My Last and Only Observations About The Elections Last Night

I almost never comment on horserace politics, so I had just three thoughts this morning:

  1. Who are these 20% or so of the voters who slew back and forth in as little as a few months between the two parties?  What goes on in their head -- "The Republicans are threatening my freedoms, I better vote Democrat.  Oh no, the Democrats are now threatening my freedoms, I better vote Republican."  At what point do folks wake up and say "both these parties threaten my freedoms whenever they are in power - I wonder if there is an alternative?"
  2. The spin put on the election by everyone is both predictable and hilarious.  We will soon see what lessons the Democrats really took from the election by what legislation they bring to a vote this year and what they delay.
  3. One thing I am surprised Republicans did not mention today --  A Republican was more succesful in getting a Democrat elected with her endorsement (NY23) than was Democrat Obama with his support and endorsement of the Democratic candidate in New Jersey.  Though of course Corzine was a sleazebag, so its unclear if there are any real national messages in that election.
  • "Undecided voters are the biggest idiots on the planet."
    —Brian from "Family Guy"

  • Methinks

    Coyote,

    I have a lot of respect for you, but I find your comments extremely naive about this horserace thing.

    The only "other alternative" is to leave the country or to have a full-blown revolution and start over.

    The two parties have entrenched themselves by writing into law barriers to entry for any competing political party. Refusing to face that reality does not make it go away. When libertarian republicans vote for the "other alternative" (the third candidate), they merely vote Democrat.

    It seems the more prudent way to vote is to try to vote for a result that would split the power between the two parties. When one party has too much control, it's disastrous for our liberty because that party gains the unchecked power to hand out favours to its supporters - favours we pay for in how many different ways.

    as for point #3, that "Republican" in Upstate was a "Republican" in name only. A Democrat in all but name. I understand that the Union bosses cracked the whip and mobilized their herds at the last minute. Until then, Hoffman, the "conservative" and the guy whose politics was most closely aligned with libertarian Republicans, was heavily favoured to win. The union bosses weren't all that worried when the "Republican" was Scuzzifuzzy because she was really a Democrat and the Republicans didn't mobilize the masses much because Hoffman was so heavily favoured in a conservative district.

    Sure, Corzine was a sleazebag, but I challenge you to find ONE New Jersey politician who isn't a degenerate bottom feeder. Being a sleazebag doesn't lose you votes in New Jersey. It's the surest way to gain them. The fact that the Bama and the power of Government Sachs couldn't re-elect Corzine despite a third candidate sucking off votes from the Republican candidate and a state that went to Obama during the presidential election went whole hog for a Republican this time sort of implies what we already knew - the Bama is more popular than his ideas and his popularity is waning as his ideas are taking center stage.

    Who cares what the Democrat party learned from this? They're politicians. If they were capable of learning, they would do something productive instead of going into politics. I'm hoping they keep pushing the same fascist and socialist crap they always have so that their power is further diluted next year. Hope and change, baby. Suck it up.

  • Link

    Politics in the USA was often about building surprising coalitions to capture a majority. The Irish couldn't win City Hall until they got the Italian vote, etc, etc. But in the last 20 years or so the two parties have gotten more extreme and lost the middle. Sensible compromise "in the middle" isn't always the best answer, but it often is. Divided federal government means little gets done in Washington, which is almost always the best answer.

    One subtle but significant cause of the recent change is the gerrymandering of House districts. Gerrymandering has gone on for a long time but the degree and sophistication has gotten extreme. It's no accident that Karl Rove started out as a direct marketer. Ironically, increased gerrymandering was blessed by many as a way to create black voting districts. Republicans went along with it as it actually weakened Democratic voting power. Over time, incumbents learned it was better to represent their party rather than their constituents. So long as they did, they were rewarded with a district kept safe. The result is voting districts that look like Rorschach tests. Our elected pick us; we don't pick them.

    We now have an isolated political class centered in DC, enabled by MSM. They live in a bubble. A lot of this is driven by money. DC is full of subtle graft. Son of Scranton Joe Biden's son is a lobbyist. Barney Frank had a Fannie Mae boy toy. It goes on and on.

    Our two parties are built on being divisive -- but to me they're really a two-headed beast based in DC. We're a politic artificially divided into three parts, because of it. This affects MSM coverage -- there's a lot more than 1/3 of America that doesn't want to listen to either Keith Olbermann or Glen Beck.

    Ironically, things have changed in the last few years. Elections are getting decided by our independent voters. For example, Obama won by being the "anti-Bush" not because America really endorsed his policies. You can make sense of everything that happened yesterday from this perspective. McDonnell and Christie ran non-ideological campaigns, dominated among independent voters, and won because of it. Neither wanted to be photographed next to Sarah Palin. Both parties -- and their MSM enablers -- are having difficulty acknowledging this.

    Right now, the trick to winning the independent vote is to be the "anti-___." Obama won by being the "anti-Bush." In 2010, Republicans running for House seats will want to be the "anti- Nancy, Barney, Charlie." This isn't an answer to the hard budget choices we'll need to make, but it's a start.

  • Allen

    My two-bits is that for 1/4 of the voters, it's not about issues but the gutt feeling they get from the candidate. That could be from the politicians $400 haircuts or it could come from a few bullet point level issues but nothing really all that in depth.

  • I don't know if this holds true for actually casting votes. But many people sign petitions, support causes - and join parties - because of who they know, that asked.

    Many times simply asking will garner members and signatures, because at times people will think, "Oh, I can't disappoint this person. He/she is pretty nice, but anyway I don't want to be a bad friend or neighbor. So I will go along with him/her."

    Seriously. Like I say, I don't know that this applies to votes as well, but it does account for many meaningless numbers. The pastors with dollars in hand for Christie Whitman's campaign comes to mind (they thought they were just skipping the silly advertising budget and going direct). I have seen this for local initiatives. Unless someone already has a passionately held position, the biggest influence, for many people, will be who is asking.

    If you think that this means many voters have never thought issues through, and found a position meaningful to them, if they don't look closely at a candidate's background, ethics, connections, and platform - bingo. That is exactly what happens with many voters. They vote in step with family, community, church, or with friends all too often, without independently deciding for themselves.

  • TomB

    Someone on NPR or CSPAN said that voter turnout in VA was down something like 25% from the last election. So Republicans turned out their base while many Dems stayed home. Some voters probably switched sides, but a good portion of the swing was due to better turn out by the respective parties' bases.

    Also, I agree with Allen.

  • Bearster

    I don't think these people are thinking about who will protect their freedom. I think it's more like:
    - cool, the coke party is offering me a lollipop tomorrow morning
    - ooh, the pepsi party is offering donuts right now, I'm going pepsi today baby!