Sisterhood Blog

What's At Stake Tonight

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Voters cast their ballots in Macksburg, Iowa.

Tonight, as we bite our nails waiting for the election results to come in, it feels to me like there’s more at stake than just the vital policy issues I blogged about this morning.

Also hanging in the balance are the type of campaigns we encourage candidates to run as well as how much the media relies on facts and data — in interpreting policy and in gauging public opinion.

To the first point: There’s no question in this blogger’s mind that the Romney campaign has been incredibly dishonest — in its deceptive advertising, its candidate’s constant switching of positions and its refusal to answer policy questions. If Romney wins, it will open the gate for more and more candidates to run based on image projection and “bending with the wind” rather than actual ideas, plans and beliefs. This alarms me. After all, it’s not as though our electoral process is a particularly transparent and honest one to begin with. A Romney victory would be an opportunity to further muddy the waters, to further turn a serious election into a popularity contest.

Going hand and hand with that point is the enormous amount of third-party “dark money” from the likes of Sheldon Adelson that has been poured into negative advertising thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Like many TV viewers, I’ve been barraged by anti-Obama ads from millionaires like Adelson and the Koch brothers for weeks. If their efforts pay off, the free-for-all that has been campaign spending this season will continue to balloon, with tycoons rapidly outpacing unions and other progressive groups.

For me, the second category of election-related fears is the media’s version of reality. Case in point: The news media’s chatter about Nate Silver has arisen from his extremely statistical analysis of polls which have consistently predicted a greater chance of victory for the President. His reliance on a data-based algorithm has angered pundits on both sides who want to predict results based on a general feeling about “momentum.” Stephen Colbert summed up this mainstream reproach of Silver when he took him on (satirically, in character) the other night:

Naturally, Colbert — the man who invented the word “truthiness” — is not a fan of Silver and his “math.” You’re taking bread out of my kids’ mouths because I’m a pundit. Those of us in the punditocracy make our bread and butter by telling people what the truth is as we see it from our gut.

Even Silver has conceded that Romney might win — he just thinks Obama has a greater chance based in his model. But what disturbs me about this pseudo-controversy is that we’ve become a nation not only divided by ideology. We’re now divided by two separate sets of facts. In one, on MSNBC, Obama is probably going to win a close race based on polling — unless voter suppression efforts block youth and minority voters in key states. In another, on FOX, Romney has all the momentum. Is there anything at all we can agree on now?

Watch this short discussion from the final pre-election Ed Show, which brings up the schism over factual information.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sisterhood, mitt romney, election 2012, election, barack obama

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.