Wednesday, November 04, 2009
NOV 3, 2009
Here's my take on the results:
Corzine lost because even though he spent a lot of money, it was on terrible ads. Spending more than your opponent only helps if your ads are any good. His attack ads were pretty convincing -- I'm worried about Christie's ethics -- but Christie's ads were very effective: they raised doubt about Corzine's accomplishments and his future plans. The trouble with Corzine's ads was that he did not address the question of what he accomplished during his term, and what he would do for NJ in another term. (He sort of did, though with little energy, at the end, but it was too little, too late.) He was almost invisible from the news. He seemed somehow tired and ready to leave office. He didn't seem to care about what he had done and what he would do. There was no energy in his campaign.
Bloomberg's narrow win was a surprise, considering how much he spent, on really excellent ads. Voters seem to be tired of incumbents, and perhaps were offended by his run for a third term. If there is one thing term limits should do, it is to prevent an incumbent from changing the rules. (If the person in office can change the rules on running again, then there are no rules against running again; term limits that can be removed in favor of an incumbent are a joke, an insult to previous office holders, and not, obviously, term limits at all.) Bloomberg supported term limits in the past. Voters do not like hypocrisy -- in this case Bloomberg now supporting the end of term limits when it applies to him.
The victory of the Democrat in the 23rd (NY) -- the first time, by the way, a Democrat has held that seat since the 1890s! -- indicates the problems moderate Republicans have in their own party. The Conservative was able to bump the moderate off the race in the secondary. (He did not win the primary, so if he was able to bump the other candidate after the primary, we should call it a victory in the secondary.) Democrats, moderate Republicans, and others should remember that the Conservative strategy has been for many years that it is more important to strengthen the Conservative base for a future win, than to allow moderate Republicans to win an election and strengthen their base.
The old aphorisms are: All politics is local. And, "It's the economy, stupid."
Here are some newer aphorisms.
- Some politics is local.
- It's the economy, stupid.
- Most politics is economic.
- Incumbents need a strong economy.
- Republicans spend and borrow; they spend mostly on behalf of the rich.
- Democrats try to serve the entire population; they sometimes have to tax to pay for what Republicans borrowed.
- Conservatives can be more interested in capturing the Republican party than whether a Democrat wins a particular election.
- The presentation of high energy and the ability to inspire confidence is a great campaign strategy.
- Moral issues make great sound bites, but gather few votes.
- Moral issues generate votes even on off years; not that many votes, but "moral voters" vote consistently and dependably in most elections.
- The possible exception, and most important moral issue, however, is anti-hypocrisy; voters will flee from incumbents viewed as hypocritical.
- Defense issues are unimportant in local races, important in national races, but it's the economy, stupid.