Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Election Day!

Okay, I'll admit I'm excited.  It's Election Day here in Colorado.  Well, it's more like Election Deadline Day -- roughly a third of the potential electorate has already mailed in a vote -- pretty amazing for a midterm primary.  But surely some folks are still turning ballots in today.

Anyway, I won't have a ton more to say about this election until the results start coming in.  I'm interested in it for many reasons, not least of which is that there are three top-ballot statewide races -- the Republican governor's race and both parties' Senate contests -- that are really too close to call right now.  The fact that all three winners of the caucus/convention/assembly system in these races could actually beat the insider favorites makes this an especially unusual and exciting contest.

I'm particularly pleased by the high turnout so far, which is a nice rebuke to letters like this, printed in today's Denver Post (link unavailable):
We must all be disheartened [and] perhaps sickened by the campaigns run by this year's slate of candidates for governor and U.S. Senate in Colorado.... It's sad to say, but this year, when casting my ballot "none of the above" is not only a viable choice, it's about the only option!
Give me a break.  With a few word changes, this letter could have been written about any competitive election in any election year since about 1800, and some newspaper would always have been willing to run it for some reason.  Of course candidates have been attacking other candidates.  It's an election!  Voters need to make a choice!  The outcomes are important!  Yes, the attacks can seem petty and trivial at first glance, but they generally go alongside substantial differences of policy.  Michael Bennet's governance of the Denver Public Schools, even if spun a bid shadily by the New York Times and the Romanoff campaign, is a legitimate campaign issue.  Ken Buck and Jane Norton are debating the role and size of government.  Okay, the governor's race is a mess, but generally, a tough, critical campaign is one we should welcome -- it means that the candidates think the race is close and they aren't taking any votes for granted.  If you want a positive election, follow one in which a popular incumbent has no chance of losing.  It'll make you feel good, but it bears only a slight resemblance to representative democracy.

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