Hurricane Sandy has left most of the east coast completely devastated. Nearly 65% of New Jersey is still without power. West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and some parts of Ohio got two to three feet of snow. There are still hundreds of thousands if not millions of people without power in the five boroughs of New York, and Staten Island was nearly wiped off the map. The east coast was in no way prepared to withstand a hurricane such as Sandy. Everything is either damaged or destroyed. While everyone is waiting to get power back, searching for gasoline, cleaning out fridges, and in many unfortunate cases trying to decide how to rebuild homes and businesses, the election is still going to happen on November 6th.
Now it seems like an extremely obvious statement, to say that the hurricane is going to affect the election, but when the history books look back at this election, the turning point highlights are going to speak about the debates and the significance of hurricane Sandy.
How is the election going to be affected?
First thing we need to talk about are disenfranchised voters. These are voters who will not be able to vote or people who will be physically incapable of voting. Now many people in the conservative media are saying that the east coast is already decidedly blue. I would agree historically most east coast districts go towards democrats. The problem is that they are also historically close. If the districts in New York that got hit the hardest by the hurricane have a low turn out it really could change the outcome of the election. If Romney wins New York there is no chance the president can win the election. Now don’t get me wrong. There is still a very strong chance that the president will win New York. All I am saying is that because of this hurricane the president is going to have to sweat out New York and most of the North East coast.
Second, the gas shortage, the disenfranchised voters, now increases due to the gas shortage. Polling stations can be difficult to get to. Public transportation is still out or not running in many cases. If those people want to use their cars, they might not have gas or are really trying to conserve gas. So they can’t drive to the polls. So now you have a significant group of people who are going to decide not to vote because they physically can’t get to the places they need to vote. Also in many cases the decision is, do I use the gas for my generator to heat my home and keep my food cold, or do I use it in my car to go vote.
Finally you have the unfortunate people who were devastated by the hurricane. These are people who either lost their homes, businesses, cars, or in some cases all three. At this point, those people could really care less about a presidential election. Many people would say, “Well it is more important now for them to care then ever”. When you are trying think about rebuilding your home, or trying to think about where your children are going to sleep or get there next meal, are you really going to care about voting? It’s unfortunate because the outcome of the election will answer those questions, but still there will undoubtedly be a lot of people who could care less about politics when they don’t know where there next paycheck, meal, or bed is coming from. The one thing you can be sure of on Tuesday is that the voter turn out will be very low for the east coast, we won’t know badly until Tuesday.