would turn out. And that misstep promises to […]

Capitol Perspectives: Election night reporting history

BY: - November 5, 2020

There are four Missourians who helped develop the systems that provide you with accurate and prompt election night returns. To understand this column, you need to realize that the results reported on election night are neither official nor complete. In fact, Missouri law provides a several-week delay after the election to assure accuracy of the […]

On Election Day, Missouri Republicans dominate up and down the ballot

BY: - November 4, 2020

Missouri is a red state. If there was any doubt about that at all, Republicans put it to rest Tuesday night.  Not only did Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and his fellow GOP statewide officeholders run the table, they did it by each winning nearly 60 percent of the vote. And U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner survived […]

Why Americans are so enamored with election polls

BY: - November 2, 2020

The Republican pollster Frank Luntz warned on Twitter and elsewhere the other day that if preelection polls in this year’s presidential race are embarrassingly wrong again, “then the polling industry is done.” It was quite the forecast. While it is possible the polls will misfire, it’s exceedingly unlikely that such failure would cause the opinion […]

Capitol Perspectives: Further reflections on Gov. Mel Carnahan’s death

BY: - October 30, 2020

The recent thoughts written by others about the tragic death of Gov. Mel Carnahan two decades ago have prompted me to add some personal details. There was something about Carnahan that touched all of us who covered the statehouse during his time in the Capitol. The informal, completely transparent and laid-back personality of Carnahan were […]

Handful of Missouri legislative races will determine fate of GOP super majorities

BY: - October 29, 2020

First things first, there’s one thing that’s absolutely certain: Missouri Republicans are in no danger of losing their legislative majorities. When the 101st Missouri General Assembly convenes in January, the GOP will still dominate both the House and Senate. But the outcome of Tuesday’s legislative elections around the state could still have long-lasting consequences. If […]

Missouri redistricting vote opens door to an experiment, regardless of outcome

BY: - October 28, 2020

State governments are unique political bodies that allow for experimentation in how rules and laws affect political outputs.   As Justice Louis Brandies pointed out – states are laboratories of democracy. State governments have broad jurisdiction to “tweak” institutional rules and laws. Through this system of government, we can observe the aftermath of experimentation. Because experimentation […]

The Missouri House floor for the 2019 State of the State address.

Missouri Politics in 2020: How did we get here?

BY: - October 26, 2020

I sat down to write this on the 20th anniversary of Gov. Mel Carnahan’s tragic plane crash. Much has changed for me since then, but far more has changed in Missouri politics. Twenty years ago, I’d just come off my first real campaign gig, a failed effort to elect Missouri native Bill Bradley to the […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Capitol Perspectives: The better angels of our nature

BY: - October 23, 2020

Before proceeding with this column, I want you to think about what you’ve read, seen or heard from the candidates running for state office during this campaign season. How often have you heard detailed proposals to deal with the major issues facing our state like COVID-19 including steps to reduce infection, addressing complications of reopening […]

Missouri teachers work two jobs for the price of one

BY: - October 22, 2020

Two minutes into our interview, I counted five yawns as the young teacher from southwest Missouri caught herself and apologetically assured me that my questions weren’t dull. “I just feel like I am working all the time,” she added. “I don’t know how I am going to keep doing this the rest of the year.” […]

Remembering former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, 20 years after his sudden death

BY: - October 21, 2020

Today many young people are casting their first votes with no living memory of Missouri’s 2000 general election. But it’s worth remembering for an outcome unprecedented in American history: A deceased man was elected United States senator. More importantly, though, it’s worth remembering because of the man elected that night back in November 2000: two-term […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Introducing The Missouri Independent: ‘Detectives for the people’

BY: - October 20, 2020

Legendary New York muckraker Wayne Barrett was once asked to explain to his son’s elementary school what it meant to be an investigative journalist. He quipped, “We are detectives for the people.” That line always stuck with me. Look: I’ve been a journalist my entire adult life, from my stint covering county government for an […]