McCaskill, Weed and Wages

Election Day is nearly here and many voters still have questions about the issues and candidates appearing on the ballot. Here’s my take:

U.S. Senator

The candidates in the order they appear on the ballot:

Josh Hawley, the current Missouri Attorney General is a Trump-supporting Republican who will surely support the agenda of Mitch McConnell and his band of conservative bullies as they continue to use every weapon at their disposal to dismantle the progressive gains made during the eight years Barack Obama was president.

Claire McCaskill, the incumbent Democrat has been running a campaign that appears to be saying to Missouri voters, “Sure, I’m a Democrat, but I’m not like the others (wink-wink).” In fact, she even appeared on Fox News (of all places) last week and bashed folks she calls “crazy Democrats” who protest and yell and are uncivil. She prefers polite Democrats who try to find common ground with Republicans and Donald Trump. Not the smartest thing to say just a few days before the election. Claire McCaskill needs the support of every Democrat if she’s going to win Tuesday. Crazy Democrats, lazy Democrats, angry Democrats, and especially those Democrats who usually sit out mid-term elections. Comments like that don’t fire up the base. In fact, they let the air out of your base faster than a nail in the tire of Volkswagen bus covered in “Bernie or Bust” bumper stickers.

The Others: Japheth Campbell (Libertarian), Jo Crain (Green Party), and Craig O’Dear (Independent).

My Advice: I’m voting for Claire McCaskill. Not because she’s done an exceptional job fighting for my vote. She hasn’t. Not because she’s been a vocal advocate for  the issues that matter most to me or my community. She hasn’t. And not because she’s an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump’s dangerously divisive, racist, xenophobic, sexist, nationalist agenda. She’s not.

I’m voting for Claire McCaskill because I’m a grown-up. I understand that no one is perfect and elections, like most adult decisions, are about making the best choice from your available options. And for us, Claire McCaskill is our best available option. 

Yes, it sucks that if she wins after running the kind of right-of-middle campaign that she has, the Missouri Democratic Party probably won’t be forced to make the kinds of changes it really needs to in order to address the needs of black and progressive Democrats in the state.

Yes, it sucks that if she wins after being silent on the issues most important to my community, she may think she’ll never have to. In fact, she’s probably not addressing those issues today because she didn’t have to in her last two campaigns and she won them both.

But the alternative is worse. What is happening in Washington is dangerous on a historic level. Republicans have become drunk with power. There is no compromising for the good of the country. There is only the raw exercise of power. And it’s tearing our country apart. Donald Trump has emboldened racists in our country and fascists across the globe. He is turning Americans on one another for short-term political gain, but the effects will be felt for years to come.

We need as many Democrats in the Senate as we can get. And Claire McCaskill, though she seems to be trying to hide it as best she can, is a Democrat. So suck it up, be a grown-up, and vote for Claire McCaskill. It’s not about her, it’s about keeping that seat blue.

Medical Marijuana
Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C

Well, they made this about as confusing as it can be. There’s not just one, but three, proposals on the ballot to legalize medical marijuana. Check out our cover story to understand how each one differs from the other and what happens if two or more pass. Bottom line: sending people to jail for smoking weed is dumb. Sending people to jail for smoking weed to ease the pain of their cancer treatment is not just dumb, it’s immoral. 

Vote yes on all three medical marijuana proposals and let the politicians in Jefferson City sort it all out when the dust settles.

Raising the Minimum Wage
Proposition B

I opposed the 2016 attempt to raise the minimum wage in St. Louis City to $15 per hour. I was very clear at the time why I did: St. Louis City doesn’t have a strong enough economy to do it by ourself, especially when St. Louis County leaders said they would not follow suit. It would’ve also made it very tough for small businesses in north St. Louis, providing yet another reason to move their business to the County, where most black people in the region live anyway. I said at the time that I would support a regional increase in the minimum wage or, even better, a state increase. Well, Proposition B is that state increase. It’s fair, meaning it won’t put St. Louis City (or north St. Louis) at a disadvantage. The increase is gradual so it won’t be harmful to small businesses. The only downside is that it exempts governmental employers such as the City and County governments. Hopefully, those legislative bodies will follow suit and raise the wages for those employees as well. VOTE YES TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE.

Antonio French

antonio@thenorthsider.com Antonio French is the publisher of MetroSTL.com, The NorthSider and SouthSider community newspapers. Born and raised in north St. Louis, he is a social entrepreneur and former two-term St. Louis City alderman. He lives in the O'Fallon Park neighborhood with his wife, son, and four rescue dogs. Follow him on Twitter at @antoniofrench.

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