I consider myself a political professional having run 13 times successfully for public office. I write frequently on politics for numerous media outlets. I have been an analyst on News 12 for 26 years and am asked to do national commentary frequently.
But this year I find myself unsure about the direction of national and local politics in ways I never could have imagined. Back in 2016, it appeared that Democrat Hillary Clinton was going to win big over the upstart Donald Trump. Poll after poll showed her ahead by wide margins.
Two weeks before the election, FBI Director James Comey dropped his letter-bomb on Mrs. Clinton, inferring that there was a possibility that a laptop in the possession of Mrs. Clinton’s staff member, might have sensitive material. This event was just enough to tip the results in favor of Donald Trump.
There is no question that this year’s contest is completely different. Former Vice President Joe Biden does not have the warts that Mrs. Clinton had. Many male and female voters had misgivings about the Clinton candidacy, but Joe Biden is a warm and likable guy who relates to the man or woman on the street.
Four years ago, Donald Trump was a newcomer who created the image that he was a successful businessman, ready to drain the swamp. Four years later, he is saddled with a disastrous response to the Covid-19 crises and a public tired of his daily tweets and craving normalcy.
At this very moment, the president is facing his own health problems, hiding his information for fear that he will be unable to act like a Superman.
This contrasts with his unsuccessful efforts to portray Joe Biden as being weak and frail. So on the face of it, the election could turn out to be a wipeout for the president. But I continue to harbor that gnawing doubt which will linger into the closing hours of Nov.3.
Another thing I find fascinating is the amount of money pouring into some of the contests on Long Island. The seat being vacated by Congressman Peter King has become more and more competitive in recent years.
King’s final victory was by the smallest margin in his career. The demographics of the district have been changing rapidly, which accounts for the money being spent.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pouring millions into the contest between incumbent Lee Zeldin and Nancy Goroff.
From a distance this has always looked like an easy re-election for Zeldin, who has fiercely embraced President Trump for the past two years. The DCCC is highlighting Zeldin’s voting record, which may not play well in his district. When all the numbers are in the two congressional races could cost over $5 million.
At the state level there are some interesting races as well. The First District Senate race caused by the retirement of state Sen. Ken La Valle has become a nail biter.
Republican Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo is fighting activist Laura Ahern. Democratic Sen. Monica Martinez is facing a challenge from Islip Town Clerk Alexis Weik. These two are hotly contested in districts that should be easy party wins.
I have tried to contrast the mood I feel this year, compared to previous presidential contests.
I have experienced the campaigns of Democrats Adlai Stevenson, George Mc Govern, Michael Dukakis and Jimmy Carter. Most of them felt like losing efforts so I didn’t invest a lot of emotion in them.
On the face of it, we have an unhinged president seeking re-election with a record of encouraging white supremacy and who has turned his administration into the swamp that he was originally supposed to drain.
Every sign points to a Democratic sweep. But the inner politician in me says like Yogi Berra, “it ain’t over until it’s over.”