The numbers we report tonight on the Missourinet and in our around-the-clock coverage on Missourinet.com will change lives. For most of us the changes will depend on the things that will be done by those we elect. We won’t recognize them or feel them for several months.
But the men and women we vote for today have risked their political futures on what we do in the voting booth.
It’s not just dreams of a second term that might die today for some, or dreams of a step into statewide office and the potential that step has. It’s more lofty dreams.
Some of these candidates have eyes on runs for even higher office–governor or U. S. Senator, perhaps. What we do in the polling place today will affect the ballot of 2016. Our decisions today also could shape the ballots of 2020 and 2024. We are not electing just the governor this year. We might be electing the governor’s successor and that person’s successor.
But there is a flip side. Some dreams will die today. And it won’t just be the dreams of those who lose because political candidates do not run these races alone. Their families share their dreams.
I recall hearing Christopher Bond talk about the pain of losing his re-election bid for governor in 1976. It was a terrible blow to a young man who only months before had been on President Ford’s short list of possible running mates as Vice-President, pretty heady talk for someone who had become the youngest governor in Missouri history in ’73. But then had come November and the staggering defeat to Joe Teasdale. All of that promise that went with a second term and a possible position on the national stage in 1980 was wiped out that November night in 1976.
Bond spoke not only of the impact that loss had on him, but on the double impact it had on his wife, Carolyn. She not only saw what the loss did to him, but she had to deal with what the loss did to her. No second four years in the Governor’s Mansion. No future as the wife of a rising young political figure who could someday aspire to much higher positions. No First Lady of Missouri and maybe First Lady of the United States in years to come. All of that had been shattered–her dreams as well as hers.
Bond became Governor and she became First Lady of Missouri again in 1980. But we never heard the name of Christopher Bond mentioned again as a national ticket figure.
Dreams are at stake today. We are not voting for an office. We are voting for real people. For some, our vote will be cruel. For others, our vote will be the next chapter in a dream. And they will not share the victory or the defeat alone.