Four-year-old Abigael tearfully expressed the impatience of a nation exhausted by this year’s campaign in a YouTube video that has generated more than 12 million hits in the last week. Abi, we feel your pain.
Election Day 2012 feels less hopeful, less energized than 2008.
We’ll know when votes are counted this evening whether the President is reelected. Final polls suggest he will be. The response is likely to look muted compared to Election Night four years ago.
In Oregon, with no marquee races for U.S. Senate or governor to draw media interest and millions in campaign spending, the contests for Secretary of State and Labor Commissioner have generated modest interest.
While Oregon remains the most active direct democracy state – we were the first state to allow citizen initiatives and referenda, and we’ve decided more issues by ballot measure than any other state – this year’s biggest ballot measure story was the decision by backers of three measures on the ballot to withdraw support before voters got their ballots.
Backers of Measure 81, a proposal to ban gillnet fishing on the Columbia, dropped their support and recommended voters defeat their measure. (Our firm was retained by Salmon for All PAC to help make sure voters said NO.)
The biggest surprise was the decision by casino backers to walk away from some $6 million spent this year to pass two measures that would create a commercial casino in Wood Village. The idea seemed snake-bit from the start.
This year was the third election cycle proponents had tried to qualify their measures. In 2008 they failed to qualify any measure. In 2010, they qualified a statutory measure but not the essential constitutional change.
Spending $1 million this cycle, they qualified both measures required. But their disingenuous ads and an ill-considered idea to name their project The Grange (invoking the well-respected agricultural advocacy group) increased voter opposition.
The week before ballots were scheduled to be mailed, after investing some $5 million in campaign advertising, backers backed down.
So, tonight I’ll watch some returns. Tomorrow Abigael and I will be relieved knowing that the nonsense of the 2012 campaigns will have run its course, allowing our TV shows, Facebook, Twitter, news coverage and mailboxes to get back to celebrity gossip, viral videos and Holiday shopping.
Happy Election Day.