2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide: Missouri is likely to remain a Republican fortress

The Cave State, which was once a Democratic one, shifted sides over the years and has a terrific accuracy in picking presidents


                            2020 Presidential Elections State-by-State Guide:  Missouri is likely to remain a Republican fortress
Missouri State Flag (US Public Domain)

State

MISSOURI

Primary dates

March 10, 2020 (Tuesday)

Type: Open

Democratic delegates: 78 (68 delegates, 10 super)

Republican delegates: 54

Governor

Mike Parson (Republican)

Senators

Roy Blunt (R) & Joshua Hawley (R)

Representative: 8 

Six Republican: Ann Wagner (2nd district), Blaine Luetkemeyer (3rd district), Vicky Hartzler (4th district), Sam Graves (6th district), Billy Long (7th district), Jason Smith (8th district); Two Democratic: Lacy Clay Jr (1st district), Emmanuel Cleaver II (5th district)

Electoral college votes: 10 

Donald Trump won all of them in 2016

How Missouri has voted in presidential elections in the past

Having gained statehood in August 1821, Missouri has been a battleground state till recently with a high percentage of votes going in for the eventual election winner. Between 1904 and 2004, the Cave State picked a non-winner in a national presidential election only once and it was in 1956 when it went for Adlai Stevenson and not Dwight D Eisenhower. In the last three elections, however, Missouri made the wrong selection twice - John McCain in 2008 (he defeated Barack Obama by 0.1 percent) and Mitt Romney in 2012 - before picking Donald Trump in 2016. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by almost 19 percent in the 2016 election.

Missouri a ‘safe Trump’ state in 2020

Till the early part of the 20th century, Missouri was a strong Democratic state. Since 2000, the GOP has won it five times in a row in presidential elections. Like many other Midwestern states, population growth has been slower in Missouri in the recent decades compared to the country as a whole and that has seen a decline in electoral influence. During the Great Depression, the state had 18 electoral votes which have come down to 10 today. 

Politically, the state not only saw a mix of urban and rural but also divisions over the Civil War (Missouri was the northernmost slave state in the 1850s). While the Democrats controlled Little Dixie in the northeast and northwest,  the GOP dominated the Ozarks in the southwest. The southeast was more split. By 2000, the large metro areas became more Democratic while the rest of the state turned red with cultural conservatism taking over Civil War loyalties. Between 2000 and 2008, the two parties were evenly matched in the state as elections to high political positions in the states saw narrow results. The equation tilted in favor of the GOP over the next eight years, thanks to a relatively big contingent of evangelical voters. It culminated in Trump’s sweeping win in 2016. 

Missouri and 2020 presidential election

After Trump’s big win in 2016, six of the eight congressional districts of Missouri went to the GOP in the 2018 midterm polls. Even both its Senate seats went to the GOP. The president has plus eight net approval rating in the state and it makes him a strong candidate against his Democratic opponents in Missouri in this year’s presidential election. In the 2016 primary in Missouri, Trump defeated Ted Cruz narrowly (0.23 percent) but went on to bag many more delegates.
 
In the Democratic Party, former vice president Joe Biden holds a four-percent lead over Bernie Sanders in a new Emerson College poll conducted late February and early March. The two candidates were seen to be tied among the white voters but Biden has a 14-point edge over the colored supporters. Sanders lost to Hillary by only 0.25 percent votes in the 2016 presidential primary in Missouri.

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