My freshman college roommate flew back east and invited me to go see The Daily Show with some other friends from WPI. We got in line around 2 p.m. for the 6 p.m. taping. This gave us plenty of time to catch-up and shoot the breeze. Meanwhile the crew was rather supportive and handed out water to make sure everyone was well hydrated and let us into the studio a bit early. The studio is rather small and almost resembles being inside a warehouse. It seems to fit around two hundred people and luckily if you are able to get a seat you have a great view.
Before the show began they sent out a warm-up comedian to get the energy flowing and explained to us how the taping works. They use a method called live-to-tape. This means that the show is recorded in (mostly) a single shot and the audience has microphones above them to record their laughter. The Daily Show does not use laugh tracks. They did do a second take on the portion of the show about Charlie Rangel which was then spliced back into the show during editing. After that Stewart answered questions from the audience before they began taping. Finally the experience ended with the recording of a monologue for the global edition of the show. Overall it was a fantastic experience and well worth the nothing that was paid for it.
A little late because I’ve had a rather busy couple of days. However I wanted to share some thoughts on the primary results. The media has been reporting on the low turnout levels and the Courant suggests that low turnout can be attributed to lack of avenues to participation. A reader suggests that negative campaigning and a lack of good candidates caused the low turnout. I do not believe that either of these are the cause. I think the voters are apathetic towards these primaries and that this is reflected in the turnout. For the past month voters have been inundated with direct mail, phone calls, television, and everything else. The election was not some kind of secret. <p>The lack of interest in the primaries makes me wonder whether the primaries themselves are worth the taxpayer money spent on them. I’m referring not to the CEP but to the administrative costs of actually putting together the elections. I do not make the suggestion lightly, but maybe these primary contests are not worth the effort. If not a convention maybe we could find some alternative method to choose our candidates. The important thing is to do it in a way that saves money, allows people who are not engaged all year to become engaged, and might also save everyone else the pain and drama of a drawn out contest.</p><p></p><p>This election also showed that money is not the entire election equation. Many cynics suggested that Dan Malloy and other candidates would not be able to compete with the millions of dollars that Ned Lamont or Tom Foley would spend on their races. However Malloy was outspent by a four to one ratio ($2.5 to $10 Million) and managed to win with a comfortable 16% margin. At the same time Mike Fedele only lost by three points against Tom Foley after being outspent by him. The record amount of money spent by the candidates did not create a record turnout and it did not manage to create the wins these candidates should have seen if money could buy the election. Instead other factors, many intangible such as the field operation, mood of the voters, and sweat equity played a big role in deciding the outcomes. Money does matter but it suffers from diminishing marginal returns and can only take you so far.</p><p>The big loser in this election was the Quinnipiac Poll. I don’t know what they were doing but I think something is wrong with their polling operation because they did not seem to do a great job of predicting some of the races.</p><p>People have also been making comments about the negative advertisements. I’m not entirely convinced that they were the impetus for the low turnout or for the surprising results in the Democratic and Republican primaries but they certainly were noticed.</p><p></p>
Since it's Sunday several news outlets have pre-primary commentary. CTNewsJunkie had two interesting pieces. The first one I wanted to bring attention to is the video:
Having worked on campaigns before I shouldn't be surprised by the number of people that rely on the political ads for information but I find it a bit disappointing. I think that this explains why money is a factor in these races because the candidates with more money are the ones that get to communicate with the voters. I would have thought more people would check out some of the emerging online news sources like CTNewsJunkie or CTMirror but the audience for these still seems a bit limited.
You can stream it via CT-N. They are currently discussing their fix including increasing the CEP grant to gubernatorial candidates to $6 Million.<p>Not many tweets about this yet, but Matt Lesser and Gary Holder-Winfield usually do a great job of tweeting about these sessions.</p><p>UPDATE: Also found an article about the earlier Senate Session from CT News Junkie.</p>
A recent Capitol Watch blog entry shares the experiences of House Minority Leader Larry Cafero campaigning door-to-door. He notes that:<blockquote><p>[C]itizens are distracted by any number of issues . . . they’re thinking about everything from getting a root canal to firing up the casserole.</p></blockquote><blockquote>“When they log onto their computers at work,” Cafero said, “They see Lindsay Lohan’s picture in the corner, and she’s doing 90 days in jail. They’re not focused now.’’</blockquote>
This presents a sharp contrast from the daily rush of commercials, blog entries, and other issues that the state’s politicos are currently pre-occupied with. However it also shows a level of disengagement by the Connecticut electorate that is disappointing. Unfortunately when talking with my less politically engaged friends I get a similar reaction. They either are not interested or believe that the politicians are the “same old” ones they’ve been dealing with for years.
I do not know what the secret to getting people excited about a Connecticut politician or just Connecticut in general. However, I think that stimulating that passion and vision in everyone will be key to the future of our state in the coming years. Otherwise jobs and young people will continue to slip away.