Our Opinion: Incumbents returned to office

News Tribune editorial

Incumbents prevail.

In the nation, state, legislative districts and Cole County, incumbent office-holders largely were re-elected.

President Barack Obama secured a second term. Missourians returned Sen. Claire McCaskill and seven incumbent U.S. representatives to Congress.

For statewide executive offices, Gov. Jay Nixon led a sweep by incumbents.

In our area, three incumbent state representatives won re-election.

And Cole County voters largely re-elected incumbents, with the exception of a circuit clerk who was appointed, but never elected, to the post.

These outcomes suggest a number of possibilities.

• Voters are satisfied with the status quo.

• Voters believe incumbents are making progress and deserve more time on the job to make improvements.

• Voters want change, but believe challengers do not represent change for the better. (Also known as choosing the lesser of two evils).

As is often the case with politics, no single, easy answer exists.

The incumbents re-elected Tuesday are both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, men and women, younger and older.

Their diversity mirrors the diversity among Americans, and their re-election reflects the values, beliefs and hopes of a majority of their constituents.

We commend the registered voters who took time to go to the polls Tuesday. We confess, however, we are disappointed Cole County’s voter turnout, 64 percent, did not at least rise to the predicted 73 percent level.

Beyond that, we offer no criticisms, misgivings or hindsights.

Democracy is a participatory process — a process not confined to Election Day.

We continue to participate on the local, state and national levels when we offer ideas, insights and solutions to the problems that confront us.

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