Into the crystal ball…dimly
While preparing for this end-of-year column, I found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor of my dimly lit den. Dressed in my best Swami headwear, which was decorated in old political buttons, in front of me was the scattered trappings and final results of past political races; and a jet black bowling ball. I was ready to become one with the old scarred ball; to gaze into it and once again predict the political future.
What followed was my vision of 2010:
The citizens will be more and more disgruntled with the current path of government and desiring another “change.” The numbers for attendance at “Rallies” and “Tea Parties” will drop, but the displeasure of the citizens for those in charge of our government will continue to grow. This will leave a broad spectrum of dissatisfaction with no one leader able to move the entire force in a single, concise direction.
Republicans will gain on a federal level in both the House and Senate, yet falling short of reclaiming a majority in either chamber. An opportunity lost due to splitting of votes by inter-party factions and political philosophies. Republican gains, however, will serve to re-level the field of political power in Washington, a natural correction toward balance rather than another complete shifting of power.
The 2010 elections will not be about big campaign bank accounts; they will be about small, citizen bank accounts. The people will vote to correct their economic perils.
The economy will remain flat and thus the political direction of change will be based on which party plays a better hand. Edge goes to the GOP. There is disappointment in the fact the Obama presidency did not change the economic world for the average citizen.
There is disappointment that the O’Malley Administration has taken advantage of state employees with continued furloughs. Both will lead to wanting continued change. Republicans who sell their change in a positive manner will be winners; those who sell to the negative will not.
Getting out the vote for candidates will be easier than prior election cycles because of the atmosphere of change. Candidates who sell themselves door-to-door and face-to face as “regular people” will be the winners. The citizens are upset with the decisions of all professional politicians and are ready to have a return to citizen-run government.
Citizens will have the opportunity to vote early and yet will still have to be coaxed to do their civic duty. Early voting will only serve to be another tool for the political parties and bring but few additional voters to the polls. The only benefit will be that of convenience to those voters who figured out by early voting they do not have to wait in line on Election Day.
Information will be faster, concentrated and concise. Social media will take a giant step into the lexicon of campaigns. Fewer dollars will be spent on mailers and more dollars on websites, Facebook ads, Google analytics and tweets. Political messaging will become accomplished in text messages of 160 characters or less. There will be less indirect and vague sentences in political information; and seemingly more personal communication will come right to your handheld device.
The end of the decade also triggers the census. We will again be counted and recorded for posterity…and gerrymandering. Maryland’s internal migration will show that middle class urbanites are fleeing the crime-infested sections of the cities, heading for suburbia for the preservation of their families. This shift will ripple outward into the counties deeper and deeper clogging even greater the agricultural lands that are not in preservation programs – and few, if any, of those programs are funded anymore.
Slot machines will begin to whistle and sing in parts of Maryland. Slots are a day late and a dollar short of where gaming income should have been, because of the wasted time of years of political infighting. Not being ahead of, or even on, the curve, Maryland is now a laggard and Johnny-come-lately in the world of gaming. This loss of income is the product of single party rule and political games. Slots will do little more than a slight boost to the local economy.
The Maryland Republican Party, once thought down for the count and ready for the field stretcher, is pulling itself up off the mat at the count of nine looking for the sucker punch opportunity. The pieces of the political puzzle are falling into place for the Party of Lincoln; the hazy part is not the desire or the ability but whether or not a message can be communicated! They need to raise money to spread the word, and opportunity is on their side. Their stock is very low, but I see a “buy” recommendation.
As quickly as the political visions of 2010 appeared in my trance, they then vanished. Continuing my stare I tried to look further because nothing was shown to me concerning the Maryland governor’s race. That was the one burning question I needing an answer to purport myself as the seer of all things political.
In anger I stood and half-heartedly kicked at the bowling ball. It slowly rolled a few feet on the worn carpet and stopped. Looking down at the ball I noticed a rubber band strung like a smile, stuck under the finger holes of the ball. It was the future showing me a big, dull black, round smiley face as if to say, “Your guess is as good as mine.”