Posts by Lee Presser

Lee Presser is the Host and Executive Producer of Conversation with Lee Presser which has appeared on Charter cable in Metro St. Louis since January 2001

Guest Post: My Night With the Klan, Part 1

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Editor’s Note: This article from 1992 tells a remarkable story of one man’s brave visit to a KKK rally. The stories Lee present serve a cautionary tale: human nature abhors a vacuum. When leaders fail to lead, humanity cries out. And, to paraphrase Steven King, who knows what dread thing will answer.

Bear in mind that this rally took place in 1992. George H.W. Bush was president, and the Golden Age of Ronald Reagan was only 3 years in the past. The United States had just won the Cold War and trounced Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm. The World Wide Web was a year from launching. Email was new–on CompuServe or Prodigy or the upstart AOL. The US economy was emerging from short but deep recession.

 

My Night With the Klan

by Lee A. Presser

There was a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan on Saturday, September 12, 1992, in the farm country of Madison County in Southwest Illinois.  It was said that it had been thirty years since the last such open gathering in the Madison County.  The meeting was well organized, enthusiastic, and very secure.  Local, county, state, and federal officers were encamped across the street and fanned out in cars for miles around.

Standing in front of the farmhouse gate were two men in Klan uniforms holding homemade shields painted with a large cross and a white power symbol.  Flags and KKK banners boldly adorned the chain link fence.  Inside the fence were other uniformed men.  Some were wearing headsets with boom mikes so they could talk to other Klan security personnel. The Klan had organized for its own protection.  A cadre of newspaper and TV representatives were gathered across the road but stood separated from a large contingent of police.

I first learned about this extraordinary meeting the previous week from a local newspaper article.  Once the “story” was out, all of the St. Louis region newspapers picked it up.  Their reports were quickly followed up by TV and radio news.  Word traveled throughout the region.  The Klan was to reemerge into public view after a generation of being invisible.

The Madison County Sheriff, a good cop, insisted that this was going to be a peaceful event and closely watched.  He spoke to the press and asked citizens to stay away from the meeting.  He notified everyone of a newly created “no-parking zone” which would extend a mile round the site.  He warned those who traveled to the meeting that their auto license plate numbers would be written down.  Then he did his duty as an officer of the law and let the public meeting go forward.  The Klan would have its public say.

At 4:00 PM, when I left my house, I was very nervous.  I feared meeting Klansmen.  Who knew how they would behave.  Would they be physically dangerous?  Would they attack me as a police spy?  I did not know.  My other fear was about getting to this rural meeting area, finding parking, and getting past all the partisan players by 6:00 PM to hear the Klan’s speakers for myself.  It was going to be a challenge.

The first thing I noticed upon my approach to Torch Club Road were three police vehicles at the intersection.  A reporter friend of mine was out of his car and having strong words with one of the police officers.  I kept driving.

I turned left and drove down the street looking for the address noted in the newspaper.  A sign on one property read “Parking $5.”  Driving further down Torch Club Road another sign announced, “Rally Here.”  It was a farmhouse with a very large field around the property.  Inside the fenced yard, a large crowd was already gathered.  Most of the people I saw in the front yard were wearing T-shirts with KKK or white power logos.  KKK guest parking was available on the property.  I continued driving past the farm house.  On the other side of the street was an army of police.  Freshly planted “No Parking” signs forced me to keep going.

Far down this country road, there was a residential street on the right.  Unfortunately, a sheriff’s deputy parked at the corner told me there was no parking allowed on that road, either.  Already a long way from the rally, I turned around and headed back.  This time, near the rally farmhouse, I spotted a clearing between some trees.  It was off the road, down in a ditch.  I took a chance that I would not get towed.

As I approached the rally site on foot, my stomach tightened.  I was going to have to walk past the uniformed men with their decorated shields, through their gate, and into a crowd attending a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.

