Paradox and Politics in the Upcoming Elections

Despite the fact that the Nevada District which encompasses part of Las Vegas is fairing worse than any other district in the nation economically, the race for representative there is not a contest, but an apparent shoe-in for the Democratic incumbent, Representative Shelley Berkley. All things being equal, one would think that with devastating unemployment, out-of-control bankruptcy and horrendous foreclosure rates, the Democratic incumbent would be fighting hard to keep her seat, but this is just not the case.Paradoxically, Shelly Berkley, along with many other Democratic incumbents who represent among the hardest hit economically throughout the country seem to have little to worry about this coming Election Day. In a study conducted by the Associate Press looking at foreclosures, bankruptcies and unemployment rates, the conclusion was startling; in more than 100 races which will decide whether the Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives, there are a very small number under extreme economic pressure. The study showed that the incumbents from the country’s least distressed areas are the ones fighting for their lives.One example is in New Hampshire.  Although among the areas with the lowest unemployment, 5.6% compared to the national average of 9.6%, the Republican challenger Frank Guinta is showing better in the polls than the Democratic incumbent, Carol Shea-Porter.  The other race in New Hampshire is also close, notwithstanding the state’s relative prosperity.But in states devastated by the new economic realities of the recession, such as California, which has much higher unemployment than New Hampshire and a bankruptcy rate just about double, almost none of the 53 races for the House seats are competitive.How is one to explain this bizarre behavior on the part of the electorate? William Anderson, political science professor at the University of South Dakota, took a try at unraveling the mystery.”I think, ultimately, this election is less about economic downturn in some very competitive races and more about perceived disconnects between incumbents and constituents.”Perhaps this is so. It is still hard to understand how our pocketbooks are not guiding our choices at the polls.

Alyssa Anderson

Alyssa Anderson has been involved in the world of business on several levels for many years. She was the CEO of a start-up high-tech company until its purchase by a global on-line e-business. Alyssa helped formulate marketing strategies for several other companies as an independent consultant, and she has advised local government on methods to achieve appropriate fiscal responsibility. Her opinions are well known through her many editorials which have been published throughout her career in a variety of local and national print media. She has been heard on radio discussing current issues affecting the business community and Alyssa hopes to bring her special brand of commonsense coupled with uncanny insight into her editorial responsibilities as the Business Page editor for Left Justified. Contact Alyssa at alyssa(at)

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