Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Midterm election 2014

It is the day after the 2014 mid term primary elections so I googled up some results to see how the candidates in my area fared, and if there was a national trend at work in races across the country.

In Pennsylvania, four Democrats were on the ballot to take on Governor Corbett in the fall.  As predicted, Tom Wolf won handily.  Wolf's decision to advertise early staked him to an insurmountable lead which none of the other three candidates had the resources to overcome.  Luckily, despite their loss, it appears that all three will put their full weight behind Wolf's attempt to unseat the unpopular Corbett.  If I heard it once, I heard it dozens of times; anyone is better than the current Gov. 

I was, and still am, a bit concerned about Wolf who clearly used his millions of dollars to buy this primary.  But I also had misgivings about his competition, Allyson Schwartz, Rob McCord and Katie McGinty.  McCord's controversial ad accusing Wolf of racism in the far distant past indicated the desperate state of his campaign, and smacked of sensationalism without substance.  As you may remember, I receive weekly emails which detail the votes cast by my reps in Harrisburg and Washington, and was disappointed to see that Schwartz had abstained from many votes in the past few months, my assumption being that she was too busy with this race to represent her constituents.  As for McGinty, she did not seem to have the experience to take on Corbett.

In the end, since it all comes down to removing Corbett, I am happy with Wolf.  Assuming the Dems can get out the vote in November, his business experience should attract some independent voters.  And, while I don't expect many Republicans to defect from the Corbett camp, there may be enough who have been less than satisfied and may just stay at home.  Let's just hope that, where Corbett may have chosen to sacrifice state services rather than seek additional sources of revenue, Wolf will walk a more balanced line by increasing revenue through some specific tax changes aimed at those who can afford it the most, perhaps get a bit more money from the natural gas industry, and find a way to make the business community understand that a strong education system creates more intelligent, motivated future employees and a strong middle class creates more customers with some money to spend on the goods and services.  Where some Dems are portrayed as anti-business, we need Wolf to use his business experience to show that Dems are not anti-business as much as they are anti-greed, and anti-selfishness as those traits apply to businesses that focus on tax loopholes over responsible tax payments, and paying employees a livable wage so less people are dependent on state and federal subsidies to pay for food, shelter and healthcare.

In other elections that directly effected me, the current state representative for my district, is not running for re-election.  While he was a Republican, he did not always tote the party line so there were times when I supported his votes.  He was very visible in the local community and seemed to have maintained his principles over the years.  I found him to be fair and honest, rare traits some might say in today's world of politics.  I will miss your service, Paul Clymer.  Still, I am hoping that the winner of the Democratic primary can muster enough local support to turn the seat to the Dem side, seeing that the PA House and Senate are currently Republican controlled. 

There was no "race" on the GOP side, only one candidate "chosen" by the local party.  This was also true of the Dem race to unseat the current state senator in my district.  And I am sure there were many of these uncontested primary races for state house and senate seats throughout the country.  Is there that much of a disinclination for public service that so many primary elections are "confirm-the- candidate-already-chosen-by-the-party" races as opposed to actual elections featuring two or more candidates?  Or is the system so closed that only those invited can play?

Perhaps it is merely an indication that the parties want to portray a sense of unity, as if the candidate doesn't matter as much as the party platform/ideology.  Which brings us to the current state of the GOP on the national stage.  As of this writing, it appears that the tea party has lost some influence; or perhaps that the GOP establishment has gained control back from its more radical wing.  In many GOP primaries throughout the country, tea party candidates looking to unseat established GOP incumbents lost to those incumbents.  This trend differs dramatically from the more recent GOP primaries where so many tea party candidates won, many over incumbents deemed not conservative enough.  Is this a sign that finally, the moderates of the GOP have realized that they cannot continue to win elections under the banner of not governing?  That the tea party was useful in its day to wield as a bludgeon against the Obama Administration, but its elected reps have become so enamored with the word NO, that they are using it in response to laws that would benefit America even when sponsored by other GOP representatives.

They say all movements eventually die of their own accord or are incorporated into the mainstream in some watered down form.  In 6 or 8 years, will last nights primary results be thought of as the day the tea party movement officially lost its allure?

It will be interesting to see if last night's tea party losers will join the GOP flock or pout on the sidelines in November.  If the latter, the historical pattern of the party in the white house losing ground in the legislature may be interrupted, or at least curtailed as compared to the swing that occurred in 2010.

One final note.  If you didn't vote, be advised that your future opinion on the topics of the day may not be heeded, at least not by me.  I am advising that all conversations that lean to the political should begin with the question, did you vote?  A no answer without a compelling reason, may disqualify one from opining on the problems of the day.  I had predicted that 2 of 3 voters would not go to the polls yesterday; it appears it may be more like 4 of 5.  What a disgrace!!  Disregarding the fact that our elections take place on a Tuesday as opposed to some more practical and longer time frame, and that there were so many rubber stamps races with only one name on the ballot, it is extremely disappointing to see that upwards of 80% of Americans couldn't exercise their right to vote.  It is especially indicative of the state of our apathy when one reads about people dying in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq as they stand in voting lines.  They risk their lives while we can't risk a few minutes.  Hopefully, November's election will feature a higher turnout so that our elected officials are actually representatives of the people as opposed to public servants who are accountable to a vocal, one issue minority, or worse, a super wealthy group or individual. 



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