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One of the secrets of Election Day is that it’s not very exciting.
Election Night, sure, that’s the big show. But Election Day, for many journalists, is just a lot of anxious waiting. Nervous snacking. Eerie quiet.
This is a big part of why you hear so many tired cliches thrown around in political coverage on Election Day. There’s not a lot to actually say!
Probably the best (read: worst) one is: “It’ll all come down to turnout.”
At its heart, that one means: The person who gets the most votes will win. Gee, thanks, person who gets paid to talk about politics for a living!
Another: “There are plenty of ballots left to be counted.” That’s one you’ll hear as returns roll in and it becomes clear a person or issue is going to lose, but some folks aren’t willing to concede yet.
You’ll also hear lots of candidates and surrogates make sweeping statements about “the American people,” as if Election Day wasn’t one big, stark reminder that Americans are all so very different. You’ll hear people lament that Republicans were once the “Party of Lincoln.” No matter what you think of the current state of the GOP, it’s pretty absurd to suggest major political parties shouldn’t evolve and change.
Sometimes cliches exist for a reason, though. While I’ve rolled my eyes in past elections when people insist “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” this time, I worry it’s actually true.
So study up, take a deep breath and go get er done on Tuesday. Godspeed, friends.
What VOSD Learned This Week
To say this election has been unpredictable would be an understatement. Here’s another twist I wouldn’t have predicted: In the week leading up to Election Day, the two biggest stories in San Diego don’t have anything to do with the election.
The first is Mario Koran’s new effort to understand how San Diego Unified achieved what seemed like the impossible: a graduation rate of 92 percent – astounding on its own, but especially since 2016 was the first year students had to graduate under far more rigorous standards.
It turns out, that 92 percent number only applies to a limited group of students. And many of those students took online credit-recovery courses in order to graduate.
Then, there was Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s 11th hour proposal that would have banned a good deal of short-term vacation rentals. It died, and residents concerned about the issue will have to wait – again – for another stab at regulations. On the podcast, Scott Lewis and Andy Keatts recount what a failure Lightner’s effort was.
The good news is that there’s an independent watchdog group that keeps track of tax measures like TransNet, and another one will be created if Measure A passes. The bad news is that the group doesn’t seem to care at all about TransNet’s coming $5 billion shortfall.
Donald Trump has made an unlikely cameo in the District 9 City Council race. And Ry Rivard examined a misleading mailer that suggests Ricardo Flores is getting paid with taxpayer money while campaigning.
In National City, someone running for a position managing the city’s finances has had a spotty record of managing finances.
What I’m Reading
• Reflections from the girls on the bus: CNN’s Brianna Keilar reflects what it’s been like covering the presidential race in the wake of her mother’s death, and NBC’s Katy Tur explains what it was like being singled out and antagonized by Donald Trump at a campaign rally this week.
• This makes me want to buy Chobani yogurt by the cartful, even though all Greek yogurt is disgusting. (New York Times)
• On top of being brave and badass, Emily Doe – the woman assaulted by Brock Turner and whose victim impact statement went viral – is an incredible writer. (Glamour)
• Georgia’s crackdown on voter fraud could land a black city commissioner in prison for driving her nephew to the polls. (Buzzfeed)
• So many praise hand emojis for this: The New York Times needs to get over itself and print profane words – particularly when the profane words are themselves the story. (Quartz)
Line of the Week
“Start mopping the kitchen floor without a plan? I’ll tell you what, you could end up stuck in the corner for 10, 15, 20 minutes, surrounded by nothing but a wet floor and memories of your own mistakes.” – Vice President Joe Biden, on the importance of planning.