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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Pre-election day indigestion
Jonathan Pait
November 4, 2002

I keep wondering if I am getting set up for a fall.

The numbers seem to indicate that nationally the Republican Party will fair well. Sure, there are the gubernatorial races that appear to be hanging in the balance. The Democrats have made much of this recently, but consider how many Republican governors are up for reelection and it is no surprise that they could lose some.

So, why am I not excited about the prospects? I just can't bring myself to give in to any feelings of optimism that sneak into my psyche. I think it all goes back to 1996.

Back during the '96 campaign I was just sure that there was no way Clinton would win the election. There was reason to be optimistic and the polls just couldn't be right. "Surely, the American people are too smart to put Clinton in there twice," I said to myself. I still remember the shock of watching the returns come in.

Oh, and don’t forget 1998 and Jim “Lottery Ticket” Hodges. We ended up over the next four years getting plenty of both Hodges and the lottery. Was it an anomaly or an indication of a shift?

Then there was this year's primary. It showed the fickleness of polling. Mark Sanford was assumed to be a distant third. At least the polls gave that impression at the midway point. Even at the end most pundits figured Peeler would pull it off. Well, the polls were wrong. Personally, the majority of the folks I voted for lost.

I'm starting to get a complex. Am I changing or are the people around me doing so? Am I growing more and more out of the mainstream without even trying? Election Day brings some apprehension -- not because I don't have good candidates for which to vote, but because I don't have assurance there are enough others that will vote the way I will.

Probably another reason for my fear is that it is hard to get a handle on those races closest to us. Has anybody seen any polling for local County Council races? I didn’t think so. Yet, as I talk to people who vote – but are not political activists, they seem uninformed and slightly apathetic. That is what scares me most of all.

Ah, but the good news is I really don't know how people are going to vote. The final tally is not based on my fears and intuition. There really are enough of us to make the difference. We just simply need to be motivated and get like-minded neighbors and ourselves to the polls.

In 1996, my pre-election excitement was dashed by a Clinton win. I hope in 2002, my current apprehension will transform to euphoria over a GOP sweep.

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