Despite relentless opposition from day one of his administration and the midterm loss of a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, President Barack Obama has achieved some substantial successes. He deserves, and the country needs to have him for, another term to build on his legacy in policy and constructive change. Voters have the opportunity to elect him to his second term on Tuesday, Nov. 6. We strongly urge our community to mobilize itself and vote in large numbers and help this great man continue his work fulfilling the nation’s potential to achieve community good.

We should not dismiss his first term, which was marked by dramatic accomplishments never or seldom achieved before. Obama drove his party through unyielding opposition to pass the first meaningful health care reform in this country since the institution of Medicare and Medicaid. Protection for coverage of prior conditions and stipulating that health insurers invest a significant proportion of revenues into actual delivery of health care are two of the most progressive policy changes any modern president can claim. Obama also showed competence and daring as Commander in Chief in directing U.S. special forces through a very risky maneuver to eliminate our nation’s first-ranked enemy, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Obama’s leadership also is responsible for salvaging U.S. manufacturing in what was once a signature American industry, automobiles. Moreover, he did all of these remarkable things while being crushed by an economy that was imploded by the policies of his predecessor. The debt and economic misery inherited from George W. Bush, a two-term president, kept public confidence in Obama’s own presidency at low levels that would have paralyzed most other heads of state.

We have not mentioned the man’s race or heritage in this account of his accomplishments, because in many ways it is beside the point. In fact he is one of us, and that makes us even more proud of him and his remarkable family. Whether this communal pride in Obama or your respect for his leadership motivates you to vote on Nov. 6 and make sure that your friends and family members vote, it is essential that you do so – particularly considering the alternative, an opponent with nothing to offer but a return to the past with policies that have failed and led the nation to the brink of economic disaster.

While Missouri does not seem to be in play for an Obama victory, he has many paths to electoral success given his appeal to the country’s youth, Hispanic voters and women, many of whom are offended by the views on rape espoused by Romney’s pick for vice president and Romney’s own condescending views on working women and single mothers. Our vote in Missouri may not contribute to electoral college success for Obama, we do want to help deliver a sizable winning margin to his national vote total to send a message to Congress. His reelection is urgently needed so he can continue the progress he has begun to restore the country’s economic health and the pursuit of social justice and equality. We strongly and with great pride and a sense of appreciation for the change he has led – which benefits the “47 percent” that his opponent, Mitt Romney, berates and speaks about in a disrespectful and contemptuous way – endorse BARACK OBAMA FOR U.S. PRESIDENT.

 

U.S. Claire McCaskill has proven to be a consummate politician as a Democrat in a “red state,” steering a moderate course that attempts to forge a viable consensus while remaining responsive – often privately – to leaders in her party. Though we would not have made every decision McCaskill made on issues of concern, we always have understood why she made them and appreciate her need to get elected in a state with determined, hostile Republican opposition that has spent millions to defeat her. Her opponent, Todd Akin, has his base in the most reactionary backwaters of a benighted Republican Party, as the world learned when he expressed the astonishing opinion that victims of “legitimate rape” had secret powers to void a pregnancy created by a rapist without undergoing an abortion. We may be horrified by Akin’s ignorance, but we must respect the power of his evangelical base, which shares or willfully overlooks his backward thinking, and they can be expected to vote for Akin in large numbers on Nov. 6.

We think McCaskill deserves another term in the U.S. Senate for her steady leadership in trying times and her support of President Obama on issues of critical concern, such as health care reform. Moreover, preventing a profoundly ignorant man like Todd Akin from being elected to the U.S. Senate places McCaskill’s campaign in a special category of importance that verges on crisis. Our community must vote for her in large numbers – every ballot an African American in Missouri marks for Obama must be marked for her as well. We strongly endorse CLAIRE MCCASKILL FOR U.S. SENATE.

 

U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay faces only nominal opposition on Nov. 6 after a crushing primary victory over a misguided and overmatched Russ Carnahan, but don’t forget he is on the ballot if you live in the 1st Congressional District. We strongly endorse WM. LACY CLAY FOR U.S. CONGRESS.

 

The Missouri Secretary of State is the state’s chief election official, which makes it necessarily an office of special interest to African Americans, who fought and died for the franchise and who wield more political leverage, overall, than we do economic power. The 21st Century Republican Party, fighting a losing battle with demographics in a country that gets younger and more brown, has realized that disenfranchisement of minorities and very young and very old voters is critical to the electoral success of their statewide and national candidates. Moreover, in Missouri, Republicans have seized upon confusing ballot initiatives as a way to pursue policy changes they fail to push through the Legislature where constituents can hold officials accountable.

