No Matter What We Do, the Election Has to Leak Into Hurricane Sandy


Serious conviction: Most of New York’s media folk are stuck indoors, looking for something to write about to fill blogs with content. Guilty as charged myself. However, while social media collapses with updates of Sandy’s destruction, there have been flares of America’s severe electoral illness. Symptoms include: taking any event and asking “What does this mean for the election?”

Given, the election is a week away (yeah . . . we know) so it’s only natural that we think of the near future. But there’s something to be said about the election leaking into a national crisis or the act of politicizing the wrath of Mother Nature — we reported on a similar all-political-everything matter involving Romney and hurricanes a few months back, when he told a woman to “Call 2-1-1” if the going gets rough. There’s also something to be said when we’re talking more about the implications for the election than its possible correlation to, uhm, global warming.
Here’s a couple of ‘Sandy’s impact’ narratives that I’ve come across on the Interwebs: 1) Romney pledged to cut FEMA (and then re-pledged), which will come back to bite him in the ass now; 2) studies of incumbent presidents losing elections when it’s shitty out; 3) studies of voter backlash on presidents during weather-related crises; 4) voters will think Obama is more “presidential” signing emergency declarations for Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and 5) a combination of previous points with additional “What about the children?”-like questions.
Also, here’s the sad truth for bloggers: The storm will not affect the election.
Easy explanation for that: Dealing with the storm has nothing to do with creating jobs. Do we honestly think the unemployed worker cares about FEMA funding at this point? The economy spelled backwards is not Hurricane Sandy, and, no matter the realities at hand, that is what this election is all about. And the media should know that better than anyone.
However, the media can’t be blamed for all of this (we’re nice when you get to know us, we swear). Finding or looking for the meaning in everything is the human condition in the age of infinite media; with so many outlets screaming at once, an association bursts into a variability of way too many possibilities. In other words, the connection between Election 2012 and Sandy will naturally spur hundreds of different headlines. Once we realize it’s our own collective flaw, we can give ourselves advice.
Like this: Guys, there’s a serious event that lived up to the overhype we diagnosed it with. We’ll deal with the election later. Romney and Obama will be just fine. For now, let’s watch out for one another. Deal?