Strange Results Arise From A Bitter Election


The good news: It’s harder to buy an election than the special interests figured. The bad news: That’s probably because voters rarely depart from their established patterns.

That’s the unsettling conclusion that emerges from a detailed analysis of the November elections — here in Rim Country and across the nation.

And it leads us to a perplexing question: Why does the common-sense, bipartisan approach to problems that prevails at the local level immediately break down when people run for the state legislature — or worse yet — congress.

Let us explain.

The voter-created Independent Redistricting Commission drew up new district lines just before the November elections. The commission took seriously a voter directive to create as many competitive districts as possible — where Republicans and Democrats alike had a chance of winning. So the commission’s consultants drew up a “competitiveness index” for each district. That index relied on party registrations — and the partisan preferences in past elections in each precinct.

Along comes the actual election. Candidates spent something like $2 billion nationally. And because the U.S. Supreme Court gutted decades of efforts to limit special interest spending and make campaign financing transparent — an avalanche of outside money roared into many key races.

Curiously enough, the rush of special interest money into key districts had little effect. That includes a flood of money into the state legislative District 6 contest between Chester Crandell and Tom Chabin.

But in most cases, the results of the election came within a percentage point or two of the Independent Redistricting Commission’s projected competitiveness index.

That means people voted their pattern, regardless of the candidates contending or the outside money flushing through the system.

The Democrats ended up gaining the most, gaining four seats in the house, four in the senate and winning five of the nine congressional seats. That more closely represents the statewide voter registration statistics than did the old, Republican-drawn lines, which had produced supermajorities for Republicans.

We’ll see whether that results in more pragmatic, solutions-based legislation in the upcoming session. So far from early statements by legislative leaders, we’re skeptical. Back in Congress, both sides seem to have returned to their fixed positions as they go stumbling toward the fiscal cliff.

Which brings us back to the second mystery revealed by the election just past.

Local elections seated an interesting mixture of low-key, hard-working, solutions-oriented officials in office — from school board, to the board of supervisors. They differ in emphasis and priority — but you can find not a trace of the entrenched and embittered partisanship that prevails in both the state capitol and Washington.

All in all, it’s a puzzle.

But then, perhaps we get what we deserve. If we elect pragmatic, effective officials at the local level — but simply vote the party line for the statehouse — then it makes sense our lawmakers will hew slavishly to that party line.

The fault, it seems — is in ourselves.


ALLAN SIMS 4 years, 1 month ago

It’s interesting how the liberal mind can seem so clairvoyant (In their own sight) concerning the deep things of social issues, seeing so clearly what we conservatives are so blind to; yet simple things like how local elections differ so much from the state and national ones are “All in all, … a puzzle”.

In local elections both sides want the same things, and though the candidates differ, they still have children and local citizen’s well-being at heart. Each side knows that, and though one loses, they resign themselves to the fact that even the opposition is not your enemy, for they want the same things.

In state issues, it used to be the same thing. But, in the last few years, it has come down to cutthroat competition, between factions that see the opposition as dealing a death throe to their state as well as the nation. Primarily, it is because the national issues have filtered into the state mentality. For most of those interested in national issues see that winning state positions benefit the overall picture on a national level. It has always been that way, but lately vastly more so, because of the wide divide in the moral, social as well as political makeup of the warring groups.

Progressivism becomes ever more liberal, becoming socialism, which is a small step away from communism. History has shown, time and again that people rid themselves of a despot, gaining democracy, which leads to affluence, due to the freedom to better one’s self. That leads to apathy, as their children are raised with the silver spoon in their mouths. Apathy leads to the progression from a desire for social reform in the form of making it better for the little man, to the progressive, socialist, communist stages in that order. Finally, dissatisfaction with the failures of socialism/communism, leads them to conclude they need a dictator who can make the decisions that are right for the society. The BBC did a documentary a few nights ago, giving the startling news that Japan is gyrating towards a ‘nationalist’ government, and the term dictator was mentioned in favorable terms several times by those Japanese who wanted solutions to their plight.
Those who love freedom, and the affluence it maintains, see this, while liberals can only see the glimmering mirage just beyond their reach.

So, now the blind leads the blind, and both fall in the ditch. Like drunkards, we stagger blindly towards failures already apparent in Europe and Asia. Yet, on we go, listening to the pied piper, an all we can hear is the Siren’s Song of equality, oneness, help for the little man and etc, when in reality, we stare despotism in the face. It may take years as in Europe, but probably soon, men will grow angry enough to resist, which is all Obama will need to declare martial law, declaring himself the decider of all laws until the “emergency” is past. I hope I’m wrong, of course; but at least I’m not puzzled.


Tim Branson 4 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Mr. Sims. You are clear, concise, logical, and fair. Liberalism cannot stand under the onslaught of truth. Too bad none of this is getting out to the national level. The main stream media has silenced it. That is also a sign that the country is taking the road you outlined. When socialist propaganda becomes the arbiter of truth in the media, the brain-washing commences for weaker minds and uninformed or indifferent human subjects. Notice I didn't say human individuals. Once the herd mentality takes over a country, individual freedom disappears. Unfortunately America (and the rest of the world) is showing signs of this progression, and with Obama, the speed has increased exponentially. Although it's rather interesting to watch this great experiment playing itself out once again, it sure ain't no fun because the innocent and the trusting are victimized along with the perpetrators. One good thing occurs, however. People begin to rely once more on a loving God then on themselves and the state. It may be a long way off, but there is hope.


ALLAN SIMS 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for your kind comments. You are certainly right, about the herd instinct, and the experiment, as well.

It is interesting that our country has been the guiding light for the freedoms enjoyed in most ‘democratic’ countries. And, now we will see if the citizens of this country will pull back, or if we’ve hit the critical mass necessary to destroy it, even as those ‘democracies’ are experiencing now. Thanks for your kind comments. You are certainly right, about the herd instinct, and the experiment, as well.

It is also interesting that our country has been the guiding light for the freedoms enjoyed in most ‘democratic’ countries. And, now we will see if the citizens of this country will pull back, or if we’ve hit the critical mass necessary to destroy it, even as those ‘democracies’ are experiencing now.


ALLAN SIMS 4 years, 1 month ago

Gee, thought I heard an echo.

Actually, my browser crashed, and it looked like the post didn't take. So, I re-did it. How both wound up in one post is interesting.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.