Talking Politics

Tuesdays at 4:45 p.m.
Sarah Kellogg/ KBIA

A month has passed since Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States. In these past few weeks, many Democrats and even some Republicans are wondering how this happened. Author Thomas Frank visited the University of Missouri a couple of days after the election and offered a few explanations. Frank believes that there is no one complete reason as to why Trump won the nomination, but he believes that Trump understood how many Americans felt going into the election. “In...

For Missouri Legislators, Term Limits Can Create Openings and Obstacles

Dec 2, 2016

The clock starts ticking the day you’re elected into the Missouri legislature. If you’re lucky, you get eight years. Then term limits kick in and it’s time to find a new job. KBIA’s Hannah Haynes spoke to some of those term-limited legislators and found a bipartisan agreement: term limits have a downside.

Well. I did not see this election coming. I take no comfort in being in good company. The evidence was in plain sight. I chose to discount or ignore it, because I was wed to old ways of thinking. Clearly many of the analytics we use in elections are obsolete or irrelevant or both. This applies especially to polls, whose problems I have been talking about in this space for some time. About the only certain metric was that Republicans win the presidency in years when the Cubs win the...

Missouri Capitol
j.stephenconn / Flickr

Missouri is looking to hire a new chief financial officer. The State Treasurer’s office is one of the five executive positions up for grabs on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Three candidates are running for the treasurer’s office: Republican Eric Schmitt, Democrat Judy Baker and Libertarian Sean O'Toole. Judy Baker is a former state representative. Her platform for state treasurer centers improving food security, access to banking services in underserved areas and cutting back on income inequality. “Those...

Talking Politics: Unopposed mid-Missouri Candidates Pay the Price for Political Marketing

Nov 7, 2016

The Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns had spent an estimated $150 million combined on advertisements by September of the 2016 presidential election, according to Advertising Age . It’s safe to say politics and marketing go hand in hand, especially when clear opposition exists between candidates. But the close relationship between politics and marketing is tricky. A single marketing choice can have lasting consequences, and candidates will pay a pretty penny to avoid a...

Talking Politics : Missouri Campaign Finance Reform Raises Concerns

Nov 7, 2016

Missouri is one of only 12 states that does not have limits on campaign finance. On Nov. 8, citizens will be voting on five amendments to the Missouri Constitution. Amendment 2 will establish limits on campaign contributions to candidates seeking office. If put in place, individual donors in Missouri will no longer be able to donate millions to campaigns. Currently, donors can give any amount they see fit as long as they follow the rules established by the Missouri Ethics Commission. James...

Talking Politics: Missouri Tobacco Tax Increase Fails To Decrease Smoking Rates

Nov 7, 2016
Yutao Chen

Jordan Hester is a sales associate at We B Smokin & Drinkin in Jefferson City, Missouri and has been a smoker for 12 years. He spends his days selling the one thing that he is trying to quit: cigarettes. Hester has worked there for two years, and is on a first-name basis with his customers. When there is an increase on the price of cigarettes, Hester is the first person to hear their complaints. “They would notice a tax increase real quick,” Hester said. “They notice if you ring up a...

Talking Politics: Free-for-all Campaign Contributions Have End In Sight

Nov 7, 2016

Missouri has some of the most relaxed campaign contribution limits in the country, which is to say: None. Virginia, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi, Indiana, Iowa, Oregon, Utah, Alabama and Nebraska are the only other states with no limits as to who can donate, how much they can donate and how many times they can donate to a campaign. Proposals to curb contributions have not gained much traction in Missouri. In the past two years, 19 bills relating to campaign finance law and...

Wikimedia Commons

As a farmer and a member of the House Agricultural Committee, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s stance on agricultural issues are often tied with her desire for less federal government involvement in state issues. She said restrictions from organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency are taking money away from Missouri farmers. Hartzler pointed to changes in certain EPA regulations, such as the Waters of the U.S. These changes have made it, she said, so that “the federal government...

Next week I’ll give you most of my predictions for key elections. I’ll give you one today: Hillary Clinton will win the presidential election. I realize this revelation will send few of you to the fainting couch. Most observers are predicting this outcome, and with good reason. I have my reasons as well and I thought I’d look back at how I’ve been tracking the presidential race from this spot on the dial over the last year. Last October I said: “Candidates who have the best organizations...

Dr. Gordon Christensen is a newcomer to the political scene. He’s running on the Democratic ticket as challenger to Missouri’s Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler . Christensen is a physician and retired professor from the University of Missouri in Columbia. While this is his first time running for political office, Christensen served as chief of staff of the University of Missouri Hospital and as MU faculty council chair. Veterans, rural Missourians , education and healthcare access...

Is it November 8 yet? On the Planet Tralfamador Americans are tuning into presidential debates that are enlightening, illuminating and helpful to voters. There, on the other side of the galaxy, Americans are watching ads on TV and social media that are professionally and substantively addressing the issues that separate the candidates. There Americans are turning out to vote in record numbers in a national show of civic pride and duty. On the Planet Earth Americans are being involuntarily...

Alison Barnes Martin

Martha Stevens left her social work and advocacy positions to run for the District 46 House of Representatives seat. Her job experiences gave her ideas for public policies on health care coverage. For Stevens, health care expansion is one of the most critical issues facing Missourians.

Stephen Webber
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

One of the most important issues on District 19 State Senate Democratic candidate Stephen Webber’s platform is strengthening funding for the University of Missouri, and K --12 education as well. He says this is important since education is a major employer in the district. “But it's also more than that; it's also who we are, in terms of our cultural values, and how we identify ourself; we're an education community, and so it's important in all facets of this area,” Webber said. Caleb Rowden,...

