Saturday, September 25, 2010

Political Burnout?

Ok, I understand that over the last few years I have become a bit of a political junkie. Not everyone will see things the way I do. That being said, I am hearing, in my opinion, WAY too many people saying that they are getting sick of politics. Really? We are on the cusp of one of the biggest midterms since 1994 and people are already dropping by the wayside?

Not to demean any of the people that feel that way, but I have a hard time believing that these people vote on a regular basis. How can you be sick of it already? This is going to be a fascinating election no matter what side of the isle you are on.

If you just limit it to Wisconsin, it will be huge. Ron Johnson has a significant lead in the polls right now over Russ Feingold. David Obey saw the writing on wall and got out on his own terms. Reid Ribble not only had a 10 point lead over Steve Kagen (AAF Aug. 16-19) before he won the Republican primary but he is near that magic 50% mark. Scott Walker is taking a commanding 9+ point lead in the governor race (RCP average Sept 15-21) showing that a Milwaukee conservative can play well outstate as well as in SE Wisconsin.

If you expand it nationally, according to RealClearPolitics' current polls, the GOP picks up 7 seats in the Senate and in the House holds a 177-160 lead in safe or likely seats. On top of that, of the 38 seats that they consider toss ups, only one (IL-10) is currently held by a Republican. Whether you are a D or an R, watching those races will be interesting at the very least.

So why are people being burned out so quickly? Honestly I can't say. Maybe the vast amount of political ads is getting to them. Perhaps the economic troubles are stressing people out so much that they don't want to worry themselves with politics. Who knows, but this election plays a bigger part than any since 2000.

Why? Redistricting will happen after this election. This act of "creative cartography", as one writer puts it, can shift the balance of power in the house for years to come. Of the states that are gaining or losing seats, only a few are as key as we are here in Wisconsin. We will be losing a seat, down to 7. It may not seem like much, but that could play a huge role in the balance of districts. Wisconsin is home to one of the more liberal districts (WI-4 T43 in Cook PVI) that is adjacent to a fairly conservative district (WI-5). More than likely, due to it's small geographic size, the WI-4th will be absorbed into one of the two districts (WI-1 is the other) that border it. Where the final lines will end up is anybody's guess, but it could easily make the difference between two strongly liberal districts (evenly dividing Milwaukee amongst the current 1st and 5th) or one heavily liberal and one heavily conservative (all of Milwaukee becoming part of the first). How that falls will be decided by the party in the majority. With the balance at 18-15 Democratic in the state senate and a 52-46 (+1 Ind.) Democratic lead in the Assembly, it is a real toss up as to who will get to redraw the lines.

That is why this current round of elections is so important people. Every election is important if you want a voice in your (and it is YOUR) government. This year, however has the ability to shift politics for possibly a decade. So I urge all of you, no matter how fed up you may be to do some research and pick the candidate that you believe will do the best job for you at the local, state, and national levels.

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