Throwing Cold Water on Premature thoughts of an Obama Landslide
Okay, I am noticing some actually giddy glee creeping in. But I am still worried. I have two concerns.
One: Voter Suppression
I see voter registration stories such as Avahome's Nevada ACORN Raid info and Jamess Voter Register commentary, today's New York Times story AnnieK cited about HAVA not exactly Helping America Vote. On Jezebel, there's an interesting round up of stories on caging, suppression and voter obstruction that is going on at this very moment. Even over on MyLeftNutmeg, Aldon Hynes notes on the 7000 out 9000 voter registration cards that got tossed in Bridgeport, CT last week.
So we have to be watchful. Was it not Jefferson or Adams who said, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance"?
Two: On Race and Polling
Will they really vote Democratic?On a new front, there's the issue of what voters will really do once they've "drawn" the curtain on the voting booth. George Packer's October 13thThe Hardest Vote article from the The New Yorker does what so many big city newspapers don't do these days, it takes an 'on the scene' look at the lives of folks living in hard times America to see what they think:
Roger Catt, a retired farmer and warehouse worker, who lives in a small town near Eau Claire, Wisconsin, characterized the choice this way: “McCain is more of the same, and Obama is the end of life as we know it.”
And what about the soft racism of "not like us"? Packer explains the discrepancies between polls and actual numbers of votes cast:
This statistical glitch is different from the Bradley Effect, named for the black mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, who lost the California governorship in 1982 despite polls that had showed him in the lead, apparently because a small percentage of respondents would rather lie to a pollster than admit to opposing a candidate on the ground of his race. Still, the Bradley Effect and the Kohut Lacuna produce the same conclusion: a black candidate is likely to fare worse than preëlection polls would suggest.
Still, the article was written before this last week of horrendous economic news, and maybe, maybe, maybe the fruit of the Republican Economic Policies -- that sour, dried, hard fruit -- is finally tasting bitter in our mouths:
When will the class war ever finally drown out the culture war, if not in 2008? Under Republican rule in Washington, wages have stayed flat while income inequality has increased; the numbers of uninsured have soared; unemployment recently passed six per cent, its highest level since the early nineteen-nineties; gas and heating-oil prices have doubled, while basic food prices have gone up by fifty per cent; and the country’s financial system has come closer to collapse than at any moment since 1929. More profoundly, Republican dogma no longer offers convincing solutions, and in some cases it doesn’t even acknowledge the problems. (Income inequality has long been considered a nonissue in conservative free-market circles.) The question that Ronald Reagan asked voters to such devastating effect in 1980, when the white working class began turning away from Democrats—“Are you better off than you were four years ago?”—should, in theory, produce an equal and opposite effect this year.
So what do you guys think? Am I a perpetual worry wart, or is there cause for restraint of premature joyful celebration?
I guess I just feel there is much work to do.