Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Magnitude of Missouri's Rebuke

On the front page of Drudge this morning, the lead item blares in all-cap red "BLOW TO O: MO SAYS NO". But here in Missouri, you'd be hard pressed to find the tiny bullet point "Missouri sets up challenge to federal health care law" on the Kansas City Star's homepage. It gets less billing than their promo for the "Hottest people, places and trends" feature in Ink magazine. So is Missouri's rebuke to Obamacare a big deal or not?

Let's look at the numbers. Proposition C, which rejects the Constitutionally questionable federal health care insurance mandate, garnered 71.1 percent of the vote last night.

- The 667,680 people who voted for Prop. C outnumbered the combined number of people who voted for the winners of both the Democratic and Republican Senate primary races.

- The number of people who voted in the Prop. C contest outnumbered the total number of people voting for all Senate primary candidates.

- The number of people voting for Prop. C outnumbered the total number of people voting for all Republican candidates for Senate, meaning that despite a lopsided Republican turnout, support for Prop. C was thoroughly bi-partisan.

- Even assuming the unlikely occurrence that 100 percent of the Republican turnout voted in favor of Prop. C, that means that at the very minimum, 25 percent of Democrats also supported the measure.

All this despite the fact that:

- Only $115,000 was spent by proponents of Prop. C, while the Missouri Hospital Association spent $300,000 to defeat it, according to the Missouri Record whose editor managed the Yes on C campaign.

- There was a near news blackout on the very existence of the initiative.

- Annectdotally speaking, I never saw a single Yes or No on Prop. C sign and didn't receive a single communication from either campaign, despite being a 100 percent turnout household.

- The only other major statewide race was the Senate primary to select candidates to replace Kit Bond and the result was a foregone conclusion for both parties. Robin Carnahan took 84 percent of the Democrat vote and Roy Blunt took 71 percent of the Republican vote.

- Even the Catholic bishops of Missouri who'd taken strong stands against aspects of Obamacare, took a neutral position on Prop. C - preferring to spend their energies on attempts to exclude abortion from the scheme.

So, with little publicity and virtually no prodding, 7 out of 10 Missourians who voted yesterday sent an unmistakable rebuke to Obamacare. You can call that symbolic. You can say the federal courts will overturn it anyhow. And you might be right on both counts. But politicians who dismiss it are gonna have a heck of a time in November.