osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

My Election Prediction For Tomorrow: Lots Stupid, Simplistic Analysis Mostly Wrong.

Well, here it is, another exciting election day. Off year elections are usually pretty bland, except that our so-called political reporters can no longer do anything but cover elections and "horse races." Every story is about process and whose ahead because this takes no actual research, values all sorts of insider baseball things known only to the regular punditry, and fills lots of time on 24-hour news networks very cheaply.

The handful of actual elections tomorrow generally have to do with local factors and candidates. The most significant nationally is NY's District 23 election. Bluntly, if the Ds could not take this in 2008, it is profoundly unlikely they could ever take this district -- particularly in an off year. 2008 was a high-water mark in which a strong anti-incumbent sentiment and a huge get out the vote mobilization effort produced a dramatic D turn out at a time when Rs were demoralized.

Yes, the result in NY-23 will have some broader significance, but it is much more a test of whether conservatives still have moderate Republicans to alienate in their few remaining Northeast strongholds. It may indicate that conservative candidates acceptable to the base can win in some of the swing districts as the tide of enthusiasm ebbs from its 2008 highs. Contrary-wise, a D win in the Northeast is not terribly significant for remaining R strongholds. But expect much broader national implications to get read into the result.

VA and NJ have governors races which are likely to turn on local discontents. In VA, the Democrat Deeds turned out to be a lackluster candidate who basically won because he was competing in the primaries against Terry McCauliff who embodies every quality that drove the Democrats to such vaunted heights in 2002 and 2004 when he chaired the Democratic party. In NJ, voters are absolutely disgusted with the corruption of the D machine and still unable to do anything about it. these races will be portrayed as somehow referenda on Obama, despite the fact that Obama has been absent in VA and Christie (the R candidate in NJ) has generally said positive things about Obama.

The real action is, of course, in Maine on Question 1. That this is such a squeaker is dreadfully disappointing. Here, pro-same sex marriage forces did everything right. They took the challenges seriously and campaigned thoroughly. The anti-same sex marriage ads, by contrast, have been fairly incoherent and appeal only to the irrational "ick" factor of those contemplating something that breaks with what they think is "normal." Losing this would be heartbreaking and would underscore the serious challenge that remains in turning around ingrained attitudes. That and, as Bujold observed in Brothers in Arms: "Some attitudes can only be outlived."

Washington, of course, is another place to watch, but the stakes seem much higher in Maine, where we are actually talking about marriage.

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