On the other side of the road were reporters I recognized and who recognized me.  “Are you going in?”   I answered yes, I want to see and hear the event for myself.  Isn’t that what writers were supposed to do.  Walking closer to a group of reporters who were huddling together, I asked them if they were going into the event.  All I got in response was a couple of shrugs and a terse “maybe later.”  How those reporters were going to know what to report was a mystery to me.  They were going to file reports about what they saw only from an exterior point of view.  Had they gone inside they would have been able learn what the crowd was thinking, feeling, and maybe learn why they were there in attendance.

It was time for me to cross the street.  I turned from my reporter friends, took a deep breath, and walked toward the entrance gate.  Walking, I watched the gate guards closely.  I smiled.  As I approached and to my surprise, they let me walk right by.  No questions were asked.

Inside the yard I was warmly greeted by several people.  Roaming about I spotted a literature table on the other side of this large fenced in area.  (I almost wrote the word ‘compound’ in the previous sentence but remembered it was someone’s backyard.)  When I approached the literature table a very handsome woman greeted me and offered brochures and fliers.  I picked up a copy of the “White Patriot” the “Worldwide Voice of the Aryan People.”  It’s banner headline exclaimed, “THIS IS THE KLAN.”  Stories about “Today’s Klan” filled the publication.

A dozen youngsters were running and playing in an adjacent separately fenced area further away from the house.  Mom’s sat nearby.  A grill was fired up near the literature table, cooking hamburgers which cost a $1.00.  Sodas were fifty cents.  There was a big hungry crowd waiting in line.

People were busily talking in groups just like at any other outdoor event.  By my count there were about 125 people in attendance.  At least a third were under 21 years old.  Another third were 21 to 35 years old. The relative youth of the crowd surprised me.  There was one man in a suit.  Probably he was the featured speaker mentioned in the press release.

Excusing myself from the lady at the literature table, I wandered toward a group of guys in their mid-twenties talking together, stopping close enough to hear what they had to say.  One was talking about negative encounters with the police and others concurred with personal stories about being harassed by the “feds” (FBI) and local police.  All of them keep glancing across the street at the police.  One said to the others “the feds had been grabbing letters out of a certain residential mailbox” and to prove it he and some other friends had put “interesting mail” into that box and later “discovered” it was gone and not with the mailman.   An anxious looking fellow standing with that group fiddled with what looked like a small wooden spear tipped with a metal spike attached by chain to his leather belt.  One of the young men declared they should be on the lookout for police infiltrators inside the fence.  Yet, they drew me into their conversation.  As we talked I noticed across the street, near the reporters, student protesters had arrived and were lining up.  Their signs and banners were raised in protest against the Klan meeting.  During my continuing conversation with the young men, I discovered that some had driven many hours to be at this meeting.  One said he came from DeKalb.  Another said he’d come up from Texas.  All said in recent years they had been to other meetings just like this one.

Moving from that group, I met another man from Texas, his lovely wife, and their beautiful children.  The two kids darted in and out as we conversed.  These Texans had also been other meetings like this one and were pleased to be at this one.  They said that the featured speaker, Thomas Robb (the man in the suit), was very inspirational.  Mr. Robb is a minister from Arkansas, I was told.  He was also a candidate for the Arkansas state legislature.  As I spoke to this couple, around us were other conversations about family and work.  This Klan event was a social occasion, much like a company picnic.  Whole families had come.  Wives met and chatted with other wives.  Kids met kids and they played together.  The people were festive.  They ate burgers and drank cold drinks.  Mothers fed their babies.

To be continued

The Only Rule of Engagement Will Be Victory

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Guest Post by Lee Presser

When FDR sent the troops to fight World War 2, he sent them to win.  Since 1945, the political class has not given America’s military that clear instruction when being sent to war.  Political considerations have modified the goal of winning.  In Korea, it was fight but do not anger the Chinese.  In Viet Nam, it was fight but do not attack the enemy if they are standing on the other side of line drawn on a map.

By the time we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, the Rules of Engagement were so restrictive, winning was not an option.  The Political Class sent our young men and women to be maimed and killed, to be afflicted with psychological trauma, but not with the one instruction which would have made the sacrifice worth the effort; Win. 

