Down ticket, races mean even more

Freedom New Mexico

The term “down the ballot” refers to the congressional, state and local races that ostensibly play second, third and fourth fiddle to the presidential contest. The names of the White House contenders will appear at the tops of ballots, with everything else further down. This presentation more or less mirrors the conventional wisdom that McCain vs. Obama (and, for the sake of argument, vs. Barr) will take precedence over everything else on Nov. 4.

However, at the risk of seeming contrarian, we’ll ask the following question: When a Portales resident spots a prowler outside their home, do they call the National Guard or the local police?

Granted, the influence of Washington does loom large. Officials at the federal level can sign international agreements, take the country to war and spend billions of dollars with barely a second thought. At the same time, state and local governments run the schools, patrol the highways and keep the trash picked up.

Mundane? Maybe so. Still, it’s worth remembering that a great deal of the day-to-day governance that affects things 6 inches in front of our faces gets done in county seats and state capitals.

So when you hear commentators say “down the ballot” on political talk shows, take it with a grain of salt … as you would most anything you hear on political talk shows.