wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2

Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Should Congress deal with the immigration crisis -- tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors at the border -- before its August recess?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share
ComPost
About Petri |  Get Updates: On Twitter ComPost on Twitter |  On Facebook Petri on Facebook |  RSS RSS
Posted at 12:13 PM ET, 09/14/2011

Aliens invade New York’s District 9 !


We come in peace! Vote Turner!(AP Photo/Sony Pictures) (Anonymous - AP)
They were trapped in District 9 for a long time, unable to make their voices heard, unable to return to the mothership.

Then suddenly They struck.

One of Their opponents — colorful and promising, if not yet overwhelming — began having trouble with his body parts. “We are pretty sure the body is not supposed to do that,” America said. “At least not the body politic. It’s disgusting.” His party cut him loose. Even his toaster turned on him.

And then They began to rise up.

At least this is how the movie version of the special election in District 9 might go. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the science fiction film of the same name.

But what’s the lesson? The lesson of the original “District 9,” as I understood it, was that you should never go anywhere where there are folks different than you, because you might gruesomely lose all your body parts, but I might need to rewatch it.

The lesson of New York’s District 9, which Anthony Weiner used to represent and where Republican Bob Turner beat Democrat David Weprin on Tuesday? Less clear.

This is a place that hasn’t elected a Republican since the 1920s, everyone keeps pointing out. But things were very different then. In the 1920s, you voted Republican because you disliked what the former college professor president had done to the country —

Er, well, no, that’s unfair, actually. In the 1920s the party system looked quite different, and people with nicknames like “Hinky Dink” and “Bathhouse John” ran everything, using only patronage and the power of large men with sticks, loosely speaking.

But yesterday’s election doesn’t seem to be a case where lots of Republicans manifested themselves en masse to make their presence felt. The Republican turnout was just over 32,000 — about the same as the 2010 election. Democratic turnout was what changed, with 20,000 fewer voters than in 2010 turning up to show support for the Deep Blue Something.

Generally people show up at elections for two reasons: They very much like one of the parties running, or they intensely dislike one of the parties running. There seems to have been no intense liking this time around.

True, this was a special election. Special elections are one of those almost euphemistic uses of the word “special,” as with “special relativity” or “special episode of ‘American Idol,’ ” which implies that you aren’t expecting too many people to follow it with great excitement. But who’s to blame for the excitement deficit? David Weprin? Or —

“Not another guy who blames me for the fact that he doesn’t have a job,” Barack Obama groans.

Alien invasion? Probably not. Alien abduction? That might explain the turnout.

By  |  12:13 PM ET, 09/14/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company