Obviously, I feel great about the results of the US House elections. And, I think strategically, the outcome in the Senate is better than a Republican takeover in this cycle. (In 2012, a Republican takeover is likely very possible.) And, for the Republicans to only get one chamber, the US House was the best choice.
With that aside, I feel elated about something else. The 2010 election, beyond a small number of recounts, is behind us. We know at least 95% of the results. In the case of Congress, the few races to be decided will not impact control. The campaign signs are being taken down. The hustle and bustle is over. The ridiculous ads are off the air. Mailers are no longer being sent. The emails asking for campaign donations are done. We can finally breathe again.
I enjoy the initial stages of a campaign. You get to know the candidates. You take a look at their record (if the candidate is an incumbent). There is time to think things through. Thorough analysis can be done. The excitement builds slowly. The last few weeks may be exciting, but the pressure is intense. For the disinterested viewer, it is a collection of soundbites. They are overwhelmed by ads for numerous candidates.
At this point, we now have time to analyze the results and see what worked and what didn’t. This is the first major election where the tea party was involved. We can see how to best prepare for 2012. It’s a calmer time. While there is relief from the end of the election, we cannot afford to go back to sleep. We need to take a look at the freshmen Congresspersons and ensure they have not been willingly co-opted. If they have, primary challengers need to be found. The presidential election season will begin shortly, if it hasn’t already. We need to keep track of the candidates who will be vying for the Republican nomination, and the possibility of even a Democrat challenger to Obama.
As to the problem ads, we have the opportunity to make them obsolete over time. We can and should encourage people to become knowledgeable about the workings of the government, who their elected representatives are, and their positions. We need to strongly promote the idea of staying informed. With an informed populace, soundbites and low information ads can be reduced. I’m all for informative and creative ads, but the low information nuisance ads do a disservice to the voters and degrade politics.
We need to continuously talk about the issues and keep trying to get information out to the people. Rather than a campaign season with such heavyness and misinformation at the end, we need to have people engaged and interested all the time.