By the start of the 2016 Presidential election cycle, polls reported that Americans did not want to send more sons and daughters to fight a ground war in the Middle East.  Can you blame them?  In the past mothers and fathers had the internal satisfaction of knowing their child was doing his duty and protecting the family from an enemy.  Grief stricken families proudly displayed Gold Star flags. 

In this post 911 world, sacrifice is questioned.  Some see the fallen and the maimed as patsies rather than as patriots.  Families feel regret without the satisfaction that comes with victory. 

Paris changed people’s minds.  The American public sees the danger of allowing our undefeated enemy to continue fighting while we sit dumbly awaiting his arrival at our local mall, coffee shop, or music venue.  Americans are ready to act decisively but fear the political class is not. 

It is time for the American military to be allowed to take the gloves off.  We must fight to defeat the enemy.  A strategy which starts with words ‘degrade an enemy’s capability’ is actually a formula for degrading the fighting will of Americans.  The goal of war is to break the enemy’s will to fight, forcing him to the table for a negotiated peace.  If they will not give up, they all must be destroyed.  The Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Peleliu, and the Battle of Iwo Jima are but three examples of destroying an enemy who failed to surrender to the American military. 

When we go back to the Middle East, it must be with overwhelming military force.  The only rule of engagement will be victory.  It is time America puts the fear of God in those barbarian cowards who hide among the civilian population and expect that will shield them and their heinous acts from American justice. 

God bless America!  God protect those who fight in her name. 

If this sounds familiar, see Rules of War

Low Interest Rates Hid True Cost of Increasing Debt

Reading Time: 3 minutes

House mortgage-type instrument suggested as means to pay off national debt

Guest Post By Lee A. Presser

Interest rates have been held artificially low by the Federal Reserve since 2008.  This has had the effect of hiding the true cost of increasing debt.  As interest rates rise back toward 4%, the U.S. Treasury will have less money to spend on discretionary governmental functions.

The FY 2015 budget is approximately $3,900,000,000,000.00.  Another way to look at that number is about $12,187.50 per person for all 320,000,000 people in the U.S.

The $3.9 Trillion budget has been divided by the Treasury into three main categories; mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and interest costs.  In FY 2015 mandatory spending will equal 65% of the budget.  Mandatory spending is America’s entitlement programs.  Discretionary spending is everything else including the military, except interest costs.

The interest amount paid on the United States national debt may be about to sky-rocket as interest rates in the U.S. return to 4%.  Instead of paying $430,812,121,372.05 interest at an average 2.401% rate as the Treasury did in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, the amount may soon grow to $769,861,040,000.00 if rates return to 4.188%, the average rate at the end of FY 2008.  (Treasury Department websites http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm and http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/rates/pd/avg/2008/2008_09.htm)

The $769.8 Billion calculation is based on the debt amount as of September 30, 2014.  The actual amount of interest paid when rates return to 4% will be based on a larger amount than the $18 Trillion owed September 30, 2014.  When the amount owed reaches $20 Trillion, the annual interest amount paid could be as high as $855,401,140,000.00 (based on a 4.188% rate rather than a 2.401% rate).

 A debt generally refers to money owed by one party, the debtor, to a second party, the creditor. Debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest.

(Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt)

National debt is the money owed by the central government (in this case the United States Treasury) to its creditors; those who loaned it money at interest.  The national debt is different than the annual deficit.  The deficit measures the amount the debt has increased from one year to the next year.

The interest rate paid by the U.S. Treasury on its debts varies depending on the contract it signed with each creditor.  The “interest bearing debt” generally falls into two categories; “marketable” and “non-marketable” securities.  The average interest rate of all the subcategories making up the “marketable” and “non-marketable” securities is called the interest rate on the “Total Interest Bearing Debt.”

