Election Day muddle

We like to think here in the United States that elections decide things.

To the extent that someone wins and someone loses, that’s true, but the elections in the nation’s east today are more likely to muddle things than clear them up.

The residents of upstate New York will have a representative in Congress and New Jersey and Virginia will have governors once the votes are counted.

What that all means in a large political sense, though, is less than clear.

In New York, for instance, voters are choosing between a conservative and a Democrat with the Republican having pulled out and thrown her support to the Democrat.

We’d hope as a general rule that there’s an “only-in-New-York” edge to that contest. One thing, however, is clear. Typically, these battles are fodder only for the kinds of political insiders that shame even the baseball fanatics who can relate in eyelid-dropping detail team batting averages from the 1970s.

In the case of the New York 23rd Congressional District, the real issue is the soul of the GOP there. Not much could be read into a win by a Democrat over split opposition, and it’s likely that some pundits would say the same should the conservative candidate prevail. Much still would remain to be hashed out between the two major parties.

If New Jersey were to be considered a trend-setter, all governors would have significant girths, be rightfully accused of throwing their weight around and have so much money they could finance their own campaigns without having to diet. In short, we don’t know that the election in New Jersey, which has never been known for having a viselike grip on real issues for the rest of the country, has much meaning that can be extrapolated even to tinier Rhode Island.

That leaves Virginia. There, Democrat Creigh Deeds and President Obama have pretended that the other doesn’t exist. Obama finally wrote an open letter of support for Deeds, but Deeds still looks done in the polls against Republican Bob McDonnell.

Even if the conservative and GOP candidates, who are not necessarily one and the same, succeed today, there still will be much in doubt about the electoral mood now just a year away from its first real test. The same stands should the Democrats prevail.


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