I just got done reading another in a long line of defeatist opinions about the upcoming election. This one is from John McIntire in the City Paper. Like many others, it argues that while Luke Ravenstahl is a childish dunce and a horrible goof, everybody is going to vote for him anyway. And given the registration ratio, that might be the case. But I think it deserves a bit more analysis. That is, if all this is true, what's it say about Pittsburgh?
Usually in a case like this, pundits find a way to get around calling "the people" knuckleheads. They find a way to blame what's happening on "the system." Usually this takes the form of blaming MONEY in politics. You know. The bad guy just has too much, he can buy too many commercials on TV and radio. The good guy can't overcome that kind of media presence and power. But that's not the case here. I have yet to see a a Ravenstahl commercial. And really... does anyone believe anyone is voting for Ravenstahl because his picture is on the 311 billboard?
What usually comes next is some concerns about "organization." That the political machine just has too many people--too many yards with too many signs getting out the word. But in my neighborhood, at least, all the signs are for DeSantis. And this is a neighborhood packed with anti-Bush paraphernalia. So it's not like I live between a Cheney and a Santorum.
So where does that leave us? What does this mean? If we can't blame it on money or organization, how can we explain this? How can so many people be so wrong about something that is so obvious? One answer, I guess, is that the chattering class has it all wrong and Ravenstahl is really a boy genius and a great mayor. But... come on.
If the chattering class isn't full of idiots, is the wider electorate? While I am cynical about a lot of things, I am skeptical of that claim.
I guess it all comes down to registration. Old habits. The fact that all those people are Democrats. And thus vote for Democrats. I guess they might do it reflexively.
So the question then becomes is there anything to do about it? Is the problem that people aren't paying attention? I think that might be the case if this were a debate about zoning laws. But this is front-page, tabloid journalism stuff. Billionaires and drunken antics and misappropriated SUVs. So as far as these things go, I would say this actually is in the public eye. And still...
My question is, what do voters fear with regard to a Republican mayor? He can't take us to war. He can't overturn Roe v. Wade.
I understand that a lot of folks might actually think Ravenstahl is the better guy. Fair enough. But I have a hard time believing that people actually believe that in the proportions that will deliver the ass-kicking so many are predicting for DeSantis.
In the end, I am not sure where this post is going. It's more my own curiosity. Seeing that money hardly seems to be an issue, and barring the idea that people are stupid... how to explain the disconnect between the chattering class and "the people" in this election? I have not lived here my whole life, so I don't have a mom or dad or Uncle Charlie to ask. But some of you do. So exactly why are the old-line voters going to pull the lever for Ravenstahl? Is it actually mindless? Are they paying attention at all? Do they just think he's the better guy? What?
And what might it take to change their minds? Is that beyond imagination? A lot of people think it is. And they might be right. But I thought it might be worth asking. What's Uncle Charlie afraid of? Do all Uncle Charlie's work for the Redd Up crew or something? Or is something else at work here? I mean, I can't even find anyone trying to make a CASE for Ravenstahl. Which sounds a lot like the woman who couldn't BELIEVE Nixon got elected because she didn't know anyone who voted for him. But look. I am pleading guilty on that score. I am admitting that I am out of touch with the people on this one.
So... can anyone explain the people to me? I'm new here.