The 2018 election was a strange one in Missouri. Voters overwhelmingly supported conservative candidates and liberal causes. Among those liberal causes was Clean Missouri—a constitutional amendment seeking to guarantee fair districting, campaign finance reform, and lobbying—which was approved by 62 percent of voters.
Just two years later, without a redistricting even taking place yet, our Republican legislators want us to vote on it again, hoping we’ll change our minds. Here is a little news for them: We won’t! But we’ll also keep voting for Republicans because we like them, no matter how insane they think we are.
Albert Einstein is widely credited with having said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” So who, when it comes to Clean Missouri, is more insane? Is it our Republican legislators for making us vote on this issue again, or us for continuing to elect Republicans, even though they are against much of want we all want?
Keep in mind that in 2018, Missourians also approved medical marijuana with a 65.5 percent yes vote (even higher than Clean Missouri) and an increase in the minimum wage to $12 with 62.3 percent approval (also a bit higher than the votes for Clean Missouri). Like Clean Missouri, our Republican legislators were against both medical marijuana and a minimum wage increase, yet Missourians elected Republicans nearly across the board.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic that closed the capitol for weeks, our legislators are back in session and Republicans are feverishly working to put Clean Missouri back on this year’s November ballot, hoping voters will reject something they just approved two years ago. We would have to approve another constitutional amendment, put on the ballot by the legislature this time (last time it was done by citizen petition) to do so.
And this isn’t even the first time our legislature has pulled such shenanigans. Many will remember when Missouri narrowly passed a proposition (not a constitutional amendment) outlawing puppy mills in a very tight statewide vote. Maybe the voters got that issue wrong. Nonetheless, it was approved by a statewide vote of the people. In the very next legislative session, however, the entire puppy mill law that had just been approved by voters was repealed in an effort led again by, you guessed it, our Republican legislators.
At the time, there was an outcry by many to do away with the puppy mill law. But now, where is the outcry to eliminate Clean Missouri? Clean Missouri created a non-partisan state demographer to oversee redistricting (and eliminate gerrymandering), it put strict limits on gifts lobbyists can give to legislators (a current cap of $5), lowered campaign contributions to state lawmakers, and created a waiting period for retiring lawmakers who want to become lobbyists.
Where is the outcry against those things? Clearly, the voters want those things and our (Republican) legislators don’t. And what may be worst of all is that during a time of extreme emergency in our state, time is being wasted on putting something back on the ballot that was just approved by voters in 2018, hoping somehow that we’ll all change our minds.
It’s an insult to the voters, plain and simple, a message that says we’re not smart enough to determine how our government should function. It’s insanity, asking for another vote when the outcome will be the same.
We’ll vote to keep Clean Missouri in November; at the same time we vote to reelect our favorite Republican legislators who wanted us to repeal it.