For these reasons, Secretary of State is a very key office for a Democrat to hold in Missouri. Missouri Democrats have a very good candidate in former state Rep. Jason Kander. He has led the effort to properly fund a disparity study to guide the state in fairly awarding contacts to minority- and women-owned businesses, and enjoys strong support from his former colleagues in the Legislature, including Tishaura O. Jones, Chris Carter and Steve Webb. Most importantly, he faces a Republican opponent who has been soaked with funding by billionaire Rex Sinquefield and is literally touring the state now to push a Voter ID proposal designed by Republicans to disenfranchise the demographic groups that largely vote Democratic, including African Americans. African Americans must help elect Kander if we want free and fair elections in Missouri and a fair and proper use of the ballot amendment process. We endorse JASON KANDER FOR SECRETARY OF STATE.

 

Governor Jay Nixon is not one of us, as his actions have repeatedly shown. Indeed, he hardly is even a Democrat, as he runs to the right on many issues and does next to nothing to lead and strengthen the state Democratic Party. However, he has shown support for some of our important concerns that would not come from his Republican opponent, who makes “birther”-like public comments about Obama. Nixon has been willing to do some important and progressive things that align with our values and concerns. He vetoed several pieces of legislation that were anathema to our community and appointed the second African American in Missouri history (Judge George Draper) to the state’s Supreme Court. Nixon would be an almost classic Republican governor in many states, but in Missouri he is our best choice for governor in 2012. We endorse JAY NIXON FOR GOVERNOR.

 

Susan Montee was a competent and fair State Auditor, which left her with one of the most extensive bases of knowledge of Missouri state government, especially about its weaknesses. She could do a great amount of good as Lieutenant Governor in reorienting a potentially productive office – that has become a political shop – so that it actually advocates for seniors and veterans, as charged. She also would bring Democratic leadership to the Missouri Senate, where a Republican super-majority currently holds the business of the people virtually hostage.

Even with a good Republican opponent, Montee would be a strong candidate for this office. But her opponent, Republican incumbent Peter Kinder, has become a very bad candidate. He has used his office to demonize President Obama’s health care reform program, doing no good whatsoever for the state of Missouri and its citizens – doing nothing but burnishing his image with the right wing of his own party, where he faced a tough and dangerous primary opponent. Kinder courted the black vote in St. Louis in 2008, going so far as to countenance “Obama/Kinder” signs, but he has insulted the President and attacked his policies without purpose ever since he took office. Voters need to send him home, and African-American support of Susan Montee is needed to make that happen. We strongly endorse SUSAN MONTEE FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR.

 

Chris Koster took office as Missouri Attorney General with the reputation of being merely a political opportunist, so it has been a welcome surprise to see him staff a competent office and do excellent work on behalf of the people who elected him. Koster lost his African-American chief of staff Robert Kenney to a better opportunity early in his term and he has been notably distant from the black community since, but overall he has been a competent elected official in a key statewide office. As we have occasion to say over and over in judging the statewide campaigns in 2012, Koster would merit reelection even if the Republican Party had nominated a competent centrist opponent.

But in fact, Koster faces an opponent whom Todd Akin unseated as the most willfully ignorant and dangerous Republican operating on a statewide stage in Missouri. Ed Martin served as chief of staff for the woeful Matt Blunt administration, where he repeatedly embarrassed the Governor’s Office with outrageous emails targeting a staffer and spewing horrific opinions about Mexican workers in Missouri. Martin next ran an inept, hateful Swift Boat-style ad campaign against Barack Obama in 2008 and has had little to say against Koster other than branding him as “Obama’s lawyer.” (If only that were true; in fact, Koster has sat on the fence on divisive issues when Republican state attorneys general have targeted the President or his policies.) Ed Martin serving as Missouri Attorney General is exactly as horrific a thought as a President Romney, Senator Akin, Secretary of State Schoeller or reelected Lieutenant Governor Kinder. But Martin has riled up the activist base of his party, and though Koster has not done the corresponding work to engage his entire base, he deserves our support against this offensive opponent. We endorse CHRIS KOSTER FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL.

 

Tishaura O. Jones faces only nominal opposition on Nov. 6 after a remarkable primary victory in a challenging four-way race, but this is her first general election for citywide office and city voters should let her know how welcome she is. We strongly endorse TISHAURA O. JONES FOR ST. LOUIS TREASURER.

 

The American will not endorse in the race for Missouri Treasurer.

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