Like many Americans, I’ll be glad when the election is over.
Unlike many Americans reading this, I live in Ohio, the swingingest of all swing states. Yes, I live in that region known as the perennial bellwether, the Mother of Presidents, the state that often decides who makes it into the White House.
Oh, and Ground Zero for television advertisements, mailers and campaign rallies.
In a former life, I was a political junkie. I loved campaign season – reading endless articles, analyzing every poll, and generally working myself into a lather over the policies, politics, campaigns and candidates at issue.
As I’ve aged and matured, however, I find that my interest in politics, and my tolerance for the political class and establishment, has waned. Not gone away, mind you – my wife is one of those wonderful people who is well-informed and knows exactly who she’s voting for… and accordingly has no need to read the Drudge Report, watch FoxNews, or care who the Des Moines Register endorsed for President.
I can honestly say I’ve excised at least one of those three things from my life over the past four years.
In truth, I had largely gotten myself out of watching the 24-hour news channels, reading the blogs and trawling the political websites… The longer Election 2012 has dragged on, however, the more I find I’ve been sucked – or suckered, perhaps – back in.
Perhaps it’s the barrage of ads on my TV and in my mailbox… Perhaps it’s the preponderance of politically-themed messages my friends post on Facebook… Perhaps on some level I’m still convinced of the importance of being an informed voter to the overall well being of our Republic…
Perhaps on some level I’m still something of a political junkie.
Regardless, I know one thing: this time next week, it will all be over. Oh, wait… that may not exactly be true. Given that Ohio is the linchpin to the whole shooting match, and given that provisional ballots in Ohio won’t be counted for several days after the election (not to mention absentee ballots that could be hung up somewhere in the postal-electoral space-time continuum), and given that the separation between the candidates in Ohio is razor-thin… we may not actually be done with all of this by Tuesday night.
In fact, some are concerned about a repeat of Florida in 2000, when the nation waited breathlessly while each hanging, dimpled or pregnant chad was scrutinized to determine who earned the Sunshine State’s electoral votes.
Dear Lord, I hope that doesn’t happen here… the powder keg that is the modern electorate may not be able to handle such a controversy. Consider, however, that even if we do know who wins, we may have a repeat of the 2000 political paradox in which then-Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote, but former Texas Governor George W. Bush won the Electoral College…
Yes, that could happen again, particularly if President Obama seals off a Republican victory by winning my home state.
I should note that it is indeed possible for Governor Mitt Romney to win the White House without winning Ohio… it just isn’t terribly likely. While conservative thought-leaders like Newt Gingrich and Dick Morris predict a near-electoral landslide for Romney (read my recent analysis for more on that), I for one think the race will be razor-thin in Ohio, and neck and neck in the Electoral College (for more on that, read my recent analysis here).
Despite the results next Tuesday, I know three things:
- Our political system stinks, and it is infinitely better than any other system of government on the planet, now or at any time in history.
- Most people don’t care about politicians and their agendas, they just want to be left alone to earn a living, raise a family, and watch football on the weekend (or something more or less close to that).
- All of us, despite our political stripes, need to be concerned about the fiscal health and wellbeing of this country, and our current debt and deficits are not a good thing. Fixing them is going to hurt, and we’re all going to have to take a share of the pain.
Until next Tuesday, remember the advice of a wise Democrat: vote early, and vote often. Well, within legal bounds, that is.