So many political thoughts dashing through my noggin’. Lucky for you, I’ll share a few:
Everything I know about politics screams that Claire McCaskill will be re-elected to the U.S. Senate Tuesday. I haven’t forgotten last weekend’s Kansas City Star poll that had McCaskill clinging to a two-point lead — 45-43 percent.
But between her campaign and outside groups, about $23.3 million has been spent on McCaskill’s behalf compared to $6.2 million for Akin. That’s nearly a 4:1 spread.
Akin was also fighting his own party. It wasn’t that long ago that no less a personage than Mitt Romney called for Akin to withdraw from the race. So did Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and former Sens. John Ashcroft, Jim Talent, Jack Danforth and Kit Bond.
For Republicans, the painful truth is Akin never put his “legitimate rape” remarks behind him. They dogged him from the moment he uttered those words in August all the way to the end. Akin’s fellow Republicans practically guaranteed that would happen.
That said, I never understood why Akin never hit McCaskill harder on failing to pay taxes on her family airplane. Everybody understands a not-paying-your-taxes charge. Instead, Akin aimed at the business empire of McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard, with a set of accusations that were impossible to prove and downright inaccurate.
I’ll say it again: You just can’t overstate how much the Senate race blocked attention that other races, including the one for governor, might have received. The other races wound up blending into the background.
If voting lines are impossibly long Tuesday in Missouri — and they may be with a forecasted 72 percent turnout — maybe the General Assembly will finally get around to approving advance voting as recommended by the last two secretaries of state: Republican Matt Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan.
Thirty-two states have it. Nearly 20 million Americans have already voted. But not in Missouri.
The stat that people will be talking about next week: Just 37 percent of whites in pre-election polls were backing Obama compared to 57 percent for Romney. Four years ago, Obama garnered 43 percent of the white vote. We haven’t heard much talk about race this time around, but those numbers will get more attention.
Total cost of all 2012 political campaigns should top $6 billion. That’s $700 million more than the 2008 record. The answer to your next question: Yes. There were better ways to spend that money that would have actually benefited humankind.
One of the big post-election stories in Missouri will be whether Gov. Jay Nixon was too cheap and, well, self-centered, when it came to helping his fellow Democrats.
After all, Nixon had $1.6 million in the bank eight days before Election Day and, to hear insiders tell it, a double-digit lead in the polls. But he wasn’t sharing his bounty. So the frustration is understandable.
Yet Nixon also was facing an opponent who dumped $2 million of his own money into the race in the final two weeks in a state where Mitt Romney was leading Barack Obama by eight, 10 or 13 points, depending on what poll you were looking at.
Those are formidable circumstances and maybe enough to justify keeping the dough in your own pocket.
Predictions: Obama (yeah, I’m a flip-flopper. I picked Romney in January), McCaskill, Nixon, Peter Kinder for lieutenant governor and Chris Koster for attorney general (Koster instantly becomes the 2016 gubernatorial frontrunner). KC’s own Jason Kander, a secretary of state candidate, and fellow Democrat, treasurer Clint Zweifel, get swallowed up in the pro-Romney tide in Missouri and fall short.
The cigarette tax passes.
To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or email email@example.com.