Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Land of the Midnight Stun

by Anonymous

As I write this, Stevens leads Begich in the race for Alaska senator. The race still hasn't been called, and in a small state in which half the population lives in one extremely red city, it may still flip. I couldn't find data about which precincts have already been counted.

BUT, the fact that Stevens is close at all made me wonder about the endogeneity of elections. Alaska represents something of an extreme case (as it does in most things): because of the time difference, national elections are often called by mid-afternoon local time. I wonder the extent to which Stevens' strong showing is a result of a significant number of Democrats staying home once they knew he [clarification: Obama!] had won and a significant number of Republicans turning out to prevent a Democrat sweep of both the white house and Congress.

Of course, it's another question altogether why so many Alaskan republicans, ostenstibly the party of "law-and-order" and "family values," would vote for a convicted felon. As a born-and-bred Alaskan, I have relatively little trouble telling plausible stories about this one. Alaskans fervently believe in their "frontier" image, and being skeptical of laws and judgments imposed on them by outsiders from the "lower 48" is part and parcel of this. After all, "lower 48" is both an observation about geography and an assessment of relative worth.

The other hypothesis is that Alaskans have grown giddy from being on the political map for a change, and it's completely clouded their judgment.

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