Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Reading the Elections

As emulators of the world's oldest profession, paid political pundits -- and amateurs naive enough to follow them -- will spend this election night saying things that they don't really mean. If Republicans win the governorships in both Virginia and New Jersey, GOP spokesmen will declare that the electorate is passing judgment on all things Obama. On the other hand, Democrats will proclaim these to be local races with no bearing on national politics.

With very few exceptions, this cast of characters would read their lines in the opposite way were the parties to be reversed.

Here is the best way of understanding the elections. In every gubernatorial election since 1974, Virginia has gone for the party opposite of the holder of the White House. This year will evidently not stop that trend. As to New Jersey, a Republican win will send a chill up the backs of centrist Democrats. Whether it means anything in next year's elections will partly depend on the economy. It will also depend on whether the Democrats continue down a path that centrist voters fear is fiscally irresponsible.

Feel free to turn off the news casts and enjoy your evening.


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