I’m trying to look on the bright side (early) this morning…
Maybe Missouri is on a path toward regaining its bellwether status.
Some of you might not be familiar with the Missouri bellwether phenomenon.
From 1904 to 2004, Missouri voted for the winning presidential nominee, with one exception. That was in 1956, during the landslide re-election of President Dwight Eisenhower. Showing its Democratic tilt at the time, Missouri voted for Adlai Stevenson, governor of nearby Illinois.
The sound of the bell began to get faint in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president. By a margin of about 5,000 votes, Missouri went for John McCain. During that election, a lawyer from out of state was staying at our house while working on the Obama campaign. We didn’t know him; the local Democratic Party hooked us up with him and asked if we’d put him up.
My most vivid memory of him was how upset he was the morning after the election. He wanted Obama’s national campaign staff to demand a recount in Missouri, even though Obama had won the election and didn’t need Missouri.
“I know we can find 5,000 votes somewhere!” the lawyer said.
Four years later, in 2012, the bell stopped ringing. Missourians voted for Mitt Romney by a margin of more than 250,000 votes. Missouri had gone decidedly red.
This year, I thought the race between Clinton and Trump would be close in Missouri. At one time, I even thought Clinton might win. (Thank God I never predicted that in this blog! Kept my big mouth shut for once.)
Yesterday, the Republicans blew the doors off the state. At this writing, with more than 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Trump was leading Clinton by more than half a million votes.
(He also won by more than half a million votes in my home state, Kentucky, which also used to be Democratic.)
I’ve said several times in this space over the last few years that Republicans were on the wrong side of demographics, with the Latino, Asian and African-American vote expanding and the older-white-male vote shrinking.
Well, that theory got turned on its head in Missouri and many other states yesterday.
I don’t know exactly how this happened, but I do know one thing: Emails can be very dangerous. You not only have to be very careful before you hit the “send” button; you have to be even more careful about setting up your own email system. Clinton lost a lot of voters when that scandal surfaced a few years ago (we can now officially call it a scandal), and many of them never returned to her.
Anyway, congratulations to my Republican friends and to Donald Trump. He did it his way, and, by God, he won big. We Democrats should have been paying closer attention to those huge crowds he was drawing instead of to the pundits who were sometimes predicting an 80-percent-plus likelihood of a Clinton victory.