Of course the Chronicle – the state of California’s liberal newspaper located in America’s most liberal big city – didn’t endorse Carly Fiorina either, but no one in the state expected that would happen.
However, the fact that the Chronicle’s editorial board couldn’t find it in itself to support Barbara Boxer’s 4th Senate term is news. There’s debate as to how much weight endorsements carry with voters, but the refusal to endorse a candidate which it has supported in the past is indeed something voters should sit up and notice.
The most positive thing the paper could say about Boxer was she was a “reliable liberal vote”. But it also called Boxer a Senator of little note or accomplishment and one whose only claim to fame is her rabid partisanship.
The Chronicle is not at all enamored with Carly Fiorina’s politics which should surprise no one. But the editors all but say, “but for her politics, she’d be our choice”.
It is an odd and rare sort of editorial that you should take the time to read if, for no other reason than to understand the anti-incumbency movement has reached even into the editorial rooms of newspapers. There’s also something else important captured in the first sentence in the non-endorsement:
Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year.
Replace California with “Americans” and “US Senate” for “any national office” and make "choice" plural and you pretty well sum up the reason for the rise of the Tea Party, the unrest on the left, the confusion in the middle and the large majority that continues to say, in poll after poll, that the country is on the wrong track.
California’s Senate race is a microcosm of races all over the US and the Chronicle’s non-endorsement reflects the feelings many voters have as they consider the candidates they’re left with, with rare exceptions. This continues to be what the GOP is missing as it attempts to run (and support) the same old people for office. They’ve done nothing to search out and recruit the candidates for which the voters are literally clamoring. Thus the rise of insurgent candidates in GOP primaries.
“Politics as usual” or “establishment politics” if you prefer, are under attack. While there are certainly specifics in law, legislation or among issues that are important to voters, their general frustration is mostly driven by the fact that they’re unable to meaningfully change a political system in any fundamental way that they view as non-responsive and broken.
Instead they see an out of touch, out of control Leviathan blindly charging ahead and spending us into ruin whose only concern for the desires of the people manifests itself at reelection time. And, as soon as the offices are again secured for the appropriate time period, they are quickly forgotten in the world of party politics and special interests. As the SF Chronicle implies, Barbara Boxer is this problem’s poster child.
The first party that truly dedicates itself to defining and executing a plan that fundamentally changes the system under which we suffer now and makes it more responsive and reactive to the will of the electorate is the party that will rise in prominence and remain there for the foreseeable future.