Talking Politics

Tuesdays at 4:45 p.m.

Commentary: Gerrymandering and the Court

Oct 17, 2017

The Supreme Court is back in business after its summer recess.  It is hearing oral arguments on several cases that have landmark potential.  Perhaps the most consequential is Gill v Whitford, a Wisconsin case about gerrymandering.

  Congress missed the deadline to delay federal funding cuts to hospitals last week. Without a solution, many Missouri hospitals could be hit hard.

The Disproportionate Share Hospital Program, also known as “DSH,” is a federal funding program that helps offset the costs for hospitals that serve uninsured patients.

Commentary: Summer Reading

Sep 26, 2017

  Hillary Clinton has written a book about the 2016 election entitled What Happened. I was going to say that it picks at a big scab on the body politic, but scabs assume wounds have healed. The 2016 election is still an open sore for many Americans and Clinton’s book is – how shall I say this? – not medicinal.

Talking Politics: Police Chief Ken Burton Gives His Take on Racial Desparity in Traffic Stops

Sep 19, 2017

Traffic stop data released by the Missouri Attorney General's office shows a disparity between black and white drivers in Columbia, but not everyone agrees as to what the numbers mean.

Black drivers in Columbia were pulled over at a rate almost four times higher than white drivers in 2016.

Some local groups, like Race Matters, Friends, say this is clear evidence of racial profiling and called for changes in the police department. Some have even called for the resignation of Police Chief Ken Burton, who has voiced skepticism about the traffic stop data.

The Columbia Missourian’s Katherine Reed and Noah McGee spoke in-depth with Burton to get his take on the data and how the department can be improved.

In this episode of Talking Politics, Professor Mark Horvit explains what’s in store for Missouri lawmakers as they meet for their annual veto session this week. Mark Horvit is a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and leads the school’s state government reporting program.

Of all the vetoed bills, one of the most talked about is a measure that would fix funding cuts to in-home and nursing home care for seniors.


Commentary: Trump is Not a Republican

Sep 5, 2017

These commentaries are a team effort. I can’t thank KBIA staff enough for their production support: Ryan, Sarah, Nathan, Beatriz and Kyle by name. If you enjoyed the recent Beatles commentary, thank Kyle Felling.

 

Commentary: Mind Your Own Business

Aug 16, 2017

As children we were all told by someone – another kid, a parent, a teacher – to “Mind your own business.”  Usually good advice, not always heeded, of course.  Kids who frequently didn’t mind their own business often grew up to become lawyers.  Just kidding.

If you’ve been listening to these commentaries for a while you may remember the three musical commentaries in 2008.  The 2008 presidential campaign was explained by, in turn, the Beatles, Disco and Classic Rock.

Well, the Beatles are back and will tell us all we need to know about the last year in American politics. Just listen:

Commentary: The GOP's Big Issue Under the Surface

Jul 4, 2017

Republicans are riding high.  They hold the presidency and both houses of Congress.  They are four for four in special House elections.  Congressional Democrats are not even good obstructionists, not to mention getting any of their legislation passed.

Commentary: Wendy Noren Did Her Job the Right Way

Jun 20, 2017

In the last six months Boone County has seen two exemplary public servants step down.  In January Karen Miller left the Southern District County Commission seat she had held for 24 years.  Last week Wendy Noren resigned from her position as Boone County Clerk after 35 years.

Commentary: Trump's Imprint

Jun 14, 2017

Please indulge a few seconds of personal history.  One of the reasons Columbia College, where I teach, has prospered in recent years is its online program.  I have been heavily involved in online from its first days in the late 1990s and now teach online classes.  I also update courses previously developed by other faculty.

As I speak I am redeveloping our online class on the presidency.  There are some, uh, challenges in updating a college course on the presidency in the summer of 2017.

Commentary: Two Wacky Weeks

May 19, 2017

Remember Pope Benedict the Sixteenth?  I’ll return to him in a moment.

The news is so dynamic just now.  It’s like waiting for the next shoe to drop from a centipede – not when but how many?  The humorist Dorothy Parker had an appropriate phrase: “What fresh Hell is this?”  

Commentary: GOP Prospects

May 9, 2017

In the wake of the House passage of Obamacare repeal and replace legislation and all the premature triumphalist rhetoric coming from some Republicans I want to explore where the Republican Party is heading.

Commentary: Democratic Dilemmas

Apr 18, 2017

Here are three things Democrats should not do if they want to regain the majority.

They should not be like Donald Trump and use profanity in public.  Last week it was reported that the Democratic National Chairman said in public one of the words you can’t say on TV, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said one of the other ones, in its gerund form.  Lots of Millennials talk this way and for some reason Trump can get away with talking this way.  But “I am authentic because I am vulgar” is not a winning strategy for Democrats.

Commentary: The Fragility of the Trump Rebellion

Mar 30, 2017

During the 1991 Gulf War military commanders kept talking about a “target-rich environment” in Iraq and Kuwait.  And indeed it was.  And so is American politics in 2017.  There is no shortage of subjects for analysis.

So forgive me for returning to the same one repeatedly: President Trump.  My shorthand for explaining Trump – or at least describing him – I’m not sure anyone can explain him – still works.  In seven words: won’t change, doesn’t care, not a Republican.  Interestingly, this shorthand is also beginning to describe Trump supporters. 

Commentary: "A Proper Funeral"

Feb 14, 2017

An important part of the research I do for these commentaries is to listen – to my students and coworkers at Columbia College, at my church, over my dinner table.  Last summer and fall I was hearing.  But I wasn’t listening.  Had I actually been listening I would not have had Hillary Clinton all elected and inaugurated.  It was an embarrassing and humbling experience.  Here is – hopefully – a reset.

I watched President Trump’s inaugural speech with three things in mind: He won’t change, he doesn’t care what you think, and he is not a Republican – and wondered: Where have I heard this speech before?  Oh, right -- I heard the long version of it last July, when candidate Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president.

If, as the old saying goes, past performance is the best predictor of future behavior, then I have a pretty good idea of what we can expect from President Trump. 

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.

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.

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.

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 choice that results in a campaign catastrophe.

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.

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 lighter too many.”

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.

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 will control ninety-nine percent of the land.”  

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 usually prevail.”  Yes, that’s one of the reasons Clinton will win.

  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.

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.

 

 

Pages