Roast turkeys have yet to land on our dining room tables and the Grinch is already loose upon us. However, this Grinch is not looking to steal Christmas, but to heist an election and quash the will of the people decided on Nov. 6.
Specifically, the Grinch is looking to throw a wrench in changes wrought by almost 1.5 million Missouri voters for Clean Missouri. A 62 percent majority of state voters decided that they wanted to clean up the campaign cash and the gerrymandering shenanigans that have corrupted governance in Missouri.
The majority spoke loudly:
• Enough limitless gifts to legislators from paid lobbyists!
• Enough campaign payola changing hands on the statehouse floor!
• Enough of the revolving door where humble legislators transform them-selves into highly-paid lobbyists!
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Grinch contingent in Jefferson City is already hard at work trying to undo the will of the people. They’ve done it before on past votes by the people – voiding concealed weapons limitations, ethics reform and puppy mill restrictions.
Overall, I think the will of the people on Nov. 6 – as well as in past elections –has been far superior to much of what has come out of Jeff City’s legislature. This election, the people seemed to get it right on issues like medical marijuana and raising the minimum wage.
In a not-so-distant past, the majority party in Jeff City quashed wage hikes in St. Louis and Kansas City. Last week, the voters came back and raised the minimum wage in all of Missouri with another majority vote exceeding 60 per-cent.
Why is the vote of the people so often at odds with the decisions made by the legislature? What explains this glaring discrepancy? One way to elucidate this enigma is to examine campaign contributions to legislators. Clean Missouri is an attempt to end the farce of representatives beholden to special interests, rather than to their own constituents.
I heard some grousing about “government by initiative” last week: “Why can’t the politicians that we send to Clayton and to Jefferson City do their jobs — and make the decisions on roads and smoking and casinos and tax hikes? These wordy issues on the ballot slow the entire voting process down!”
Be careful what you wish for. The Grinch contingent has toyed with the idea of ending the initiative process and votes by the people on issues of the day. Nov. 6th’s vote of the people illustrates why this would be folly.
For example, voters in their wisdom struck down Prop D, a poorly-worded measure that raised doubts over the actual destination of a state fuel tax hike set for roads and bridges. At the county level, voters decided to protect their parks and to invest in the St. Louis Zoo.
Like it or not, the people have spoken. Mr. Grinch and his elves should now just focus on taking a holiday!