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An election day held on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 and will be off-year elections in which the only elections to the United States Congress will be special elections.

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Voting is Important, But Stop Pretending This is Some Kind of Prophecy.

  • Nov 10, 2009
  • by
Even though it's been a week since these elections... I'm still hearing about them.  So I thought this would be a great time to do some more political ramblings, if only because it gives me a chance to say a little bit of something.  Concerning the voting in New York, New Jersey etc. etc.  I'll be upfront in admitting I didn't watch every race closely.  I live in Colorado.  And in spite of what everyone says, these races aren't huge National News.  The election in New York's 23rd District, for example, hardly means anything to me.  Again, I live in Colorado and as such, I'm not sure why I should care so strongly about who represents New York's 23rd District. 

So rather than review the elections themselves, I'm actually going to view the response.  Take note, however, that before diving into this review, you should probably read my review of Two-Sided Politics.  If you don't you're probably not going to understand much of what I say here (or you're going to take quite a bit of it out of context and turn this into some sort of political contest and debate... it isn't).  If you ARE going to comment then reading that Two-Sided Politics review is mandatory.  Period.  

Anyway, I'm writing up this little thing because I was watching the news the other day.  I watch a lot of news and spend quite a big portion of my day looking up facts and fact checking the pundits and all that fun, happy stuff.  Well, as I was watching the news last week and hearing the pundits and their analysts talk about these elections it once again occured to me that something which should've just been able to die down quietly became a huge monstrosity.  The difference, however, is that now we're looking at something that was really not that big for National News.  By that I mean the races over on the east coast don't really make a difference to how my life is being lived in Colorado.

"It's a preview to the 2010 and ultimately 2012 elections, Sean!"  That's what some of you reading this now are saying and I'm here to tell you that... no, it doesn't.  These elections were important... to the people that it affected.  If that was you, I hope you went out and voted.  But beyond just going out and voting... I hope you did your research before doing so and that you were well informed.  And by that I mean you turned off Fox News... MSNBC... CNN and started doing your OWN digging.  If you didn't do your own digging and research... sorry to say but you just wasted your time.  Beg your pardon, but you did.

Problem is I just keep feeling like this was really turned into something it particularly shouldn't have been into.  You have people rating this datapoint based on whether or not their particular "team" had a good turn out.  You have a +4 from someone just because the Democrats got the "smack down" put on them (whatever THAT means, like I said the elections of 2009 mean we can predict the outcome of 2010 and 2012 about as well as a baby can predict the weather).  What seems to be completely misunderstood by voters who go out there and vote and those who love to partake in political discussion is that the party that wins the day is not really that important as it is that Democracy took place.  Rating a datapoint a particular way just because your candidate came out on top or didn't is just dumb.  What's important is that Democracy took place and the voters chose.  That's hard to swallow if voters didn't choose your guy, but unfortunately for you... you live in a Democracy... and majority rules.  

But let's stop pretending that we all run this show (we don't) and let's stop pretending that the 2009 elections created a huge National Impact like the likes we've never seen.  The media seems to have really done this.  Especially with New York's District 23.  I get it.  It's the first time a Democrat has won the District in a long time.  That's fascinating and it's amusing, but it's not worth talking about for weeks on end.  Don't think this negates those who keep talking about how because the Conservative person (because the Republican dropped out because she was too, uh, moderate) took home a lot of votes it means something.  It really doesn't.  If you are seriously using New York's 23rd District as a metaphor and a crystal ball for how the nation feels about the President and those running the House and Senate I urge you to seek medical assisstance immediately.  In the first place the majority of voters said how they felt about the President had nothing to do with their vote.  In the second place New York's 23rd District doesn't hve 300 million people.  Okay, point taken on that, right?  

What I want people to consider is that you live in a Democracy... it took place and regardless of who the winner was, you should be glad that it took place.  You're worried about your candidate losing (if he or she lost) and I feel for you.  Well, that's the thing that sucks about Democracy.  The horse you're pulling for doesn't always win.  There are always people who are disappointed by the results of an election.  Always.  There's always someone who doesn't care. 

