Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

A few thoughts

So we’ve electioneered. And some things have happened. Unsolicited thoughts below the jump.

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Election Postmortem

So, how did I do? Pretty well I’d say, although my super-secret strategy was basically to believe Nate Silver. I didn’t get everything right, but pretty much everywhere I was wrong I was too pessimistic: the DFL did take back the MN House, Obama did have a good night and won Florida, he won MN by a bit more than 5-6 points, and both constitutional amendments failed.

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Electoral Prognostications

So here’s where I lay out my predictions for two days hence…

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The Role of the Media

I don’t believe in objective journalism, in that I don’t think it exists. I’ve long ranted against expecting objective journalism, which these days, essentially results in “he said, she said” and “balanced” reporting. One of the biggest gaps to result is the fact that very, very rarely will the media call out people as liars. Over the years, various political campaigns have taken advantage of this fact. This year, it has jumped to a whole new level.

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Our Intelligent Discourse

I was all ready to write a post about how fun, content-free issues like how Obama is “slashing Medicare and using the money to pay for Obamacare!” are taking over this election cycle, while truly important issues are being forgotten. For example, the fact that MF Global is likely going to evade criminal charges for stealing customer money. Which, when you think about it, is truly, truly scary. If I go into a 7-11 and take a hundred bucks from the till, I’m going to jail. If an investment banks steals hundreds of millions of dollars and blames “chaos and porous risk controls”, they get of scot-free! Gee, I wonder what the incentive is in these cases: investing money to get a return is hard, stealing is easy. Decisions, decisions.

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Different Rules

If there is one thing that is evident this election cycle (and, more broadly, throughout the ongoing financial meltdown that has been going on for years now), it’s that the wealthy play by a very different set of rules from the rest of us. Sometimes, the things they do are technically illegal, but end up not being prosecuted or simply brushed under the rug. Some of them are perfectly legal and simply represent the very different set of tools that the wealthy are able to take advantage of. Regardless of legality, though, the increasing chasm between the 1% and the 99% threatens to create permanent economy instability and a complete collapse of public trust in banking and government, neither of which are good for the economy or democracy. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that this election provides a very clear choice between redoubling the creation of a different set of rules for the wealthy, and (maybe) dialing it back a little bit.

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The Fundamental Role of Reality

If you listen to the pundits, the 2012 election represents a referendum on “the fundamental role of government” (see this from one of my more favorite conservative publications, for example; Google the phrase itself and you will get thousands of hits). On one side, we have the Obama administration, which wants more taxes, more spending, more regulation, and more government interference in every aspect of your life. On the other side, we have Republicans who espouse less government, less taxes, less spending, fewer regulations, and a return to the good old days of what made America great. It’s a neat little narrative, all tied up in a bow, that’s easy for people to understand.

Except that’s not quite how would put it. This election is important (every one is, of course), but I wouldn’t say that it represents competing visions of the government’s role in our lives. Instead, this election is about different views of reality. On one side, we have a team that tries to work within the framework of the possible and the realistic, making hard decisions that sometimes make people mad, but have some greater goal in mind. On the other side, we have a team that sells empty platitudes that have little bearing on reality, that simply endeavor to tell voters what they think they want to hear without having a plan to back it up. Truly, we have a difference not based on the fundamental role of government, but the fundamental role of reality.

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The Wisconsin recalls

On first blush, the results of yesterday’s recall elections in Wisconsin would appear to be disheartening for Democrats. They won only two out of the six elections, one short of taking over the state senate. The goal of changing the dynamics in the legislature was not achieved, and so some may feel it was all for naught. However, if you think about it a bit more, the results can only be a victory for those activists who set the recalls in motion earlier this year.

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Local Elections and Turnout, Part 2

In my last post, I took a look at the turnout in House districts that the DFL lost. Today, a coworker asked me about districts that were close, but were won by the DFL candidate. Good question. So I put together the following table of districts where the DFL candidate won. I chose districts not by any particular mathematical criteria, other than they are districts that were either close in 2006 or close in 2010, and are generally your typical swing districts:

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Local Elections and Turnout

Lots of people have shared a lot of analyses on Tuesday’s elections, much of it on a national scale. They try to make guesses about what the elections say about Obama, or the Republican agenda, on certain subgroups of voters, and so on. I don’t have any great insights into any of these things. I am, however, interested in the flip of the Minnesota House to the Republicans. And while I can’t offer a lot of insight into the why, I do have numbers that appear to tell a tale of turnout. If the question is whether the Republicans won their races on Tuesday due to a higher Republican turnout, a great switch of voters from the Democratic column to the Republican column, or Democratic voters not showing up, it appears that the latter issue may be the important one.

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