Do your duty.

Election Day Euphoria

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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I love Election Day.

And this is a good one, with lots of great stories. We have a former senator from Massachusetts trying to make a comeback in New Hampshire, and a former Republican senator running as an independent in South Dakota. In Kansas, an independent has an excellent chance of winning. As for gubernatorial elections, there are more toss-ups than you can shake a stick at, including a race in Alaska where the independent candidate is supported by both Democrats and former Governor Sarah Palin. The career of at least one Republican presidential candidate, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, hangs in the balance; at least one other, John Kasich of Ohio, would get a boost from an expected big win.

We'll probably get a new Senate majority, though there's still an unusual amount of uncertainty. We could get a Republican gubernatorial landslide -- in New England of all places. Or we could have a Republican sweep in the Senate, and major Democratic gains in governors along with large Republican pickups in state legislatures, despite all the talk of polarization and party voting. And we'll get the usual mix of new legislators in Washington and the states, all sorts of serious aspiring lawmakers and total crackpots.

I tend to mostly be interested in how small a portion of our democracy is involved in today's elections. Democracy is also in the complex workings of elites and activists within party networks, and in congressional committee rooms, and in interactions within issue networks, and in White House showdowns between the president and a reluctant senator.

But nothing beats the rituals of Election Day. I even like the annoying and useless "What Does It All Mean" stories. I love watching the spin. I love the weather stories, and the cheesy shots of the candidates voting. Roadside volunteers holding banners for their candidate, and more volunteers passing out last-minute campaign flyers just outside the no-campaign zone. Rumors and reports of polling-place bake sales. The interviews with voters who can peel off campaign talking points as if they were personal insights, and the oh-so-careful anchors not revealing what they know from the exit polls.

I could easily do without the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't do much for me -- and I really dislike the seventh inning "God Bless America" imposed by Bud Selig. But when Election Day comes around, I know I'm a patriotic citizen of the U.S.A.

So, Happy Election Day! Vote early, vote often!

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net