voxefxtm | Flickr

As the calendar turns to 2015, the national political scene is already focusing on 2016. As politicians set up strategies and start to explore their options the baseline concerns are who will vote and how will they cast their ballots? To answer these questions, one must look at patterns. Generally speaking, the party that does not hold the presidency scores some gains. This time the gains were substantial enough to turn the Senate over to the Republicans and to keep that party dominant in statehouses across the country.

John C. Danforth
Washington University

American politics is not working very well today, but religion can play a role in helping to move it away from partisanship and back to a spirit of compromise.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., joined a handful of other centrists-Democrats in voting against Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to be the caucus’ minority leader for the 114th Congress beginning in January. McCaskill said she made her decision in the wake of last week's election, which she said showed that Missouri voters want change.


Political dysfunction has been bandied about for several years, but its meaning remains unclear. That’s the first order of business Friday at the Political Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“One of the reasons that we decided to do the conference was precisely because everyone complains about political dysfunction, but you ask five different people what it is and you’ll get five different answers,” Wally Siewert, director of UMSL’s Center for Ethics in Public Life, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine
Courtesy of Olympia Snowe

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe cited partisanship when she announced her retirement in 2012.

John Britton
Provided by Jennifer Durham

In recent years, Missouri lobbyist John Britton, who single-handedly thwarted innumerable attempts to enact laws that would put additional limits on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, made a late-in-life health concession: He went from smoking five packs a day to three.

In the early days, he was a Benson and Hedges man. He later switched to Camels, but recently he favored organic cigarettes and was smoking even less.

“He’d cut down to a pack and a half a day in the past six months,” laughed Jennifer Durham, his colleague for 46 years.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated following St. Louis on the Air.

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin is back, and he’s not sorry.

Two years after losing a contest for U.S. Senate and igniting a “war on women” debate with a comment about rape, Akin has written a book that offers behind-the-scenes details about how he, his campaign and his family coped.

In an August 2012 interview with Charles Jaco on KTVI (Channel 2), Akin was asked about abortion and rape. Akin, who is staunchly anti-abortion, said that a pregnancy from rape “is really rare.”

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

(Updated 10:50 p.m., Sat., June 7)

Seven years after leaving the Republican Party, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has in effect taken the reins of the Missouri Democratic Party. 

That point was underscored Saturday night when -- shortly before the Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner --  Koster presented the state party chairman a check for $100,000.

That's the second such six-figure donation that Koster has given the state Democratic operation in the past year -- making him the largest single donor to the state party.

Sheila Lumpe
Family Photo

Former Missouri State Rep. Sheila Lumpe, who reluctantly entered statewide politics and became the first woman to lead the powerful House Budget Committee and came within a whisper of being the first speaker of the House, died on Wednesday.

When her husband began cajoling her to run for the office, she balked, siding with detractors who thought her “too soft” and subject to being “eaten alive” by big-time politics.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

With a little more than two weeks left in the current Missouri legislative session, the focus of the state legislature will be on two possible veto overrides, said St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies.

She and education reporter Dale Singer appeared on St. Louis on the Air today to give an update on key bills moving through the state legislature right now.

From left: Sarah Palin, Cindy and John McCain
Rachael Dickson | Wikipedia

Sarah Palin has profoundly influenced my view of politics. She persuaded me, for instance, to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.

Before her introduction as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate, I’d thought the resume of the first-term, junior senator from Illinois was a bit thin for the Oval Office and his vision for the nation’s future seemed disturbingly vague. The prospect of Sarah sitting a heartbeat away from the nuclear launch codes, however, convinced me that it was indeed time for change…

wedding rings

Same-sex couples in Missouri may not want to rush across the river to tie the knot.

Even though some counties in Illinois are beginning to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, says marriage licenses granted to two men or two women from Missouri may not prove valid.

(Courtesy Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest)

As the Consul General to the Midwest, Roey Gilad travels between 11 Midwest states representing Israeli interests. This week he visited St. Louis for the second time since becoming the consul general last February. 

“I’m there to build bridges,” said Gilad. “The bridge is already there, I’m there to make it stronger and wider between the Midwest and the state of Israel, between Missouri and the state of Israel and between St. Louis and the state of Israel."

jimbowen0306 / Flickr

A special session of the Missouri legislature will get underway this evening with the hopes of bringing thousands of new jobs to the state.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon will ask the GOP-controlled House and Senate to approve up to $150 million in annual tax breaks and economic incentives to lure Boeing into building its new 777X passenger plane in Missouri.

(Via Flickr/Richard O. Barry)

Should a journalist strive most to be fair and objective? Or should his or her primary goal be transparency? Can a content-producer be both an advocate and a journalist? What is the role of the press in the future of democracy and what should its journalistic ethics be?

These are questions news outlets and individual journalists alike must answer as they navigate the future of journalism in the United States, and the topic of discussion during the Second Annual Public Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Thursday, November 14.

Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

To people who feel powerless in the face of today's political structure, Princeton University religion professor Jeffrey Stout has this advice: organize.  He delivers a lecture, "Struggle for a Just Society - Grassroots Democracy in America," as part of the Lee Institute's Speaker Series on Monday, October 28, 2013.

He points to the great social movements of the past two centuries as examples of grassroots organization that affected real change in America -  abolitionists, civil rights and women's suffrage.

(Via Flickr/Boston Public Library)

In his new book This Town, self-described Washington insider Mark Leibovich paints an unattractive portrait of a capital focused on image, personal wealth and self-interest over public service.

(Courtesy PBS)

According to the U.S. Census, the United States will become a majority-minority by the year 2043, with Latinos representing the largest portion of the population.

While this shift in demographics represents a major sea-change for the country, in a way it is also nothing more than a continuation of a long story: the 500 year history of Latino Americans.

(via Flickr/marcn)

The United States Senate has 20 women in office, a mark never before reached prior to the last election. The top political seats in New Hampshire are all held by women: a female governor, two women in the U.S. Senate and women in both of the state's U.S. House seats.

Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2008 and there is talk of her running again in 2016. Are these signs that America could soon have a woman break the last glass ceiling to executive power or are there still obstacles in the way?