Today is, of course, election day. The Democrats and Republicans are battling it out to see which politicians will be serving the special interests. Of course, there are a few third party candidates and independents in the mix as well (some of whom are ex-Republicans displaced by the Tea Party).
The pundits are claiming that the Democrats will be the losers this time around. This is certainly plausible, given how poorly the Democrats have been at putting out a persuasive message. While I am no fan of the Republicans, the “don’t give them the keys back” message seems to lack rhetorical power. I suspect that part of the problem is that the Democrats clearly want to distance themselves from themselves and what they have done. Also, the Republicans and their supporters have done a much better job at perception control.
Interestingly, some pro-Democrat pundits have been highly critical of the Democrats’ failure to make their successes known and to make it clear that these have been positive things. Instead, the Democrats and Obama have been, in general, rather quiet. This has, of course, largely given the Republicans the upper hand in shaping public perception. Since people tend to vote based on easy perception rather than the result of diligent research and critical assessment, this gives the Republicans a significant edge.
The Republicans (or at least their allies) have also been trying to get an edge in other ways. One rather controversial approach has been the “stay home and don’t vote” efforts. The best known attempt was the ad urging Nevada’s Latino voters to not vote. The “logic” behind this attempt was that Latinos should send a message to Democrats by not voting. Of course, as has been pointed out, this would simply increase the likelihood of Sharron Angle’s election which does not seem to be in the interest of most Latino voters. Of course, it must be noted that this was one incident and not a general strategy on the part of the Republican party.
At the end of the day we should know some of the results-although there might be some recounts or other matters to resolve. If the Democrats hold their lead, we can expect more of the same. If the Republicans win big, we can expect more of what was when the Republicans were last in power. Until recently, I would have been inclined to bet that the Democrats would hold on to their majority for a bit longer. But, these are difficult times and the Republicans have been playing to win while the Democrats have been…well, Democrats.