At the close of FY 2007, the “Total Interest Bearing Debt” rate was 5.009%.  By the close of FY 2008 the rate declined to 4.188%.  At the close of FY 2014, the “Total Interest Bearing Debt” rate was 2.401%.  (Treasury Dept. website http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/rates/pd/avg/2014/2014_09.htm)

 

When interest rates rise and the debt continues to increase (because of deficit spending), the United States Treasury has less dollars to spend on discretionary governmental functions.  Since interest must be paid to avoid default, discretionary spending must be cut.  The other option is to increase the deficit and add to the debt.  A larger debt results in increased interest costs in the coming Fiscal Year.

 

A change in trajectory is needed to avoid financial disaster.  Perhaps the solution is to assign the federal debt to a 30-40 year mortgage and pay it off like a house payment.  As the debt amount declines, more money will be applied to principal.  Of course, no addition debt can be added.  Increased expenses must be paid from current income and/or from increased taxation.

 

If Congress cannot agree to control itself, financial disaster is predictable and has been explained above.

Municipal Court or Kangaroo Court?

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Guest post by Lee A. Presser

On Wednesday, April 16, 2003, I was in Bel-Ridge, Missouri, Municipal Court to plead “not guilty.” The violation listed on the ticket did not match the reality of what actually happened on the road. In a file folder, I had documents and photographs to rebut the charge. The ticket stated that Court convened at 6:30 P.M. I arrived twenty minutes early.

Before 9:30 that evening, I had been tightly handcuffed twice, verbally abused by police, pushed into a depressing detention cell, and made an example of in front of seventy-five to one hundred people.

When I arrived by car at 6:10 P.M. to 8842 Natural Bridge Road, I spotted what looked to me to be a group of shabby buildings which made up the Bel-Ridge Municipal Complex. They had some parking spaces on their property but nowhere near the number of spaces for the amount of defendants their officers had netted for that night’s hearing. By that time the only parking available to me was on a nearby residential street which was a five minute walk from the Municipal Court door.

It was raining that evening. I was wearing a business suit. My umbrella was in my car but that night I was driving a rental because my car was in the shop. After walking the five minutes to where the crowd was lined up, we were made to stand in the rain for another ten minutes before the police officers processed us into the building. While in line, I was asked several times if I was an attorney.

Inside the door, I was told to empty my pockets into a small basket. This included my cell phone, which I had already turned off. The police officer ran a metal detector wand over me. When I went to collect my things from the basket, the police officer took my phone and put it on the floor with a large number of other cell phones taken from the seventy-five or more defendants already seated inside. I told the officer that I was concerned about making sure I got my phone back. He answered by saying, “That’s your problem.” At that moment my internal radar came on.

Again, I was asked, “Are you an attorney?” After stating that I was not, I was pointed to the check-in window. At the window I was asked again. Standing there in my suit, holding my file and a book, I said, “No.” The other defendants were in tee-shirts, slacks, and other casual clothes. They were mostly black, only a hand full of us were white. After check-in I moved toward a seat near the front so I could better hear the proceedings. One of the police officers stopped me and told me to “sit over there.” He directed me to a metal folding chair near the back of the room.

The room was long but very narrow. It had a low ceiling. I was sitting far from the judge, at least fifty feet back, maybe more. There were maybe twenty rows of eight chairs per row. The rows were divided into two sections. There were five seats in the right section, an aisle, then three seats in the left section. There were probably fifteen rows between me and the Court. Defendants filled almost every seat. There were maybe 120 people seated between me and the judge. I’m guessing there were 140 defendants in that small room.

As noted above, most of the defendants were black. We were surrounded by seven white police officers. They were not friendly, they were not helpful, and they treated the people in that room as if they were criminals. Many of the officers were verbally abusive to defendants.

When the Municipal Court proceedings were called to order by the judge, he spoke to this large crowd for about five minutes. We in the back could not hear what the judge was saying. Sitting next to me was one of the few white defendants in the room. He raised his hand, then waved it, but was not recognized by the judge. He then spoke out loud, “we cannot hear the judge in the back .” One of the officers shouted at him to “shut up.”

