Ladies and gentlemen, it’s now time for the main event.
Please welcome in the blue corner The Great Kraskini, aka, Steve Kraske, political columnist for The Kansas City Star. In the red corner, it’s little-known, but always game, Jimmy C (formerly The Fabulous Jimmy C).
Tonight’s bout will be five rounds, predicting the outcomes of five national and Missouri state political contests on tap for 2016.
Round 1: The Republican presidential nomination
T.G.K. throws a wild haymaker, picking Ted Cruz.
Jimmy C, having seen time and again that arrogance is a terrible burden to haul up a steep hill, counters with a crisp left jab and says Marco Rubio.
Round 2: The presidential election
:: T.G.K. and Jimmy C split this round, both picking The Lady With Her Own Email Server to win big.
Round 3: The Republican nomination for Missouri governor
T.G.K. unleashes a bolo punch (straight over the top, toward the crown of the head) and says Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who has held the No. 2 job for 12 long years, will be the Republican nominee.
Jimmy C sees the overhead punch coming and slips it. He also sees Rex Sinquefield’s millions pushing Catherine Hanaway past Kinder, who once dated a stripper. (Not that there’s anything terribly wrong with that; it’s just hard to envision a former strip-club patron in the governor’s mansion.)
Round 4: Missouri governor
T.G.K. throws a right cross, pegging Democrat and current attorney general Chris Koster as the next governor.
Jimmy C leans away, Rope-A-Dope style, and plasters T.G.K. with a straight right to the nose…Catherine Hanaway.
(T.G.K. might be able to look a short distance into the future, but his knowledge of history is suspect. He must have forgotten the front-page, 2014 New York Times story that exposed Koster as a slave to special interests…The story recounted how a lawyer for 5-Hour-Energy buttonholed Koster at a convention of state attorneys general and prevailed on him to grab his cellphone and pull Missouri out of a multi-state investigation of 5-Hour-Energy…At a meeting of Republicans in Kansas City early last year, Hanaway passed out bottles of 5-Hour Energy drink bearing a caricature of Koster under the name “24-Hour Corruption.” )
Round 5: Missouri’s U.S. Senate race
T.G.K. goes with a conventional right hook and picks the incumbent, Republican Roy Blunt, but then he slips on the canvas, seeing Blunt “barely getting past a stronger-than-expected Jason Kander.”
Being a good sport, Jimmy C catches T.G.K. before he falls to the canvas and guides him back toward his corner, whispering in his ear, “Kander gets slaughtered.”
(Again, T.G.K.’s institutional memory fails him. In. 2010, long before the Red Sea flooded Missouri, Blunt beat Democrat Robin Carnahan by 264,000 votes out of about two million votes cast.)
Although the fight should be over, the referee signals a bonus round for the wildly cheering fans…
Bonus Round: Which presidential candidate wins Missouri — Mrs. Bill Clinton or Rubio/Cruz?
T.G.K. remains seated in his corner, exhausted and beaten down. Jimmy C walks to the center of the ring, grabs a fat Sharpie from the ring announcer and writes on the mat, “The Republican, of course.”
As one, the fans scream, “Why?”
Before donning his robe and exiting through the ropes, Jimmy C scratches this on the mat…
2008 — McCain, 1,445,814; Obama 1,441,911
2012 — Romney, 1,482,440; Obama, 1,223,796
2016 — Fill in the blanks