by howardpark, Wed May 31, 2006 at 03:30:24 PM EDT
In November Missourians will vote on a ballot initiative to reverse the state legislature's ban on stem cell research and South Dakotans will vote on overturning an abortion ban passed by legislators. I know more about Missouri than South Dakota but in both cases I suspect that legislators are to the right of the state as a whole. November will be the test.
For years, the Missouri legislature has been lurching rightward. Missouri is tilting red, but the state is one of the most politically balanced in the country. Ever since the 1970's -- in Missouri and other states -- the passion to run for the state legislature has been with Republicans, especially those motivated by social issues. It takes a lot of motivation and energy to run for the legislature and most of those qualities have defined social wingnuts. Whatever else they lack, they have had plenty of fire (and brimstone too!). It's rare to see a flaming moderate get started in politics though a lot of politicians end up in the middle.