2012 Election: The Lay of the Land

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

The November 6 Presidential Election and all the others held along with it promise to be interesting, yet annoying.

The clashes between and among candidates will be titanic, but somewhat hollow. The same can be said for some, but not all, of the eleven ballot measures facing Californians. Some of these can even be described as reruns, because very similar versions have been rejected by voters in the recent past. I will review and explain these in future articles.

The reason for the “titanic” nature of the clashes is money. Ever since the Supreme Court decided it “Citizens United” case, the floodgates stemming the massive flows of corporate cash have been thrown open. That, coupled with the relatively new technique of using non-profit organizations as fronts to mask the exact source of billionaires’ money, have shaped this election season.

Just yesterday, I heard someone contend that 98% of all current presidential-race TV advertising is negative, with the positive coming only in the form of a few Spanish language ads. This kind of irritating “noise”, coupled with Senatorial and Congressional TV advertising, plus the dozens of mailers sent out for these and lower level races, and the phone calls—both human and automated, can easily turn people off. Sadly, that’s part of the game often played by candidates— try to turn off enough of your opponent’s likely supporters so your hard core supporters carry the day and you win.

Even worse, voter suppression is not limited to candidates’ efforts, over the past dozen years (at least), the Republican Party has also engaged in this. In various states that are currently governed by Republican legislative majorities and governors, so called “voter ID” laws and questionable purges of voter rolls have been used to eliminate likely Democratic voters. That’s partly how George Bush Jr. won Florida in 2000.

Also at stake on the federal level is control of the House and Senate. Obviously, both Democrats and Republicans would like to control both houses of the legislature. But odds are, to my mind, that the each will retain control of the house they currently constitute a majority in— Republicans in the House, and Democrats in the Senate— the the exact numbers may change a little.

Of course there’s the Armenian factor, too. We have an interesting and varied crop of candidates running for various levels of government in a number of states. Some are incumbents, some are newcomers. Some will have an easy time getting elected, while others will be wearing severe battle scars when the campaign is over. Of course I’ll detail some of these candidates and races, but the lion’s share of attention will go to the one California State Assembly race that is more important for the Armenian community of the U.S. than even the presidential race (where we are confronted with two people who have been lackluster [I’m being very kind and charitable] on issues of concern to our community). This is, of course, the 43rd District where Glendale School board member Greg Krikorian is challenging endangered incumbent Mike Gatto.

Watch for this election series. Hopefully, they will serve to prepare you to cast informed votes on November 6 (or sooner by mail).

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