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Election “Postgame”


Kind of. I felt like I was watching the “postgame show” after an American football game. After completely attacking each other, trying to get away with fouls, and doing everything possible to win, the two sides were (suddenly) gracious. (Note: I know of one particular exception.)

Candidate 1: “I just went out there, did my, best, and things fell into place. I can’t take all the credit.”
Candidate 2: “It was good game, but the team that played better won. Every day is different.”
Candidate 1: “I have to hand it to my opponent – fought tough, hung in there. On another day, it could have been him.”
Candidate 2: “Gotta give my opponent credit – went out there, and got the job done. Congratulations.”

And the media eats it up. I wish the BBC were the main resource for election-night coverage here in the US. I would love to hear a reporter talking to a candidate who just lost, in the middle-class London accent, “Don’t you think it was your position in support of the the US continuing in Iraq, despite all the evidence demonstrating the harm the US is doing, which drove voters away?” or “Do you think it’s fair that you won an election simply because you associated your liberal-minded opponent with President Bush’s war, even though you know full well that he opposed it?” In the run-up to the election, I would liked to have seen fewer poll numbers predicting who will win the race, and more juicy content on what people thought and would do. But, as usual, it was all horserace (which is fine, to a point).

Oh… I should note the Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, Deval Patrick, promised and delivered exactly zero negative ads. Meanwhile, his opponent, Kerry Healy, went on the attack heavily. Polls showed her numbers slipping in the final weeks of the campaign, and my sources in the state tell me that the negative ads were working against her. With a couple weeks to go, she stopped running negative ads altogether. Her numbers stopped falling, but the message was very resounding: Massachusetts residents were done with the Republicans in the big office, and Healy failed to present a hopeful image.

Finally… What does the American election actually mean? There are approximately three possibilities, generally speaking, which not mutually-exclusive.

1) Punishment – Americans are punishing the Republicans for their recent performance as the stewards of the nation. The Iraq War and scandal after scandal have left Americans without faith in the party that says it has the most faith. If the Republicans repent, all will be well (eventually).

2) Republicans Lost – They failed to effectively get the fear message out. Democrats succeeded in demonstrating how Republicans failed.

3) Democrats Won – They succeeded in showing that they are the party of hope, and Republicans are the party of fear.

Predictions: The remaining Virginia Senate seat goes to the Webb (Democrat). Republicans will make every effort to assure that the new Congress does very little. Bush will make more use of the veto (used ONCE in six years). Republicans will accelerate the campaign of fear. Americans will tire of fear-mongering. A moderate (Chafee (R) or Webb (D) type) takes the White House in 2008.

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Filed under: Culture, Philosophy, Politics

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Idealink by vijtable is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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