How will Sandy affect the election?

Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012 in Politics

How will Sandy affect the election?

by Gina Hamilton

Hurricane Sandy struck the crucial east coast a week before the national election.  It is not yet known how voting will be able to take place in many coastal areas.  No natural disaster has ever postponed an election, however, and it is likely that this year will be no different.  Federal law requires elections to take place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and any change would lead to lawsuits.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he was not concerned about the impact of the storm on the election; he was more concerned about the impact on families, first responders, the economy, and the transportation network.

Governor Mitt Romney urged people at special "storm relief rallies" to donate to the Red Cross ... including donations the NGO cannot accept ... during a campaign swing through Ohio.

The storm won't have a severe impact on the election in the coastal states where the greatest damage occurred ... neither New York nor New Jersey are swing states.  However, Sandy may have an effect in other places, far from the front lines of the electoral college.

In 2011, candidate Mitt Romney said, in response to a question by CNN debate moderator John King, that he would eliminate FEMA and turn over the responsibility for first responders and long term financial support over to the states ... or better yet, leave it to private enterprise. This occurred shortly after the Joplin, Missouri tornado, and in the face of pressing cash needs to pay for natural disasters which were being stymied by the Republican House:

“Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Predictably, the Romney camp is disavowing this claim now that the east coast has at least a $20 + billion disaster on their hands, which no state can deal with on its own.  It's hard to imagine that the Obama camp, or one of their PACs, isn't already splicing together audio of Romney's primary vow to abolish FEMA with video of one of the largest disasters to hit the U.S. since Katrina to be shown in the waning days of the campaign.

The New York Times, on Tuesday, correctly pointed out that big government is necessary for some things ... including major natural disasters like Sandy.  Will Sandy have an impact on the election? For now, that remains to be seen.

blog comments powered by Disqus