I brought a paperback book to read while I waited to plead not guilty. But, I was so disturbed by what I saw going on around me, I could not focus on the book. Quietly, in a voice that did not carry, I asked some of the people near me why they were there. One black man, Antonio D., stated that he had been stopped for speeding in a private parking lot. The white man from
St. Charles, Missouri, who was sitting next to me, stated that he had been stopped on the Interstate for doing 81 MPH. He said he was going fast but nowhere near 81 MPH. He immediately asked the officer to see the radar readout, the officer refused and wrote the ticket. An older black man was cited for driving without a license. He told me he didn’t know how to file the papers to get his driver’s license back after the suspension period ended and he did not have the money to hire a Traffic attorney.

Most of the people in the room did not look like they could easily afford an attorney. If they had hired attorneys, the attorneys would have settled most of the cases being heard that day. Instead a mostly black group of defendants was made to sit in metal folding chairs, some of them for hours, surrounded by seven white police officers, being judged by an all white Court.

A long time had passed since our first conversation. Finally, I quietly said to those near me, “I don’t like the police officers being so abusive to the people in the crowd. It’s not right.” I looked toward the seats behind us, and standing behind the last row, one of the officers was glaring at me.

Within a few minutes a different police officer approached me, asked my name, and walked toward the front. Everyone sitting near me was amazed. As far as we had seen, I was the only one in that room who was asked to supply their name. Later two officers approached and asked me to follow them. They told me to put my hands behind my back. They said I was being arrested for Contempt of Court. I asked, “for what?” One officer actually said I was being arrested for being a “disruptive influence because I was reading my book and talking to my neighbors.” In front of the remaining crowd, they roughly and tightly put handcuffs on me. While this was going on, I was looking at the people with whom I had been sitting. I said in their direction, “I’m being arrested for reading my book and talking to you.” The officer jerked my arms and growled, “shut up.”
I was taken out of that building by a side door and walked in the pouring rain to another building. My expensive suit was being soaked again. I said to the young man who was escorting me, “You know what they are doing is bogus.” He replied, “I only do what I am told.” Looking closely at his eyes, I said to him, “That’s what Saddam Hussain’s police say.” He shrugged but kept leading me toward a small, unpleasant looking building. Inside the lock-up building, the folder containing my documents was taken from me. I was told they were doing me a favor by allowing me to keep my book. He put me in a very small holding cell. It was three small steps long and one step wide. Being in there was shocking and depressing.

I saw no paperwork, no warrant, no nothing. No charges were read to me. I was not finger printed. “This couldn’t be legal,” I thought.

Time moved very slowly in that cell. I did not get any reading done. I was angry. I wanted to show them they could not get away with this. I wanted someone powerful to come and tell them to put a stop to this. After a while, I realized I was in their power and they could hurt me and keep me locked up in this terrible place.

Later, a different police officer came into the cell. I was being taken back to the Court building. He handcuffed me, this time squeezing them even tighter than the first time. The cuffs left marks on my wrist. Before we left that building, I told them to give me back my file. I could not see it on top of the file cabinet where the first officer had placed it before they put me in the cell. I refused to leave until they found it and gave it back. It was found and handed to the police officer escort.

Again, I was taken for a walk in the rain. Once we were back in the Municipal Court building, he removed the handcuffs and put me into a chair near the front, along the wall, where they make prisoners in jump suits sit. I asked for the folder. He refused to return it. Later I saw him and others looking through the papers in the folder. At one point I asked for some water. The answer was “no.”

Even at this late hour there was still a long line of defendants waiting to have their case heard by the judge. Now that I was up front, where I wanted to sit in the first place, I could hear how this Court conducted itself, and I wasn’t impressed. One hard-of-hearing older white woman was there because she had been cited for having trash in her yard. I believe she was told to pay $150 per citation. As she was leaving, I saw several of the officers laughing at her behind her back. Many other defendants were treated in what I considered an insensitive, if not abusive, manner.

