Letter to the Editor

The historical component to President Trump's visit

Monday, November 5, 2018

Plenty of excitement vibrates through town as Cape Girardeau welcomes our first presidential visit since President Bill Clinton in August 1996, which followed eight years after President Ronald Reagan arrived in September 1988. Mr. Clinton chose an outdoor rally in Capaha Park, while President Donald J. Trump will fill the Show Me Center, the packed-to-the-rafters scene of the Reagan visit 31 years ago. Interestingly, the '96 Clinton victory is the last time a Democratic national ticket has carried this state.

Mr. Trump arrives in a state (19-point Missouri win margin) and 8th Congressional District (Grand Canyon-wide, 54-point margin) that gave him overwhelming mandates in 2016. These are chasms that dwarf those of previous landslide winners FDR and Reagan. We have come a long, long way from the days when a solidly Democratic Southeast Missouri was the graveyard of Republican electoral hopes, and the only election that mattered was the August Democratic primary.

Agree or disagree, love him or hate him, something in President Trump's pitch to Americans has struck home with Missourians and, especially, those residing in these parts. The President's appeal will be underscored by last Friday's stunningly good economic news.

Two hundred and fifty-thousand new jobs created last quarter, despite the two large hurricanes. Unemployment at a 50-year low of 3.7 percent. Wages and compensation rising at a brisk 3.1 percent, highest since 2009, as a hot job market bids them up. Hispanic unemployment at an all-time low. Several million more available jobs today than folks in the work force to fill them. Help-wanted signs abounding here, and nearly everywhere.

The President's choice of Cape to end a nationwide campaign of dozens of rallies across America speaks to the importance he and national Republicans attach to Missouri's Senate race. Without question, his visit will give a significant boost to Attorney General Josh Hawley's campaign against Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Welcome to Cape Girardeau, Mr. President!

Peter Kinder, of Cape Girardeau, is the former lieutenant governor of the state of Missouri.