Possum Trot, Missouri

Just to give folks not from around here an idea of how conservative the area of Southwest Missouri is, I want to note an article in Friday’s Joplin Globe about the race for the 158th District Missouri House seat, a seat that would represent the good folks of Barry, Lawrence, and Stone counties, just east and southeast of Joplin.

Respectively, the biggest towns in each county are Monett (pop. 8,873), Aurora (pop. 7,014), and Kimberling City (pop. 2,253). The lucky guy or gal who will represent this august area will also represent places like Coney Island (pop. 94) and, I kid you not, Possum Trot, which Wikipedia defines as “a former town” and, sadly, relates:

Only the remains of a church and a house are left.

What dreams died in Possum Trot, we will never know.

In any case, my point here is to show just how little choice folks around here—almost all of them white—not only have, but how little they actually want, in terms of politics. It goes from awful to God-awful, since very few Democrats even bother to put up an electoral fight.

In the 158th District, the Globe reports a battle between a Republican and a Constitution Party candidate. Here is a sample of their respective positions:

REPUBLICAN: “During a time when the federal government is in such a state of dysfunction, as it is now, the role of the state Legislature becomes ever more important. The most important job of a state legislator in the current environment is to protect the state and its people from the ways of a reckless federal government.

“We have to get government out of the way, not just at the federal level but at the state level as well, so that businesses can grow. It is as simple as that.”

CONSTITUTION PARTY: …she would “promote constitutional legislation that will move us in the direction of state sovereignty. I will examine bills that seem to solve problems but in the end restrict our liberties and cast my vote accordingly, even if it goes against what seems to be popular at the time. Reform our welfare program to include lifetime collection limits and a cap on per-child benefits.

“Lowering tax rates for all is the key … (along with) inching our way towards state sovereignty and saying ‘no thank you’ to federal government funds that have strings attached in the form of regulations.”

There you have it. Your choice in these counties is between a Romney-like candidate who wants to turn the government over to business interests, or a Ryan-like candidate who wants to put lifetime limits on welfare, including capping benefits for kids.

And that’s the way most folks around here like it, even if all there is left in Possum Trot is a rundown church and house.



  1. Jane Reaction

     /  October 26, 2012

    Randy: I am one of those few brave Democrats who was willing to put up an electoral fight, mine is for the western associate commissioner of Lawrence County. There had not been a contested race in some forty years.

    With less than 15% of voters Democrats, I am not spending good money on an advertising campaign. It is certainly an underwhelming experience. There is no support from anyone connected with the Democratic Party unless you count the opportunity to purchase a mailing list.

    I might try it again. I made the opportunity to learn some new things, air my views on some issues, and meet new people, all for a $50 dollar filing fee.

    Gerald Malan


  2. The “independence from government” meme is firmly imbedded in the local psyche for sure. I recall from the recent article by Andra Bryan Steffanoni that this area was the same during the Gilded Age and how the publisher of a progressive newspaper in Girard Kansas was socially snubbed a hundred years ago because of that meme. It is amazingly enduring, never mind that the local inhabitants gladly and quietly accept all government aid they can get. It is ironic, isn’t it, that Joplin Missouri has probably gotten more government aid per citizen in the last year than any other city in the country? I wonder if anyone has compiled such a statistic?


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