Ferguson Upheaval Is Likely to Be Felt at the Ballot Box in 2016

Carl Hulse November 26, 2014 NYT FD


Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 7.53.00 AMGood Wednesday morning from Washington, where speculation about Chuck Hagel’s replacement as defense secretary is the new favorite cocktail-hour game, two conservatives are squaring off to lead the Senate Budget Committee andSenator Charles E. Schumer made a surprising confession about the Affordable Care Act. We also look at the potential political costs of the civil unrest that has spread from Ferguson, Mo., to both coasts. Plus, favorite political recipes for Thanksgiving Day.

With the National Guard still out in force in Ferguson, Mo., and protesters in the streets nationwide, political figures and analysts say the police shooting of Michael Brown, the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed him, and the ensuing violence will have significant political repercussions both at the national level and in Missouri.

“I think it is something that is going to be part of the conversation going into 2016,” said Peverill Squire, a political science professor at the University of Missouri. “Questions are going to continue to linger, and I don’t think candidates in either party will be able to escape questions about it.”

In calling for calm, lawmakers have urged frustrated members of the public to take out their anger at the ballot box rather than through violence. Members of theCongressional Black Caucus plan a series of special floor speeches about Mr. Brown’s killing when they return to Washington on Monday.

In a Time magazine essay, Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, said, “I mostly blame politicians” for the crisis in Ferguson. “Something is wrong with criminal justice in America,” he said.

Before Ferguson erupted in violence, Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri was seen as a centrist Democrat with a possible national future, but his heavily criticized response to events there has ended any such speculation. At the same time, Claire McCaskill’s high-profile role in urging a less militarized police presence will only add to a growing sense that the Democratic senator intends to run for governor of Missouri in two years.