This may well be the last political column of the year. You're probably as pleased with that as I am. But barring some shenanigans in St. Louis that could cloud Tuesday's mid-term elections, this should be my final word on the world of politics (as if I know what I'm talking about).
The importance of Tuesday's election should be evident to everyone in our state and nation, for that matter. The balance of power in Congress hinges on the results from Tuesday's vote and the ramifications from that single aspect are overwhelming. Your taxes, your national defense, your judicial appointments and so much more will be impacted by the leaders we select come this Tuesday. On the state level we face a similar situation. The state legislature in Missouri is literally up for grabs and that simply compounds the importance of Tuesday's critical election day.
For starters, go vote on Tuesday. Even though you may have voted for dozens of years, you'll need identification at the polls. That's the result of the fiasco in St. Louis two years ago when thousands of unregistered voters flooded the polls and created chaos. As a result - and it's not a bad idea - we all have to prove our identities to cast a legal ballot. So be prepared.
State officials say the turnout will run around 45 percent. That's high for a mid-term election but low when you consider the importance of the ballot issues. So regardless of your political affiliation, go vote. As the pundits say, vote early and vote often.
Missourians will vote on raising the price of cigarettes to fund health costs in our state. I have said in the past that I fear this financial bonanza for the state will somehow not make it to the appropriate destination. As a result, I'll vote against Proposition A, though the polls show the measure has widespread support.
But let's face it. The overwhelming focus will fall on Missouri's Senate race where our state may actually decide the balance of power in the United States Senate. Congressman Jim Talent has mounted a massive challenge to appointed Senator Jean Carnahan who was named to the seat following the tragic death of her husband two years ago.
Let there be no doubt. I firmly believe Jim Talent is much better prepared to serve our state and nation. He has the experience that our nation so critically needs at this time and his position on the issues more closely represents the sentiments of most Missourians. Jean Carnahan, on the other hand, is clearly out-of-step with the majority of Missourians. She's big labor's bought-and-paid-for candidate and she walks the party line with the liberal wing of the Democratic party. You can respect and admire her on the one hand but oppose her candidacy on the other. She was not the person who should have been appointed to that seat two years ago but we all became swept up in the emotions following the death of Mel Carnahan and her appointment was fitting in some ways. But viewed on her own merits, she should retire gracefully.
My one single fear remains. I fear that St. Louis Democratic bosses will try to steal this election. All of the signs are in place despite some massive overhauls to the system there. Don't be surprised if come Wednesday we still have no clear idea of who our next Senator might be. And should that occur, Missouri will pay the price for years to come.
I hope my worst fears are unfounded.