The Presidential Campaign Is Just Not That Into Massachusetts
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Congrats, dear Massachusetts voter, because for you, the presidential campaign is basically over. The weeks of political conventions asked a lot of you. Both your network television watching and your news consumption were probably dominated by conventions during a month when not much else was happening. But now, the Romney and Obama campaigns enter a 60-day stretch of final campaigning, and as The Globe noted in a post-convention piece on Sunday, both campaigns are just not that into you:
… the reality is the presidential campaign will hardly exist — at least in terms of candidate appearances and advertising dollars — in the vast majority of the country. States such as California and New York are ceded to Obama, while Texas and many southern states are presumed to be Romney territory. If candidates show up in those places, the main purpose will probably be to raise money that will be spent elsewhere.
This is a strange situation during which the well-funded campaigns focus in on the narrow category that is a few undecided voters in a few undecided states—The Globe names Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and Wisconsin. Or as the New York Post‘s John Podhoretz tweets:
Romney and Obama will spend $400 million trying to convince maybe 7 million people.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 10, 2012
You, Massachusetts voter (or California voter, or New York voter, or Hawaii voter, or Louisiana voter …) are not among those 7 million. When a campaign stretches for nearly two years (remember Herman Cain? No, neither do we) this feels almost relieving, but of course it’s not entirely representative of how we’ll experience the next couple months. Sure the campaigns might ignore us blue staters, but we might have more trouble ignoring the campaigns. Why?
It’s still national news: This one’s obvious. The whole nation is, you know, mildly curious how this whole thing will turn out. Tons of stories that take place on only a slim section of geography—a hurricane for instance—dominate national headlines, and a presidential race has pretty good reason to grab our media’s attention, too. Sure, Florida and Ohio might prove decisive, but we’re not electing the President of Ohio. Given that Americans increasingly get their news from the internet rather than local papers, non-swing voters will still read and watch a lot of the campaign happenings from a national perspective. What the campaign’s focus on a few states means is that they won’t watch campaign ads.
Just kidding, you’ll watch campaign ads. Among those few states still in play is our northerly neighbor: New Hampshire. And since much of Massachusetts fits into media markets that serve New Hampshire, we’ll still be subjected to the most irritating part of an intense campaign: ads.
Down ticket races still exist: Uninspiring as it is, there’s a much-watched Senate race going on in Massachusetts. With Elizabeth Warren seeking to make it about the national Republican party, and Scott Brown putting the president in his commercials, expect lots of national politics in your living room.
So yes, we may have been premature declaring the race over, after all. But the end is in sight, people. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to obsessively read some campaign coverage … something about a pizza dude picking up Obama.