Sam Page and the Upcoming Election

Sam Page and the Upcoming Election

Thomas Johnson

As many of you know, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page at the start of the school year banned all sports, except those deemed to have a “low frequency of contact,” to slow the spread of COVID-19. He recently lifted that ban on sports with a “moderate frequency of contact” and even more recently lifted the ban for the remaining sports. Sam Page is up for election this year and his decision begs the question, will it be his demise?

Immediately after the press conference on Sept. 9, many parents and athletes planned and attended in-person protests at Page’s house. These protests may have defeated the purpose of the restrictions as, while pretty much everyone was wearing masks, they were still within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes. Dr. Page claims he changed his decision on the “moderate frequency of contact” sports because the positivity rate on tests for 15-19 year olds went down from 20% to 7%. However, there is a good chance part of his decision was based on the fact that two of the largest school districts in St. Louis, the Parkway and Rockwood districts, threatened to play in neighboring counties where these restrictions were not present. With all of these angry constituents in Page’s county, will he lose enough votes to cost him the election?

As the numerous protests show, many people were upset with Dr. Page. No matter where you lie on the political spectrum, you have to respect him for this. Page’s decision was not to win votes, rather it was for the safeguarding of human lives. Some could make the argument he was just pandering to those who are pro-shutdown to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but that is a far-fetched argument. There are more people who would like to loosen restrictions than tighten them, so this decision lost more votes than it would have gained. Many politicians make their decisions to pander to their base voters, not to help the whole constituency. Dr. Page, in this instance, looked like he made his decision to try to help his entire constituency rather simply doing the most popular thing in an effort to win as many votes as possible.

However, even after this decision, there is little chance Dr. Page will lose, especially after he repealed all sports restrictions. Page’s opponent, Paul Berry III, is on the Republican ticket. Berry, the nephew of famous St. Louisan Chuck Berry, is facing an opponent that has a strong base of Democrats. St. Louis city itself, as most major American cities, has been blue for a long time. However, the suburbs of St. Louis County, forever red, have been slowly, but surely, turning blue. This change has been exacerbated by a strong dislike of President Trump. Many lifelong Republicans are voting “straight Democrat” this year because of President Trump’s actions and words. So even though Dr. Page probably lost some votes, many people who are against his decision would not have voted for him anyway. After removing the sports restrictions, he most likely gained back some votes, although not as much as he lost. Even then, I predict he will still win this election easily.

While this is not related to the St. Louis County Executive election, this is still a plea to all voters reading this. As a canvasser for a State Senator, I have a professional responsibility to tell you to vote for this candidate and those allied with him. However, I have a personal obligation to tell you to vote for the candidate who will do the best for this state and this country. Please do not vote “straight Democrat” or “straight Republican,” look at each election, and do not even look at their party name. Look at their beliefs and policies and vote for the candidate which aligns best with your beliefs, not your party’s beliefs. While this might lead to you voting a straight ticket, so be it, but make sure you spend time making sure your ballot best represents your values.