The Virginia Elections Are Over

As we wake up on the 6th of November, 2013, the Commonwealth of Virginia has concluded its election cycle.  And most of the results are in.  But it is not the results so much as the rhetoric around them that I want to discuss.

There are a number of Monday Morning quarterbacks that will be slicing and dicing the win of Terry McAuliffe.  There are many who will be crowing that the challenger, Ken Cuccinelli kept the vote close.  And in fact, the margin between the two candidates is only 55,420 votes.  Barely the margin of error.  Mr. Cuccinelli, in his speech was even heard to say that this was a referendum on the Affordable Care Act and the message was heard loud and clear in Washington. It is at this point that I put my hand up and ask, “did you even look at the numbers?”

Mr. Cuccinelli, a favorite of the Tea Party, has been arguing, despite other legal opinions to the contrary, that the ACA is a violation of the Constitution and the rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  He ran his campaign on it and as Attorney General of Virginia brought the first suit against it before the votes in Congress had been fully counted. As I said he lost by a little over 50,000 votes.  According to the numbers, a bit more than 2% of the total vote.  But before we start lifting up the new governor elect, or paying attention to the loser’s trumpeting, we need to look closer.

Mr. McAuliffe won the election with 1,064,016, Mr. Cuccinelli had 1,008,596. In total only 2,217,907 people voted in the election for Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 2 million people.  Let me put this in perspective.  The population of the City of Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth, is 210,309.  The population of the County of Fairfax, the population is 1.119 million. The entire population of the Commonwealth is 8 million. The total voter turn out for the election of Governor – the man who will run the Commonwealth of Virginia for the next four years was half of the total population of her most populated county.  If I added up the population of the entire National Capital Area, I would have a population in excess of two million people.

Now, there are those that will complain that not everyone in Fairfax, or Richmond, is eligible to vote, and that is a fair argument, so I went to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s voter registration site and downloaded the number of voters.  It is quite an interesting spreadsheet.  Based on the number of active voters in the Commonwealth, there should have been about 4 million people vote.  So less than half of what the Commonwealth identifies as active voters bothered to vote.  But to address the pundits who will argue that this election was a referendum of the viability of the Tea Party, or a vote against the  ACA, or even a vote for normalization, I ask you to consider this.  In the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to their own registrations, there are over 5 million registered voters in the Commonwealth. So while the turnout could be argued to be high for an off-year election, it was not even 50% of eligible voters. The new governor was elected with barely 1/5 of the voters in the Commonwealth casting a ballot.  This is not a mandate. It is barely a majority (as 1/5 voted against him). Yet clearly 3/5s of all eligible voters did not care enough to vote.

The take away is this. This election was little more than a blip.  Yes, we who live in the Commonwealth will have to live with the results for the next four years, but as the yelling and screaming about who won rebounds around the nation, remember this – it really does not mean anything.  So do not read anything into this. It was just a local election.

It is only November 1

I have a bone to pick with Starbucks. No, it is not about their product, but about their need to “rush” the season.  Today is November 1, not December 1, yet today the “Christmas cups” have debuted to replace their normal white cups for the “Holiday” season.

Companies that push the Christmas season earlier and earlier bother me. There is no reason why we should be decking the halls before the first of December.  Christmas and its consumption based marketing machine is already long enough at 25 days. We do not need companies pushing it before Hallowe’en – as KMart and Walmart have already done with this year’s season. Do we just leave the tree up all year long?!

If you want me to think good of your company, you will not get into the “holiday” mood until December 1.  I am willing to overlook those that feel that the first Friday after Thanksgiving is the start of the season, but only a bit.  And if you want me to actually buy from your company, you will not be celebrating in my face on the day after Hallowe’en.

National Novel Writing Month Is Here

It is that time of year again, time for that group of crazy people who feel they have the “Great <insert nation> Novel” buried somewhere deep inside them just straining to break out.  It is NaNo time!

For those not familiar with this annual marathon, it is a chance for you, the budding novelist, to sit down and write that story. The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days (about 1,600 words a day).  And while it seems like a big commitment, I am pretty sure it is something most people can do.  I know some NaNoIsts that pass 200,000 words.  Some people prepare for the year before hand, others, like me, just sit down on Day One and write. In either case, it is time to write!

See you in December!