Jasper Smith

Commentary on politics, economics, culture and sports.

Posts Tagged ‘Senate

Weather and turnout

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I think everybody seems to agree turnout is a critical factor tomorrow. I’ve heard one or two comments to the effect that the sloppy weather predicted for Tuesday across most of the state favors Brown, by holding down turnout.

But I think bad weather clearly favors Coakley, myself. As a Massachusetts resident following this race very closely, my sense is there’s a huge spike in interest and enthusiasm from a lot of independent (we call them “unenrolled” here in Massachusetts) voters. I could be wrong, but the bulks of these voters strike me as being usually not particularly involved in politics. Brown needs a healthy turnout from these people to counter what I expect to be a larger than expected turnout of committed (and scared!) Democrats and liberal independents. I can imagine many a low information Brown supporter getting up tomorrow with the intention of hitting the polls on the way to work, and then realizing the roads are pretty crappy and thinking “Hmmm, maybe I should go to work first and vote on the way home.” Not all of them will make it — especially if they’re overconfident in the porn star’s chances. City lefties like me can walk to the polls even in a blizzard.

Martha could still pull this thing out. The wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of the right wing would be enough to stave off my seasonal depression for the remainder of the winter.

Written by Jasper

January 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Thoughts on Caroline

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For the most part the controversy surrounding Caroline Kennedy’s intention to pursue a senate seat is entirely understandable; “less is more” are not words one often associates with the democratic process here in the US. I myself — a fan of that mob rule form of government known as the parliamentary system — am disquieted at the prospect of the executive making appointments to the national legislature. So,  if you’re opposed to the method whereby vacant offices are sometimes appointed rather than filled by special election, then more power to you — and good luck — you’re free to lobby your fellow citizens to get the law changed.  There is something decidedly unfair about being chosen by a governor — rather than directly by the voters — for a seat in the United States Senate

But as long as NY’s constitution requires that a vacancy be filled short-term in this manner, then anybody who is appointed is going to be getting an “unfair” (by this line of reasoning) advantage. Again, I understand the perception of unfairness surrounding the appointment process as such as opposed to holding a special election. But the vitriol from the left focusing specifically on senatorial aspirant Caroline Kennedy qua Caroline Kennedy is a bit much.

Now, if your point is that Kennedy’s name is a really unfair advantage (ie., she’s some type of royalty) then what you’re really arguing is that someone should be passed over because of something one has no control over. And this is what seems fundamentally unfair to me, because at the end of the day, the woman has no more power over the circumstances of her birth than any other human being. Barring her from office because of her high birth seems fundamentally unfair and illiberal.

One can legitimately make the argument, of course, that Kennedy is unqualified, or that she’s not the best qualified candidate – and again, fair enough. But I haven’t read much in the way of substantive arguments in this regard. I’d like to know why a long career serving the greater good in the arts, say, or in education reform, is automatically an inferior background for the senate than a long career as an electeed public official. It seems to me both backgrounds have their merits, and it is not at all obvious to me which is superior.

Written by Jasper

December 20, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Miscellania

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Predictions

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Since everybody else is making them:

Popular Vote: Obama 53 McCain 44

Electoral College: 381 to 157 (Obama wins)

House: net gain of 27 seats for the Democrats

Senate: Democrats end up with 58 seats

Written by Jasper

November 3, 2008 at 5:15 pm