So, this is what a $50 Million election looks like. With the control of the Senate at stake, everyone is throwing in to the point where this race could well cost $200 per vote. There is nowhere traditional left to spend the money and it makes no sense to have money left over after the campaign. With no more air time left, with no more newspaper print ads, with the traditional markets saturated money is spent in other ways. When this election is over, the USPS is probably going to have to replace the shocks on every mail truck in Alaska after having delivered all of the mailers. You can’t even use the glossy campaign posters as fire starter; much like the campaigns they represent, they don’t burn, they smoulder.
We are being polled. Oh my, but we are being polled. We are called nightly to the point where I, a person who LOVES telling everyone what I think, I have respondent fatigue. I, and just about everyone I have personally talked to, now regularly screen calls to avoid being polled. I don’t know how a pollster would weight the results to reflect that and so I don’t suspect any poll in Alaska is worth the electrons it takes to post.
The crazy thing is that this is probably the least consequential Senate race of my lifetime. There are many important local issues that make this a very important election for Alaska, but the Senate race is not one of them. One of two things will happen. Either the Democrats retain control of the Senate, the Republicans the House, and the current dysfunctional Congress continues to be the least productive Congress in recant history, or the Republicans gain control of the Senate, but not with enough seats to override a veto.
Look, it’s important, I know it is. I also know that there are other important things going on in this election as well. You can’t help but be surrounded by the visceral nature of the campaign and not absorb some of the hate. They are spending $50 Million dollars to tell us that the candidate from the other party is already bought by evil people and can’t be dealt with by us good folk. They are spending $50 Million dollars to tell us that this election is important because if our side does not win THEY will fill Washington with those bought and paid for candidates and we won’t be able to feed our families. They are spending $50 Million dollars to teach us to hate the very principles that our Republic were founded on, that in the finest deliberative body we can build, opposing ideas have a chance to develop into workable compromises. It’s all or nothing. We must support OUR side (which is good) because there is no compromise to be had with THEIR side (which is evil). In this election, this relatively inconsequential election, we are told we make a very un-Alaskan decision of who we can work with, and who we can not.
Once the money is gone, I hope we re-find our center. I hope we can re-build Alaska’s tradition of working with people we don’t agree with. And once the money is gone, I hope we don’t find ourselves in the position to potentially decide control of the Senate again.