When all the defendants were heard and out of the room, I was called before the judge. I was alone with the Court and the police officers. The judge said something to me which I can’t remember as I am writing this. My response caused him to tell me that he told this to the crowd at the beginning of the session. I told him that we in the back could not hear his comments. I said that the guy next to me had put up his hand, waved it, and then said out loud that we could not hear him. The judge stopped me, ignored what I said, and repeated for me the unheard statement.
The charges were read and I was asked how I would plead. “Not guilty,” I said. In reality, I wanted to say that I did not understand the reason the ticket was issued in the first place. But, being afraid for my well-being in this Court Room, I thought the best thing I could do was to say not guilty and ask for a jury trial. In that way, people other than this judge and this prosecutor would decide my fate. I told him that I wanted this case set for a jury trial. He said something legalistic that I took to mean that if I could not ask for it in the correct legal language than I could not have a jury trial.

I said to the judge that if he would take five minutes now to look at the documents and pictures in my folder, he would see that there was no need for this to go any further. Anyone looking at the material in the folder would immediately see that the ticket made no sense and that the charge should be dismissed. He again gave some legalistic answer that meant no. I had the feeling he did not want this settled. He wanted me in this room again.

After pleading not guilty, the judge proceeded to lecture me. He sternly told me that next time I was in his Court, I was not to fidget in my seat, make a nuisance of myself, or disturb the people around me. I wanted to respond but this was not the time. Rule 37.75(a) states that, “A criminal contempt may be punished summarily if the judge certifies that he saw or heard the conduct constituting the contempt and that it was committed in his presence.” If there were at least fifty feet and at least fifty people between the judge and I, could he have really seen me fidgeting in my seat or heard me talking to my neighbors? I believe the answer is no, he could not. I believe that he was told something by a police officer and then he allowed them to handcuff me and put me in the lock-up. Rule 37.75(a) does not say that police officers can report to the judge what they saw or heard. It says the judge must see or hear the conduct. In Bel-Ridge they have their own way of doing things.

After being dismissed by the judge, a police officer, acting as the Bailiff, handed me a notice which stated that my new court date was June 25, 2003.

I was in that courtroom because of a ticket issued on the afternoon of March 14, 2003. I was driving west on Natural Bridge Road. My intention was to turn left onto I-170 South. The light was green. I was driving in the left turn lane. As I was getting ready to make the left, I saw two east bound cars, one in each lane of approaching traffic, speeding toward the intersection. Had they not been speeding, I would have completed the left turn. Instead, I paused, waited for the cars to pass, and then proceeded through the intersection into the highway on-ramp. The light turned red before I was fully out of the intersection. Moments later the police officer stopped me. When he walked up to the car, he said I had been blocking the intersection. I did not understand what he meant. We talked. I still did not understand the violation. He asked for my driver’s license. I said, “You’re giving me a ticket! For what?” He came back with a ticket stating, “Impeded the flow of traffic by being in the intersection controlled by an electric signal.” The ordinance violated was listed as 300.010. Again, I said to him, “The light was green when I entered the intersection and I was gone the moment the two cars passed.”
After being in the Bel-Ridge Municipal Court, I have a better understanding of my traffic stop. In my opinion, that traffic stop was a moneymaker for Bel-Ridge, Missouri. In my opinion, the Bel-Ridge political establishment sends out its police force for the purpose of making money. Bel-Ridge police seek out every minor infraction and issue a ticket which helps pay the salary’s of all the public officials. Again, it is my opinion that Bel-Ridge and all other communities who use their police force as a moneymaker should be stopped. If they will not stop, these communities should be disincorporated, removing their ability to use police powers for that purpose.

In a small community like Bel-Ridge, I find it hard to believe there should be that many defendants sitting in Municipal Court. I believe my case should never have gone to court that night. But, as a result of being there, I have seen the shadier side of the Municipal Court system.

Editor’s Note: I stood for three minutes in furious disbelief when I first read this account of the abuse and degradation that Bel Ridge heaps on American citizens for minor ordinance violations. I can imagine one minor traffic or lawn violation could send an otherwise good person into a downward spiral. This story is not the tale of justice in America. It’s a nightmarish descent into psychological abuse. The police described in this story are not public servants but psychopaths. True psychopaths who get their jollies mentally and physically hurting innocent people. No one in America should endure this kind of abuse at the hands of judges and police officers.

