The pundits have entered their podiums with their predictions for Washington for the Next four years. There is as usual no agreement as to what politician will win what states, or what party will win the Senate. There is a lot of speculation, using computer generated models with probability and surveys with past voting behaviors factored in.
To put it succinctly, people vote for the candidate whom they feel will represent their interests the best. How many people actually vote? If we are talking about a midterm election, which 2014 is, depending on the state upwards of forty percent of registered voters will vote. In New York and other states where a governor is up for re-election, the rate may be higher or lower, contingent upon his/her popularity. There is a phenomenon called coattails, where if a politician is elected in one party, he may cause all candidates in his party who are running to be elected. This is seen more in Presidential elections than midterm, but the possibility exists. People often vote more by party designation than office performance or personality.
Election results can be compared to a coin toss. If you toss the coin enough times you can raise the 50% heads or tails coming up. In the same way, if a political representative runs enough times for the same position, and gets consistently good ratings form the public, is not involved in any torrid scandal, chances are he will be reelected. There are definitely exceptions to this rule, if a senator has been caught with his fingers in the till, he may not be reelected, but the American people have a extremely short memory. We have elected people to higher office who were involved in financial,drug, mental illness and sexual scandals.
In some ways one of the criteria for elected office should be; the ability to fight off the implications of impropriety. The ultimate reality is, how much the constituents in your state will accept and still be willing to elect you. When it seems that elections are becoming more and more expensive to run effectively, and fund raising is becoming harder and harder. Will this make the Senate a group of elected rich men? How can we have a truly representative government, when those who supposedly represent our interests are not in our social class. Most people in the US identify themselves as middle class, approximately 45% see themselves in this light. While it is conceivable for politicians who are middle class to run for office,most come from the 1% that see themselves as upper class.
Is is really any wonder that a majority of the American public simply opts out of voting all together. Even when it comes to voting in the Presidential election, where they do not directly vote for the President, but a slate of electors to the Electoral College. The American public is economically unequal, and that fact has in effect put them on the outside of the political process. One person’s vote does make a difference, but that is often a hard sell to people who only see the same rich men and a few women win election after election, with little hope for change. The answer is not to give up, but to organize others of the same beliefs as you have to get the best candidate in office, in your opinion.