Mea Culpa. Horse race stories have a very seductive quality to it for people interested in politics, with lots of drama about how it's all going to turn out in the end. I have allowed myself to get seduced into writing far too much about horse race junk and not enough about the substance of the race.
I promise you, it's not through any plan of mine. I'm not intelligent enough to produce any such plan for any particular goal I might have. It's just that the competition between candidates, especially with the nuanced differences of an intra-party race, has been too sexy for me to resist. It's just seemed that the stories about the candidates, and their relative positions, have been the stories that called out to me whenever I sat down to the keyboard. I ask for your forgiveness for my weakness in resisting the call.
I'm not going to promise never to write horse race articles again, because competition between candidates is important in its own way. There will need to be much consideration of the fundraising statistics from the first quarter of 2006, soon to come our way, for example. However, I do promise to do my best to temper such articles with a heavier dose of the same kind of substance on the issues that I have asked our Democratic candidates to provide.
As a gesture in that direction, I've replaced this week's horse race poll about the Democratic candidates of New York's 24th District with a new poll, which asks for opinion not about the best candidate, but about the most important issue.
It's a story that really does need to be told. Let's forget for a minute which candidates are ahead. Which issues are ahead? What are the ideological dimensions along which this race will be decided, and upon which wise candidates will place their greatest emphasis?
Please note that I don't expect this poll to be exactly representative of widespread voter sentiment in the 24th congressional district. Instead, the poll is intended as a measurement of the priorities of the people who visit this blog. I happen to know that the visitors to this blog include a number of local political leaders - Democratic committee members, holders of public office, and campaign workers. Committed political activists in our district also are frequent visitors here, along with some more typical voters.
Still, it's fair to say that, although this blog's readership is skewed toward the politically interested, the political philosophies of the active political minds of our district are quite diverse. The arguments here between readers in the comments sections are evidence enough of that.
Besides, voters in off-year elections and in off-year primary elections especially, are much more politically aware and interested than the average registered voter. So, I'm hoping that this poll will provoke some consideration and discussion.
I've listed the issues that come to the top of my mind on this poll, but there's a selection on the end of the poll for "other". If that's the selection that appeals to you most, please explain what issue is on your mind in the comments section of this post.