Radio silence on Election night

poli sci major breaks his pattern

radio silenceOne of the smartest things I’ve done recently was to declare radio silence on Election night. This meant going off the grid from 6 pm EST that Tuesday until 6 am Wednesday. No cellphone, no email, no live TV or radio. In fact, as it turned out, I saw no television at all. Since the cable defaults to the local news, I was afraid I’d accidentally learn something. So I just read.

I should note that it was not my idea. The Weekly Sift guy, Doug Muder wrote on the day before: “I’m probably not going to watch the returns come in. I just can’t picture that experience being good for me.” Surely, I know the feeling, as did Arthur and Chuck. Mark Evanier was not unhappy that his power went out.

I wonder if others felt the same way. The television ratings for the midterm elections audience fell by double digits compared with 2018. As Variety noted, the “coverage provided [is] just the latest example of the broadening gap between polls of voters’ intentions and how citizens actually lean when they get to the booth.” The news anchors expected a “red wave” but did not anticipate a “blue wall.”

Here’s the weird thing from this old political science major, who always, well, at least since 1972, ALWAYS watched the returns: I didn’t miss it. Getting most of the results at 6 a.m. the next day didn’t alter a thing.

I say most because there were so many races that weren’t settled for a while. The US Senate race in Georgia will be a December 6 runoff. I’m going to quote Muder again. “49% of Georgians want Herschel Walker to represent them in the Senate. Seriously?” Now that the Senate will be in Democratic hands, punditry predicts a Warnock rout; probably yes, but I’ll wait for the actual votes.

A few trends

I was pleased that Kentucky voters rejected a ballot measure to deny any constitutional protections for abortion. Meanwhile, voters in Michigan, Vermont, and California enshrined abortion rights in the states’ constitutions. FOX “News” guy Steve Doocy noted on November 3 that the Democrats would regret emphasizing abortion and democracy instead of “pocketbook issues.” On November 9, he said, “Abortion and democracy were foremost in people’s minds.”

One of the disappointments was the loss by Congressman Sean Maloney  (D-NY) in a district just north of NYC. Ultimately, I blame the state legislature’s Democratic overreach in their gerrymandering. The lines for the Congressional districts were tossed, and some Democrats ran in districts far different from where they ran two years earlier.

Did these consultants help the Democrats’ message? The Russian hacktivist group that called on its members to target the American Democratic party website on Election Day was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, a certain former President was quoted as saying about candidates he supported, “Well, I think if they win, I should get all the credit. If they lose, I should not be blamed at all.” Apparently, he’s blaming everyone who advised him to back Mehmet Oz, including his wife.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

7 thoughts on “Radio silence on Election night”

  1. I didn’t know you were a Political Science major, Roger. I was also, first as an undergrad at U of Rochester. I had two very memorable profs there, John Mueller, who worked with Daniel Ellsberg (sp?) who published the Pentagon Papers (a revealing look at the military “thinking” around Vietnam). Mueller taught National Security Policy (aka Bombs & Rockets) and Dr. Strangelove was part of our course work. There was also Dick Fenno, dean of US Congressional politics and Bill Riker, who popularized the use of game theory in political analysis. Then off to SUNY Binghamton for MA in Public Policy. Thought I was going to become a policy wonk at Urban Institute or somewhere like that – but wound up in the nonprofit world as a fundraiser, and a jazz musician. I really had no desire to go into politics, but was interested in the process. These days – radio silence was probably the best thing for you and all, given the ugly times. What prompted you to switch from politics to library science?

  2. Re: the NY gerrymander: A big reason it was tossed was because Andrew Cuomo filled that particular court with right-of-center judges, for reasons passing understanding. I’m not a fan of gerrymandering in principle, but in a country that refuses to get rid of it, I firmly believe that Ds should play the same game the Rs are, not the game they wish everybody was playing.

    There is a case being made ALL over Twitter the last few days that if the Ds do go on to lose the House by just a few seats, that margin may have been erased in the Ds favor had New York Democrats not shot themselves in the foot.

  3. Kelly – you are right about the Rs doing it. But the Ds attempt was SO ham-handed that you would have rejected it. And the legislature had a legit process that they waited out until the 11th hour.

  4. I started the same practice after Tr*mp was elected. That night was longer than the Winter Solstice, and we didn’t really see daylight until years later.

    I can find out results the next day, at my leisure. Even when it’s a big issue, it’s not worth a good night’s sleep.

  5. I likewise occupied myself with non-media activities, seeing no reason to subject myself to anxiety, which is a major serving of social and news media. Gerrymandering has become a huge element of voter suppression and rigging the game for one Party or the other. Redistricting needs to be a non-partisan activity that should ONLY be concerned with the number of citizens and completely ignoring Party affiliation.

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