NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / May 16, 2022 / As the midterm elections near, the stakes for both parties continue to grow. Thirty-six states are electing governors in November. There are 20 Republican incumbents and 16 Democrats up for reelection. Thirty-four Senate seats and all 435 positions in the House of Representatives are up for grabs as well. Countless other local races around the nation, from school boards, to mayors, to state judges, will also dictate critical local policies.
'The issues being debated in those local races are previews of what candidates may face on a national level,' says veteran local TV journalist David Friend.
With four-decades of experience covering local politics as a former senior vice president of local news fora major network TV station, David Friend shares some signs that may forecast what's to come in the national elections.
'All Politics is Local'
'All politics is local,' says David Friend. 'I've seen that axiom prove itself many times over, as each state has its own unique issues, but these trends scale as well, and there are some nationwide signs that will be important to watch.'
David Friend goes on to note that over his 40 years covering local news, he's found the majority of voters to be in the center, tending to take the measure of their local elected officials by their ability to provide for basic requirements.
'They want their families to be safe in their neighborhoods, they want to be free from financial worry, and they want a good education for their children in which they have some say,' remarks David Friend.
Crime will always be a concern for voters in the U.S. If all politics is local, then crime is the most local issue of them all. The vast majority of all crimes are handled by municipal law enforcement offices, neighborhoods form watch groups to spot troubling behavior, and local news stations typically lead off their broadcasts with the most-attention grabbing news of the day, which often happens to be crime. While the severity and type of crime may differ by zip code (for a litany of socioeconomic reasons), crime is ubiquitous, and it is attention grabbing regardless of how prevalent the threat of it is.
'Parents especially watch for trends in this area, and if this issue that feels local is also plastered all over national news, it will be an issue they take with them to the ballot box,' says David Friend. 'We have seen rising numbers of violent crimes in the last few years, and local lawmakers, especially those in large cities looking to progress the system, have faced increased scrutiny in the wake of those numbers.'
Mask requirements for students can also be particularly indicative of what's to come, as it's proven to be a hot and divisive issue. David Friend suggests keeping an eye on local school board meetings to gauge the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction over classroom mask mandates. This core issue of the past two years could be highly motivating for voters who might otherwise stay home on election day.
'Never underestimate the power of parents,' says David Friend. 'We are emerging from an unprecedented pandemic that created huge disruptions in the lives of school-age children,' remarks David Friend. 'Questions for how to move forward with COVID precautions could be a critical factor when moms and dads cast their votes.'
Response to State Budgets
David Friend also points to recently passed state budgets as a key factor to watch. New state and municipal budgets take a while to push through, and taxpayers are often given a more direct platform to voice their displeasure with the minute details of these bills. While budgets at various levels of government vastly differ, locals often see these budgets as indicators of top-down priorities and expenditures of taxpayer money across all levels.
'In interview after interview I conducted when I was a local TV journalist, voters continuously expressed the desire for politicians to care and show concern for taxpayer money as if it were their own money,' remembers David Friend.
'Is your state headed in the right direction?'
David Friend says another important sign of how local voters will cast their ballots in November are polls that ask, 'Is your state headed in the right direction?'
'In my experience, that question is a critical gauge for insight into what voters are thinking,' says David Friend. 'It takes into account crime, taxes, and quality of life issues that voters are confronted with on a daily basis, and provides an even more important context, a gut reaction. Voters take those sentiments with them straight into the voting booth.'
David Friend also suggests that those interested in what's to come in the political arena study local elections from the past year or so. The most hotly contested races are the most likely to give hints about where the state is headed.
'Local issues have the ability to galvanize a national reaction now more than any other time in our history. As every detail of the process and aftermath of these elections is displayed across media, the sentiment of the community could easily spill over into national elections,' says David Friend.
David Friend acknowledges that these aren't the only issues that matter to voters, but he explains that looking at recent voting patterns and public discourse involving these issues in particular gives a good roadmap for trends to watch as we draw closer to election day.
Contact: Andrew Mitchell
SOURCE: Scenic Figure
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