Let’s Have a Little Perspective; Please

Let’s Have a Little Perspective; Please

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Tuesday’s elections were interesting, but except for the talking heads and the paid analysts, no one should extrapolate very much out of the results. Considering the races involved, the size of the turnout, and the peculiarities of this truly off-year election, no one should be moved to draw dramatic conclusions in any direction.  A rational consideration of the results should prove the point.

1.       New York elected a liberal Democrat as its new Mayor. This is about as shocking as the fact that it snowed yesterday in Alaska in November. DeBlassio will have his hands full managing the City and so will New York.  Life in Gotham could get interesting, but politically the results were not dramatic.

2.      Chris Christie was re-elected by more than a 20% margin. If he could have, Obama would probably have voted for him. Defeating State Senator Barbara Buono, a sacrificial political lamb, the exit polls suggest that people liked the style and flamboyance of the man, but many voters profoundly disagreed with him on the issues. This also proves why Christie scheduled the Booker special Senate election to not coincide with or distract from, his own November, general re-election. What it means for the 2016 Republican nomination will depend on which Republican base will be at the Party’s core after the 2014 congressional elections.

3.      Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated the Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who had Tea Party support but not enough Tea Party money.  As Virginia continues to be a swing–leaning blue– state, moderates like McAuliffe should win. The new Governor’s biggest problem may well be to show he can actually govern the Commonwealth without Bill and Hillary at his side.

4.      Alabama’s 1st District Republican primary showed that without serious money, the Tea Party candidate, Dean Young, could not defeat the establishment Republican, Bradley Byrne, in the Republican primary. While Byrne’s margin was a narrow four points, this deep southern district should have stayed true to the faith; instead it suggested that the Tea Party wing needs better organization if it seriously intends to contend next year; or the GOP even could lose the House.

Speculation run ramped was the call, with no serious conclusions.

Wait, however, until February at which time the economic crisis at home will be clarified. A budget will or will not be in place; the debt limit fixing will or will not be set; a second Government shut-down will or will not have been avoided; and Obamacare will or will not have been fixed to operate as had been expected. If at that point the White House will have assumed control, Republicans could get even lose the House in November; if not the Senate may be up for grabs and Hillary may decide she prefers to be a stay-at home grandmother.

read more: