Wednesday, November 07, 2012

YESTERDAY'S ELECTIONS--UNDERSCORING THE OBVIOUS

It seems to me there were two lessons from the national election yesterday.  They are both pretty obvious but It never hurts to summarize the obvious.  Here Goes:

DON'T BE TOO MUCH OF ANY ONE THING

Maybe to say the same thing another way, don't be a one trick pony.  If you were all social issues, all of the time, you lost.  If you were all fiscal issues all of the time, you lost.  If  you were all negativity all of the time, you lost.  Whatever else McCaskill, Donnelly and Murphy were, they were folks who could speak relatively deftly on a broad range of issues.  The Congressmen who were obstructionists in the last two years were hanged by their own rope.  They were too much "Dr. No".  The electorate was reaching out for balance.  Locally, Frese was too stern and too partisan, to the exclusion of having a vision beyond the obvious piggy bank.  Donahue was too generalist and legislative, never really bothering to address the TASKS in the office.

THE OFF YEAR ELECTORATE AND THE LEAP YEAR ELECTORATE ARE DIFFERENT ANIMALS

Just looking at Adams County, five to seven thousand extra people come out when the presidency is on the ballot.  Who are these people?  Well, obviously, they are folks not interested enough to vote in off year elections.  They are not political insiders or news junkies.  They are folks whose lives include a vague understanding of politics and government and who have some stake in their own governance.  Still, they are more interested in their kids' schools, family activities, jobs, churches, hobbies and sundry other activities.  Given that they are not true believers, they tend to have moderate center or center-right belief systems.  In our case, they may be the people who did NOT remember that L. Donahue used to be a big shot or that her parents were really nice folks.  These are probably people who couldn't pull Bud Niekamp out of a photo lineup.  In short, these are people who are unlikely to be captivated by small guerilla groups like the TEA parties.  They are, in short, persuadables.  This is one reason why the 2010 approach was unsuccessful in 2012.

Of course, there's a correlative lesson here as well, for both parties:  Always conduct this year's election.  Don't replay last year's.

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