All I'm saying is rather than dwelling so much on politics... perhaps I could ask people to be a good sport about an election for once?  I know I'm asking that of the complete wrong country here.  But these elections are hardly National Game Changers.  They tell us nothing about the mid terms or the Presidential Election in 2012 and to pretend that they do would be like trying to tell me you know exactly where I'll be in five years.  You don't.  Stop pretending you do.

I know exactly what some of you are saying now.  You're thinking that this IS a game changer and whatnot and that I'm just being naive and stupid.  I'm not.  In the first place from a National Standpoint these races didn't really change much of anything going on.  Not enough that many people are too concerned.  We can talk about the Governor of New Jersey and Virginia both changing to Republicans, for example, but two changes in Governors hardly says anything about how the rest of the nation will vote in 2012.  Again, I live in Colorado.  I just don't see how Bob McDonnell winning in Virginia is really going to affect who I choose to vote for in Colorado.  And it certainly doesn't mean much of anything as to how I'll vote in 2012. 

This isn't about how the system works or even about who won, as far as I'm concerned.  This about the idea that once again... select people had their chance to vote and exercised that right.  The outcome was good for some and not so good for others.  But to rate a datapoint based on how your "team" did is both dumb and ignorant.  It tells us about your political leanings (which most people really couldn't care less about anyway) and that you can root for a team.  But it tells us NOTHING about what you know.  Absolutely nothing.  You don't vote a certain way because you're either a Republican or Democrat or whatever.  You vote a certain way because you believe in something.  Believing in a particular party is wasteful.  But believing in particular ideas can be divine. 

So the next time you go out and vote.  Consider why you're voting the way you are... and what you know about what it is you're voting on.  I only ask two things of you.

1. Stop looking at it as a sport.  As a sort of Republicans vs. Democrats thing.  This isn't football or basketball.  The end result here has real consequences that can affect your life... or someone else's.  Vote on your own values and principles.  Not based on your own political leanings.  You're allowed to have them, but let's stop pretending that a Republican isn't allowed to vote Democrat and that a Democrat isn't allowed to vote Republican.  Allegiance to Party does no one any good.  That's NOT Democracy.  That's a farm.

2. Stop thinking that this is going to be a prediction into the future.  It's not, and to say it is is being deliberately obtuse.  If you are using it as a prediction for the future and your "prediction" comes true... it has very little to do with this election and much more to do with the fact that... shit happens.

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November 10, 2009
Nice piece Sean. You are correct. After each election one party or the other is usually declared dead by some of the pundits. Too many Americans look at elections as horse races and of course the media plays right into that. All of these polls are attempts to make news and not report it. And iI am not fond of exit polls either. So much can happen by Election Day next November and trying to predict that now is foolhardy.
More United States Elections, 2009 reviews
Quick Tip by . November 04, 2009
Voters in NJ and VA slap down the Democrats. Blue Dog Democrats take note!
Quick Tip by . November 03, 2009
If elections are being held in your neck of the woods today, then go out and VOTE! :)
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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The United States elections of 2009 will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 and will be off-year elections in which the only elections to the United States Congress will be special elections. However, there will be a few gubernatorial races and state legislative elections, and numerous citizen initiatives, mayoral races in several major cities, and several types of local offices on the ballot.

There are five special elections to the United States House of Representatives; three have already taken place, while the other two are scheduled for November 3.

Also, a primary election will be held in late December for the senate seat left open by the death of Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy; the general special election for that seat will take place on January 19, 2010.

The states of New Jersey and Virginia, along with the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, will hold gubernatorial elections in 2009.

Legislative elections will be held in New Jersey, Virginia and the Northern Mariana Islands alongside their respective gubernatorial elections.

Legislative elections will be held in New Jersey, Virginia and the Northern Mariana Islands alongside their respective gubernatorial elections.
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Politics, Elections, Election Days


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