Please see my previous story on the problems in North County

Are the Missouri August Primary results a fluke or the beginning of a trend?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many Republican voters pulled a Democrat ballot August 5th, in St. Louis County. Having crossed over once, how many will do it again in November? It is no secret that the Republican legislature in Jefferson City has exhibited minimal leadership on major issues while spending most of a short legislative calendar talking about issues invented by lobbyists.

Republican voters expected more.

Many St. Louis County Republican voters are baffled by the absence of political ‘guts’ displayed in Jefferson City. Those who took the time to go door-to-door convincing neighbors to vote Republican are mortified by a legislature (that has a veto proof majority in both the House and the Senate) and still cannot accomplish anything of substance. Most of them believe Republican politicians have not made good use of the huge mandate which has been given to them. Politicians talk about big goals on the campaign trail but become timid within the confines of the State Capitol.

Big ideas which drive the political direction of a legislative body are not on display in Jefferson City. As a result, St. Louis County’s Republican voters are adrift.

Republican rank and file dissatisfaction with a legislature that cannot accomplish anything of substance may allow the Democrats to win a majority in the House or the Senate within two or three election cycles.

If Republican voters are not adrift, why did so many Republican voters who voted for Steve Stenger continue to vote for other Democrats? Asked more directly, why were Republican voters so unsure their County Executive candidate was going to win in November that they had to vote for Stenger to make sure Dooley would be gone.

Democrat candidates running in St. Louis County received a huge increase in their normal vote count. Those numbers most likely came from Republican voters who voted Democrat. Like the alcoholic who takes that first drink, Republican voters who voted Democrat in August might do it again in November.

In the 2014 St. Louis County Executive primary, Republican candidate Rick Stream received 34,765 votes. (Tony Pousosa received 16,433) Four years ago, Republican Bill Corrigan received 66,288 votes, 31,523 votes more than Rick Stream.

In the Democrat primary, Steve Stenger received 84,980 votes (50,215 more votes than Rick Stream). Charlie Dooley received 39,027 votes (4262 more votes than Rick Stream). There were 127,868 Democrat votes cast for County Executive compared to only 51,198 Republican votes cast.

In St. Louis County, Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner received 40,467 Republican primary votes. Democrat challenger Arthur Lieber received 48,742 Democrat primary votes. (Lieber’s totals for St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jefferson counties were 54,369. Wagner’s totals were 54,949, only 588 more votes than the Democrat.)

Compare the numbers above to the vote totals from the 2012 St. Louis County primary election. Then, four Republican primary candidates for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional district received 63,978 votes. Of that total, Mrs. Wagner received 42,573 votes (2106 more votes than she received in 2014). Four 2012 Democrat primary candidates received a total of 22,446. 2014 candidate Lieber received 48,742, which was 26,296 more votes than four 2012 Democrat candidates.

In the recent primary election, soon to be Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, John Diehl Jr. (District 89) received 3445 Republican votes. His Democrat opponent Al Gerber received 2928 Democrat votes (only a 517 vote difference). In 2012, Mr. Diehl ran unopposed by a Democrat and received 5773 Republican votes.

Republican State Representative Andrew Koenig (District 99) received 2198 votes. Perennial candidate William (Bill) Pinkston (Democrat) received 2477 votes, 279 votes more than Representative Koenig. (In November 2012, Mr. Pinkston received 41% of the vote to Mr. Koenig’s 59 %.)

In the Missouri State Senate District 24 race, Democrat Representative Jill Schupp (District 88) received 16,153 votes in her primary race compared to a total of 11,625 votes for three Republicans seeking to replace retiring Republican State Senator John Lamping. Mrs. Schupp received 4528 more votes than all three Republicans.

The St. Louis County primary results are dramatically different this year than 2012 or 2010. Are those results a fluke or the beginning of a trend?

(Lee Presser is the Host and Executive Producer of Conversation with Lee Presser which has appeared on Charter cable in Metro St. Louis since January 2001)