The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Monday, November 8, 2010

Election Night

            November 2, 2010 was a day filled with anxiety and anger.  With the government debt of 12 trillion dollars and a 9.6 unemployment rate, the American people were fed up with the government.  I watched the midterm election with optimism the Democrats would maintain the House and Senate, yet at the same time knew it was very unlikely. Not only was the American public fed up with the government, history has proven come mid-term elections people tend to vote for the opposite party of the president.  The mid-term election ended with the good guys maintaining the Senate, yet the House experienced an unprecedented turn around leading to an overwhelming Republican majority. 

            As I watched in horror as the House of Representatives became increasingly Republican I noticed how similar the elections were to a sporting event.  The number of Senators and House members won for each party were on each side of the screen, constantly changing like a scoreboard.  On top of that the winners for each congressional race constantly flipped through at the bottom of the screen like games on ESPN.

            Elections have changed from facts about each candidate to horserace coverage. Horserace coverage referring to the media only covering which candidate is in the lead, and by how many points. This leads to decreased voter turnout.  Citizens use the media as a means of collecting information or candidates running. It is simply irrational for an average American to invest a lot of time and effort in researching a candidate.  Thus Americans look to the media to provide a shortcut on candidates.  Also, when the media portrays a candidate up by 12 points, citizens are reluctant to vote as their vote is unlikely to change anything.

            Watching CNN Election night reminded me more of a sporting event, than an event that can change the course of history.
Jake Wasserman

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