As I watch the coverage of the aftermath of super-duper-once-in-a-lifetime-Frankenstorm Sandy, I am amazed by what passes for political analysis. What does this mean for the race, they ask. Well the consensus seems to be that the President has the advantage since he gets to be all Commander-in-Chief-like while he suspends his campaign Romney gets to look like himself. That is to say, bad.
How can one group of people be consistently wrong?
Here’s the thing, no matter what anyone tells you, Presidential campaigns NEVER suspend. Just because the President canceled some events through the end of the week doesn’t mean that fundraising, get out the vote activities, and most importantly campaign ads are still blanketing the airwaves. To say nothing of their surrogates still going out and pressing the flesh.
Problem number two is check out the path of the storm. I don’t mean to minimize the damage to other parts of the nation but the majority of the devastation will be felt in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the DC area. The one thing those areas have in common is that they’re all reliably blue for national elections. Those states are already going to be voting for the President by huge margins in most cases. So he’s not winning any votes there. At least not any that mean anything for him in the electoral college.
As I mentioned before, this election is all about voters in swing states. It’s hard to believe that a person in Iowa or Wisconsin will have their minds made up because of how disaster relief is going on the east coast. It stands to reason that the people who’d be most likely to be persuaded would be living in the affected areas. And even that effect would be negligible. It’s not like there a lot of historical evidence to suggest it makes much of a difference in national campaigns. Remember how Louisiana went blue after the Katrina fiasco? Oh, that’s right, it didn’t.
So to summarize: Campaigns that are suspended aren’t really suspended. That path of the affected areas are Democratic strongholds that the President was already going to win handily. Doing well there makes no difference electorally. And even if the federal government were to botch the disaster relief efforts, there’s no modern history to suggest it will have any effect on the national race.
Or, as the media so succinctly put it: Advantage Obama.
You guys need to STFU!
Better yet, here’s an idea of how to cover the political implications of the storm to end all storms. How has this storm affected the ground game of each campaign? What does early voting look like at this stage of the contest? Will there be extended hours — particularly in states like Florida and North Carolina — to make up for the losses because of Sandy? Who is in charge of making that call in key regions, and if not, what’s their excuse? We, the viewing public, don’t know any of that because you people are stuck on shallow arguments on the optics of Presidential disaster relief.
Categories: Politics Fix