Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Election Day

Ezra Klein has an extremely interesting post on the Lincoln/Halter runoff and other Senate primaries today; I hope to comment on it later in the day, but for now I do recommend it to everyone. 

To start with, however, I think I disagree with his introductory comment that three Senators knocked off in a primary may be unusual, but it sure isn't very many for an unusually high number.  Hmmm...that's three out of around 33, 34, or maybe 35, so lets call it 9%.  Moreover, in this cycle in particular a whole bunch of Senators have retired, so we're talking now about (if I've counted correctly) only 26 Senators running for re-election.  Two have lost.  The third is in deep trouble today.  Two more -- Bennet in Colorado and McCain in Arizona -- face serious challenges.  So if Lincoln does lose today, we're already over 10%, and it could go as high as 23%.  Is that a lot?  It seems like a lot to me...I suspect that it will seem like a lot to Senators in the future who have to choose whether to antagonize their own party activists or swing voters.

At any rate, there are lots and lots of other things going on today.  TPM, as usual, has a great rundown.  The invaluable Taegan Goddard has poll closing times (you young'ns out there may not realize that as recently as ten, maybe even five, years ago, it was a real scramble to find poll closing times, even on general election night.  Political Wire rulz).  I'm especially interested in any surprises from the little-covered House primaries: we could have a third House incumbent defeated in SC-4, and whether the Republicans can manage to nominate their strongest candidate in VA-5.

Beyond that, I'm just going to repost (w/a little editing) my standard Election Day message, "Feeling Patriotic." 

You know, most of my academic work and interests are all about how small a portion of democracy is occupied by today -- I think democracy is found in the complex workings of elites within party networks, and in Congressional committee rooms, and in interactions within issue networks, and in White House showdowns between the president and a reluctant Senator...all those things, to me, at an intellectual level, are democracy just as much as today's events. But nothing beats the rituals of Election Day. Hey, I even like the annoying and useless "What Does It All Mean" stories, as long as I can restrict my intake enough. I love watching the spin.  I love the weather stories, and the cheesy shots of the candidates voting, and the oh-so-careful anchors not revealing what they all know from the exit polls (are they running exit polls today?  Don't know). I'm one of those people who could easily do without the National Anthem, and the Pledge doesn't do much for me -- and I really dislike the Selig-imposed 7th inning GBA. But then today comes around, and I know that I'm a very patriotic citizen of the USA.

So, Happy Election Day, everyone in the eleven states with primaries today! Vote early, vote often!

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