Our view: Listen to Jack Danforth and vote ‘no’ on attempt to overturn Clean Missouri

The Joplin Globe

In November, Missourians will vote on a plan advanced this month by Republican lawmakers to overthrow the ethics reform state voters approved just two years ago. That 2018 measure, Clean Missouri, imposed limits on lobbyists, caps on campaign contributions, and redistricting reform. Support for it came in at nearly 2 to 1.

Some Republicans — “some” being the key word — never wanted it; they’ve been trying to replace it.

Don’t be fooled.

Clean Missouri isn’t a reform that has been tried and found wanting; it is a reform that has been found wanting to be tried.

And we say “some” because many Republicans in 2018 voted for Clean Missouri.

Among them, Jack Danforth.

Danforth’s Republican credentials are unimpeachable. He is the man who helped build the Republican Party in Missouri. When he was elected Missouri Attorney General, it marked the first time in 40 years that a Republican was elected to statewide office.

“There is no question that Jack Danforth founded the modern-day Republican Party in Missouri. His office produced the first generation of that era’s elected Republican leaders, including John Ashcroft and (Christopher) Kit Bond, both of whom served as state auditors, governors and U.S. senators.”

That’s from Tom Coleman, himself a former U.S. representative who also worked with Danforth. Also on Danforth’s staff as an assistant attorney general: Clarence Thomas — now on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Danforth is a former U.S. senator and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He has been an active Republican politician longer than many serving in Jefferson City today have been alive.

His is a voice worth heeding.

He wrote recently in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “I was proud to support the Clean Missouri amendment on the 2018 ballot. The amendment changed the state constitution to clean up Missouri politics in various ways but above all by reducing the role of politics in the way state House and Senate districts are drawn. The power that partisan and special interests have in drawing these lines was diminished in favor of a nonpartisan state demographer, whose work would then be reviewed by a citizen commission that must hold public hearings.

“… Now, however, the people’s amendment is under attack. In the midst of the current public health crisis, our state Legislature is seeking to place a new constitutional amendment on an upcoming ballot. It would overturn voter-approved redistricting reforms before they could ever take effect. Instead, it would substitute a redistricting scheme more extreme than Missouri has ever seen. Indeed, if the proposed constitutional amendment is fully enacted, Missouri’s legislative maps could be more gerrymandered than any in the country.”

The full column is here: shorturl.at/bdsMQ. We urge you to read it.

Danforth wrote, “I will vote no on the legislators’ gerrymandering amendment and encourage every Missouri voter to do the same. The integrity of Missouri’s democracy is at stake.”