Can you endure one more commentary about last week’s presidential debate? If not, tune to sister station KMUC for some fine classical music. Still listening? What did not happen at the debate is important. Neither candidate made one of those bonehead mistakes that they would be talking about fifty years from now, although Trump’s boast about not paying taxes may eventually qualify. Neither candidate landed one of those staggering blows that are part of presidential debate legend. Both...

Caleb Rowden
File Photo / KBIA

Republican State Representative Caleb Rowden is serving a second term in the Missouri House for District 44 and is running for the state senate seat in District 19, previously held by State Senator Kurt Schaefer. Rowden’s platform focuses on economic development, low taxes, government accountability and strengthening Missouri’s public education system. The University of Missouri and public K-12 education serve as the centerpiece of Rowden’s campaign. “We’re on obviously on the other side of...

Last Thursday morning I opened my New York Times and choked on my coffee. Once again Missouri was in the national news and not in a good way. The lead editorial was a scathing critique of the Missouri legislature’s override of Governor Nixon’s veto of the change to the conceal-carry law. Missouri has a bad enough reputation for lawlessness and weirdness. We dominated the headlines in 2014 with the Ferguson nightmare. In 2015 we got a moment of positive coverage when the Royals won the World...

Daniel Aubuchon

You can find Don Waterman working at the Columbia Bass Pro Shops, checking people out at the register or helping customers find what they’re looking for. But now he’s casting his line for the state legislature. Waterman is running as the Republican candidate for the District 46 House of Representative’s seat. He got his first taste of politics by working for Danie Moore’s campaign in the 2008 state election primaries. Now, as a candidate, Waterman wants to tackle Missourians’ access to mental...

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

When shoppers browse meat at the grocery store they are confronted with all kinds of brands and labels, making it hard to tell whether the meat they buy comes from animals that were raised humanely. Organic producers want to answer that question more clearly, but conventional farmers are charging that proposed changes to organic standards would amount to unfair government backing of the organic industry. At the grocery store, interpreting how livestock are raised is a complicated task....

Poor white people have been in the news a lot lately. Most obviously they are a target voting group and natural constituency for Donald Trump. But they are also the subject of some interesting recent non-fiction books. One memoir entitled Hillbilly Elegy by a guy who grew up in rural Kentucky is actually a best seller, and a couple of others have had a real impact on how people think about this very large group of Americans.

Have you noticed one of the side effects of reality TV? I guess people actually watch “Naked and Afraid” and “My 600-pound Self”. I only know about these shows because I surf past them on the way to professional cage fighting and Real Housewives of Las Vegas. Just kidding about cage fighting. But seriously, this programming makes voyeurs out of normal people, but more importantly, causes them to think differently about their social and political worlds.

Commentary: Grading the Major Party Conventions

Aug 9, 2016

How did the parties do at the conventions? Using the late journalist David Broder’s guide here’s how I think they did:

Commentary: The Art of the Acceptance Speech

Jul 26, 2016

I am not a convention junkie. Mostly I read the day after about what went on. But I do watch two events live: the presidential nominee acceptance speeches. At the conclusion of each speech I turn off the TV and write down my impressions. I am not interested in what the talking heads have to say. Sometimes the next morning when I catch the analyses I wonder aloud: “Did those people watch the same speech I did?” Also I try to watch it as though I were an undecided voter just now getting...

Commentary: How to Judge the Party Conventions

Jul 12, 2016

Want to be a political pundit? Why not? Everyone else is. Here’s a starting place: Grading the success of the party nominating conventions. Timing’s good – the Republican convention starts next Monday.

Commentary: How the GOP is Kinda Like J.C. Penney

Jun 28, 2016
Courtesy CNBC

My wife and I like to shop at JC Penney. I know, I know – we are not hipsters but, hey, they have great sales. Penney has been through a lot lately. Former Apple executive Ron Johnson was hired in 2010 to “update the brand.” After eighteen months of wrecking the brand, Johnson was fired and the old president rehired. JC Penney is still struggling as a retailer.

Commentary: Trump and the Media

Jun 14, 2016
Via Flickr user Gage Skidmore

I just finished an interesting book entitled The Republic of Spin by historian and journalist David Greenberg. It is a history of how presidents have managed mass media.

Finding Humor in the Presidential Primaries

May 24, 2016

I’ve followed American politics since I was a kid. I teach classes in it at Columbia College. I talk to you occasionally about it. Last fall and winter I was telling people, with a fair amount of confidence, that Hillary Clinton was on a glide path to a coronation and with only slightly less confidence that she would beat Jeb Bush in the general election. When asked about this Donald Trump fellow I said, again with confidence, that he will not be the Republican nominee. Because he was such a...

Talking Politics - Election Clichés

May 10, 2016
Vote Here sign
File Photo / KBIA

There has been no shortage of clichés to describe this presidential campaign. But clichés are not necessarily wrong; they’re just tiresome. Here are three of my favorites: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” Actually, for the Democrats, it is over. Clinton will be the nominee.

Over Half of Missouri House Seats Go Unopposed

Apr 29, 2016

In the 2016 general election, there will only be 70 races in which Missouri voters will have a choice to vote for a Republican or a Democrat for state representative. In the other 93 state house districts, there will only be a candidate from one party or the other. University of Missouri Political Science Professor Peverill Squire says this brings questions of democracy to light. “For the notions of the theory of democracy, you would like to have an alternative when you go to the polling...

Talking Politics - Presidential Dynasties

Apr 26, 2016
KBIA file photo

The 1980 election took place a generation ago – an eternity in politics -- and is remembered as the year Ronald Reagan defeated President Jimmy Carter’s bid for reelection. What is less well remembered is that earlier in 1980, in the Democratic convention, Senator Ted Kennedy tried to defeat Carter for renomination. His quest ended shortly after a disastrous television interview during which he could not sensibly answer the question about why he wanted to be president.

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