Super Tuesday last week was a big deal. Arizona’s John McCain (he picked up New York and California) and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney bowed out of the race. On the Democratic side, Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are neck-and-neck.
So tomorrow’s vote, called the Potomac Primary or the Chesapeake Primary depending on which news director is on duty, is important to all camps. It takes in two very, very affluent areas, the Maryland and Virginia burbs of the District of Columbia which is a blend of poverty and extreme wealth with a huge middle class. All three areas are chock full of members of the federal-military-contractor family. The average federal salary here (and this does NOT include members of Congress and other officials) is just over $90,000 a year.
Suburban Maryland, Baltimore City and D.C. are solidly Democratic. Virginia is a toss-up state: Once Democratic, then Republican, Virginia is now hard-to-call.
The governors of Virginia and Maryland, hoping to win a place on the vice presidential short-list, have endorsed Clinton, and Obama respectively. The Mayor of D.C., is in the Obama camp. Sen. Clinton has promised to work for statehood for D.C., if elected.
The metro Washington area has, in many respects, become the tale that wags the dog for both Virginia and Maryland. The Washington-Baltimore region alone as nearly 8 million people. The Maryland and Virginia suburbs of D.C., are generally much richer (and more politically liberal) than other parts of their respective states, especially in statewide and national elections.
Many downstate Virginians refer to the Northern part of the state as the Peoples Republic of Virginia! Many upstate Virginians refer to the southwest and Tidewater areas as, well, never mind…
About one in 8 people in the metro area (maybe more) either works for the government, is in uniform, or retired from federal service. The way the current and former feds vote (and they do) could tip the scales in the Potomac Primary.
Which brings me to this: Are most federal workers Democrats? Think about it. Your coworkers, your car pool, yourself. There are two important groups of politicians who believe this to be true. They are:
Most Republicans, and
How do I know? Well, scientifically, I don’t. But I talk to a lot of people, listen to a lot of people, and listen to what politicians say in public and in private. I may be wrong, but to paraphrase Charles Barkley, I doubt it.
Federal and postal unions speak for lots of people. Some they “represent” and some who actually pay dues. The unions traditionally hitch their wagons to a donkey, not the elephant.
The fact that so many people believe most feds favor Democrats, at least in presidential elections, has created an interesting situation. That is that Democrats take feds for granted ,and Republicans assume they are the enemy. Those are generalizations, to be sure, but it’s what a lot of people believe.
If you’ve been around long enough, try to compare the attitude of political appointees during the Clinton vs. Bush administrations. Was one really better than the other? If so, which? Adjusted for age (you’ve changed too) it might be an interesting comparison.
Anyhow if you live in Potomac Primary territory, vote tomorrow. Early and often. And if you have any thoughts about the situation, pass them on. We’ll let them know what you are thinking.
The Nearly Useless Factoid
Just in time for Lincoln’s Birthday tomorrow, according to the website Trivia-Library.com, Abraham Lincoln was the only President ever to obtain a patent. In 1849 he invented a complicated device for lifting ships over dangerous shoals by means of “buoyant air chambers.” Much to Lincoln’s disappointment, U.S. Patent No. 6,469 was never put into practical littoral use.