A year or so ago, everyone was supposed to start wearing short ties.
Y’know, because a few uber famous looking European models and some NFL stars started doing it fashion blogs were just SURE that this was the hottest new trend and it would dominate the summer. How did that work out? The fashion game hasn’t changed that much, people are still rocking the same ties they always have but that doesn’t stop fashionistas from trying to say that every new style that comes across the pond is a new trend. Unfortunately the same thirst for new trends comes out in politics too, political analysts on the right and left want to make a big deal of the Democratic victory in New York’s special election in the 26th district, but this Democratic victory is about as much a trend as short and fat ties.
Democrat Kathy Hochul won the NY-26th special congressional election with 48% of the vote to Republican Jane Corwin’s 42% and Democrat turned Tea Partier Jack Davis’s 9% of the vote. The district which had been in Republican hands for almost 40 years had handily re-elected Representative Chris Leewith 74% of the vote in the 2010 mid-terms.
You remember Rep Chris Lee right? He’s the guy who got busted sending Bishop Eddie Long pictures to a woman he met on Craigslist then resigned before any of his past mistresses could come out of the woodwork.
It’s pretty reasonable to assume that when a special election is called to replace a Republican Congressman who bowed out during a national sex scandal just three months ago that there might be some lingering drag on the Republican ticket. However, Lee isn’t the only reason why this election can’t be viewed as part of a larger ‘trend’ favoring the Democrats.
The emergence of the Paul Ryan (R-WI) budget has become the new third rail in American politics and both parties wanted to test out their new set of political wheels during this mid-term election. The Republicans, in their typical fashion have latched onto this idea that the public cares about reducing the debt and have naively assumed that even sacred cows like Medicare can be sacrificed on the altar of fiscal responsibility. However, polls have shown that people don’t care about the debt ceiling when they can’t even keep a roof over their heads. The “Ryan” budget has become a referendum on the GOP, at least for this month, and the end result was a surprising amount of negative advertising that made the race seem more important that it really was.
You had Tea Partier Jack Davis complaining about both parties and their bailouts you had the DCCC getting involved attacking the Tea Party and the Republicans and of course the Democratic candidateKathy Hochul attacking Corwin for being a Ryan-supporting-Medicare-bashing meanie.
Democrats turned Tea Partiers, a national budget battle that just heated up all taking place under the shadow of a Republican Congressman disgraced in a Sex Scandal. Does any of that sound like your average special election circumstances? Consequently can any political analyst sincerely suggest that this race is anything other than a blip on the screen as the nation continues to muddle from one event to another in a meandering walk towards the 2012 presidential election? Of course not.
There have been quite a few ‘referendum’ elections over the last two years and none of them have started the ‘trend’ that many political analysts were seeking. Remember New York’s 23rd Congressional district special election in November of 2009? Republicans had held that seat in the House since 1873, and lost it to a Democrat in what was called a “Referendum on Barack Obama.”
Then three months later Republican Scott Brown wins a special election in Massachusetts, replacing the Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy and everyone said it was doom for the Democrats. Scott Walker enrages the nation, drops like a rock in the polls in Wisconsin and the state supreme court election was supposed to be a referendum on his anti-union policies and the GOP candidate won by 7,000 votes.
And now we have another Democratic victory in a Northeastern state and everyone is quick to give it greater meaning that it has.
The ugly truth right now is that no-one, neither Republicans nor Democrats really have the upper had on many state to state battles going on right now. A frothy mix of local, national and cultural winds are buffeting every single race right now while people are still living under the weight of the recession. Predictions spelling the doom or the phoenix like resurgence of any candidate right now are pretty pre-mature. The only thing we can say for sure about the special election of NY-26 is that it’s over, and now it’s on to the next outlandish prediction.
This article originally appeared in TheLoop21.com under the headline “NY 26 House Race: Now is the Time to Over-React!”