With the off-year Election Day now upon us, press outlets as diverse as Fox News and The New York Times are continuing to overemphasize the broader significance of today’s contests. (The lead headline at NYTimes.com all day has read, “3 Contests on Election Day Could Signal Political Winds”—with, of course, a caution deep in the text that it is “probably not wise to draw broad lessons from Tuesday’s results.”) But, encouragingly, there’s also been quite a bit of pushback against that narrative from some influential Web sites and, in at least one case, from a leading newspaper.I would agree that today’s elections aren’t going to mean much come next November when the real Mau Mauing is going to take place, but there seems to be this reflex from some quarters in the media to write off the elections as meaningless because it does reflect the national mood and Obama’s declining numbers to some extent. How to quantify this “extent” is certainly open to interpretation but what’s coming out of the left right now seems to be a lot of truthie spin about how meaningless these are. To say that New Jersey is “meaningless” is a good indication of how hard some are trying to unspin what is going down today. Obama has been campaign both publicly and privately for Corzine and a loss for Corzine today, in bluer than blue New Jersey no less, is a fairly significant bell weather of the wider national mood.
Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.