If Bob Turner wins today...
... it means [...]
Russian/former Soviet immigrants with no historic ties to the Democratic Party but who strongly support a conservative Israeli government supported a Republican for Congress in part because they believe, erroneously, that Barack Obama is anti-Israel. (Many of them probably also believe he is a Muslim.) The most conservative non-Staten Island district in New York City supported a rich "outsider" candidate over a sloppy and unexciting Democratic politician. Barack Obama is in trouble among very, very conservative pro-Israel voters, as he already was before. The political makeup of the House of Representatives has barely changed and this district is likely to cease to exist soon. Addressing the myth that he's anti-Israel is probably one of the least important things President Obama needs to do between now and the next election, because he still has the support of most of the American Jewish community. Regardless, media attention paid to this race will give him even more trouble passing his "Jobs Bill."
If David Weprin wins today...
... it means [...]
A Democrat won a traditionally Democratic district in New York City, despite a surprisingly strong showing from a wealthy challenger. The district will likely cease to exist soon. The press will not announce this victory as a vote of national support for Obama's "mandate" and will in fact soon forget all about this race because "favorite beats underdog" is not a very entertaining story.
Oh, and there's that other special election closer to home.
The winner of the Amodei-Marshall race will serve the remainder of Heller's current House term, which runs through 2012. He or she will have to run for the office again next year to keep the job.
By then, it may well be in a very different district, since the task of drawing new congressional district maps has been placed in the hands of Carson District Judge Todd Russell, who has named a commission to assist with that job.
For today's election, however, the district is the same one Heller ran in a year ago. It includes all of 16 Nevada counties and a small piece of Clark.
Amodei, a former state senator, has said repeatedly he doesn't believe in raising taxes to fix the nation's debt because it would further delay any economic recovery. He has signed a no-tax pledge to emphasize that point, saying the answer is to make government smaller, not raise the debt ceiling.
Marshall, currently in her second term as state treasurer, has said she would keep the Bush tax cuts for most Americans but eliminate those breaks on the rich. She also said she would eliminate tax loopholes for wealthy corporations, granting them breaks only for creating jobs.
Oh yes, that contest between the Republican who refuses to state what he'd actually do in Congress... Versus the Democrat who refuses to campaign as a Democrat. What did Harry Truman say about the choice between the real Republican and the one pretending to be a Republican? What if both candidates dance around the GOP platform?
Of course, the TV pundits won't be addressing any of the real issues that have Americans worried. They'll talk about "the economy" as if it's just another political ping-pong, but it means something totally different for those still suffering under it.