Hillary Clinton carried Dutchess County by 464 votes -62,285 to Trump’s 61,821 – or a margin of .35%. Mrs. Clinton also won the Town of Washington by a margin of 43 votes out of 1995 votes cast for the two mainstream candidates. TOW voters cast 95 votes for minor league candidates. The margin of registered Democrats over Republicans in the county is 7.9 per cent; that margin narrows to 4.6 percent if registered Conservatives are added to the Republican registrations.
What do these numbers say about voter attitudes? After all, we are in the middle of the “liberal East Coast” voter block, a community supposedly more globally minded, more concerned about the environment, and more educated than the red states. One might have thought that the Dems were a shoe-in; but they weren’t. Republican John Faso beat the arch liberal Zephyr Teachout by a comfortable margin.
What this says, I think, is that the county is more centrist than liberal, a position that neither of the presidential candidates played to. Faso was more centrist than Teachout, and he won. Teachout played to the Sanders vote, missing the silent majority by a mile. Hillary lost votes by aping Sanders, a move that lost her votes from the middle. For the middle, socialism is a toxic notion.
From our point of view, the middle is important. Why it is ignored has to do with primary politics where the more motivated “base” comes out. For Republicans it is the Tea Party; for Dems it is the party of Sanders, union members and the fringe left.
The middle might long for a third party, but it hasn’t happened. Until it does, we are stuck with a left and a right that are prevented from even talking to one another, let alone making the necessary compromises.
A Green Party would only draw votes from the left. They are too often heard saying corporations are the enemy which sounds like Elizabeth Warren who is far from the middle. The middle is where the Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy are. They work with corporations and score major victories far from the limelight. That makes sense to the middle, but it makes poor headlines.