It wasn’t too long ago that you could almost predict someone’s vote by their party affiliation. Not true for New York State elections in 2010. What is significantly missing in electoral races this year is enthusiasm, indeed it is called an “enthusiasm gap” in the New York Times, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.
Candidates for governor in New York have managed to alienate significant parts of the electorate with their positions and rhetoric. Case in point: Republican gubernatiorial candidate Carl Paladino has made himself unpopular with women as he makes one crass remark after another. His “tough guy’ stance is not playing well with many female voters. His comment that senate candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is “Schumer’s little girl” is an example of his foot-in-mouth style of communication.
So while the male voter who is fed up with the budget deficit and government bailouts might vote for Mr. Paladino, what about the female voter?
Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has antagonized teachers’ and other public unions by promising to reduce their influence in Albany. According to the Times article, the largest labor union in New York City has refused to endorse Cuomo! This is an unusual and unexpected twist in an election where traditionally the Democrat gets union endorsement.
But these are upside-down times. The enthusiasm that ushered Barack Obama into office seems to be lacking now. There is a general feeling of malaise among voters, a feeling that things just don’t get any better no matter who gets elected.
There are so many issues: high unemployment rates, government spending, budget deficits, government bailouts of banks, that perhaps the voter is overwhelmed by the magnitude and complexity of these problems facing us.
Is the system just too big and too broken for any one individual to repair? Perhaps that is the sentiment that many voters are feeling as they drag themselves to the polls this year to vote. They may vote to do their “civic duty” but they are voting without any real sense of excitement or energy.
Source: The New York Times, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010