We Are a Purple State

We Are a Purple State

Our election process is in deep trouble. No cause is more important today than salvaging our democracy, which slides toward plutocracy through increased big-money control of political campaigns…

We are already in something of a trap since few in Juneau and none in D.C. are there without decisive support from big donors. A partner in one of the consulting firms that profit from the existing federal multimillion-dollar system suggested that a very bad Begich commercial, produced by his firm, couldn’t have mattered much since the winning margin was in the thousands. Surely one (hypothetically) bad ad couldn’t make a difference. He is using the wrong statistic. That election was decided by 2 percent…

Mr. Duffy also opined that a loss was all but inevitable because Alaska was a red state. D.C. consultants are long on deft ads but short on local knowledge. Alaska is a purple state. The mix of red and blue independents far outnumbers Dems and Reps. Independents decide most elections.

There is another factor that makes American elections something of an embarrassment to democracy: voter ignorance. That big purple cloud contains millions of people who don’t know much about public policy and are persuadable by pap. Billions are now spent on vacuous political advertising carrying not a tenth of the actually useful information carried by a public television, Chamber of Commerce or League of Women Voters debate or even the state pamphlet.

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