Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The New York Times > Editorial Observer: The Democratic Convention: Feed, but Do Not Annoy, the Swing Voters:: Interesting article.
One of the great ironies of a modern political convention is that there's nobody more superfluous than the delegates from the states where the party is the strongest.

When Al Gore made his speech on Monday about how every vote had to count in November, people from heavily Democratic places must have mentally noted that theirs seem to be counted already. It makes sense that the safe blue states have the worst seats here, since nobody's really talking to them. Wherever their delegates go, they hear how critical the upcoming election will be, and how everything depends on voters from someplace else.
These are the great themes of the Democratic convention: 1) This is the most important political contest in the memory of man, and 2) it will be decided by six people in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The issues are cosmic, and the candidates are addressing a population the size of Toledo.
We are stuck with a federal election system designed by people who did not want to leave the future of slavery to majority rule, and the modern technology of polling allows candidates to pinpoint the swing voters in the swing states - star pupils in the Electoral College.

To make things still weirder, the parties organize their primaries so that the nominees are chosen by only a few lucky states. Democratic voters in early primary states selected John Kerry as the presidential nominee because they thought he would appeal to people in places like Florida. But something happened in the long months between the Iowa caucus and the Boston convention. Despite the fact that Mr. Kerry's great selling point was being a winner, the Democrats now regard him as, at best, a non-loser who can, with great effort, possibly be dragged across the finish line ahead of the other guy. If everybody is very careful not to tick off the six people in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
If I really cared about this election, and wasn't living in a swing state like PA, I would probably register somewhere where I could feel like my vote counted. As was pointed out by a friend Miguel in NY, "I have not considered registering in a swing state -- I have enough not fun at the post office where I live -- but I may campaign in one if it appears that that would be effective, and I've given 25 bucks to moveon"
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