The state’s election results are about to point a spotlight on the performance of one party rule. Columbia College Political Scientist Terry Smith says Missouri’s never had such domination of statewide offices by Republicans in its nearly 200 year history.
In addition, the GOP has super majorities in the state’s House and Senate. Smith says Republicans can no longer blame the other side for problems in governing. “So the thing is now, of course, with unified control in Jefferson City, Republicans own state government” said Smith. “They own it. All the stuff that they have blamed Nixon for, they can’t do anymore, because they own state government.”
The term limited Governor Jay Nixon is one of four Democrats being replaced in statewide offices in January. Smith thinks – with the Republican sweep of statewide posts – it’s possible Missouri‘s becoming more likes some of its fiercely conservative neighboring states. “Electorally, I would say it’s made a significant move in that direction. Policy wise, of course it remains to be seen. I think there is a concern, maybe justifiable, among moderate and liberal progressives, that Missouri’s going to move in the direction that Kansas has moved in terms of state policy. And it ain’t worked out well for them.” Kansas has been strapped with major budget shortfalls since income taxes were slashed under a conservative Republican governor and legislature.
Even with the sharp movement toward statewide Republicans, Smith contends there’s still a key difference between Missouri and its neighbors. “Missouri’s got two big cities that are pretty progressive that Kansas doesn’t have. It’s got cities, but they’re not like St. Louis and Kansas City”. Smith contends there’s still a key difference between Missouri and its neighbors.