Jolie Justus Tells Slate Missouri Dems ‘Have Hit the Bottom’
October 5, 2012

Justus, NY Daily News photo

From Slate via
“The good news,” says Jolie Justus, “is that I really do think we’ve hit bottom.”
We, in this case, are Missouri Democrats. Until 2012, nobody had ever heard of a competitive presidential election that leaves out Missouri. Missouri joined the union in 1821, and for 187 years no Democrat won the presidency without carrying the state. When Democrats lost, they at least kept it close here. Even Michael Dukakis lost Missouri by only 4 points.
Then, in 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency while losing Missouri. It was close! Only 3,903 votes separated Obama from McCain, while Ralph Nader—of course, who the hell else?—snagged 17,813. Then Obama took office, and the Democrats went back into decline. In 2010, Republicans defeated Rep. Ike Skelton for a mostly rural seat that Democrats had held since before Sputnik.
The red wave gave Republicans 28 of 34 state Senate seats. Justus, the first openly gay senator, was one of the few Democrats left, representing urban areas, huddling together for warmth. In 2008, the Obama campaign’s score of rural GOTV offices became a model of the hope and change candidate’s vast appeal. This year, the Obama campaign has two offices in Missouri, in the liberal nodes of Kansas City and St. Louis.
“We’re in new territory,” says Justus. “The fact is that we are getting to be seen as a red state, that we’re more like Kansas.”