Politics as Usual

Torch office, Tuesday, 11 p.m.- Election returns are still coming in, slower than usual since predictions normally based on Voter News Services’ exit polls aren’t being released due to suspected inaccuracies.

Nail-biting in the office is at an all time high.

The New York gubernatorial race could have been called a week ago, but a staff made up of students from the Deep South to the West Coast gives a broad meaning to “local concerns.” One of the office computers has been dedicated to checking media outlets for updates every ten minutes, and even then we have to wait before we can get results for the smaller races.

The atmosphere is appropriate for this election cycle. The tight balance of power in the Senate has pushed every close race in the country into national headlines, the outcome of each one vitally important to the nature of political discourse for the next two years.

Most of us are rooting for a Democrat victory, but even the most left-wing among us hold out little hope that the final tally will result in a public policy significantly more liberal than the current one.

A just distribution of wealth in America translates into a tax cut in which 40 percent of the benefits go to the wealthiest one percent of the nation. Foreign aid to Africa has been slashed, despite the skyrocketing rate of AIDS infection. A Democrat led Senate passed the Patriot Act, a bill which entailed invasions of privacy rivaled only by Operation TIPS. Unemployment is still high, our sledgehammer approach to foreign policy continues to push us towards another war with or without the UN’s support and people are still being illegally held without due process.

We do not mean to suggest that there is no difference between the two parties-far from it-but the field of political debate has slowly moved to the right and stayed there, despite a Democrat majority in the Senate. The last of the New Deal Democrats is dead, and the current neoliberalism is conservative enough that it presents no real antithesis to a Republican White House.

The outcome of this cycle won’t bring about the end of our way of life or change how politics plays out in the United States, but given the current state of affairs, that’s the problem.