By Tom Ehrich
Thoughts after the counting:
"Come on inside," said a young man holding the door at a market opening across the street in a new high-end apartment building.
So I did.
Shelves are still being stocked, but I could tell right away that the owner knew my playbook. I found a dozen varieties of no-sugar-added cereals. Interesting coffee beans. Yogurts from beyond the land of Dannon. Every type of milk, from almond to soy.
How did the owner know what would lure me back? I suspect he's done market research, profiled the people living near his store, studied what the competing all-everything grocery stores can't offer, and, like the Mercedes Benz dealer next door, figured out how to push my buttons.
I don't mind. This is how the marketplace is supposed to work.
On the morning after a pivotal mid-term election, I wonder what political pros are seeing in me and my neighbors. To judge by the campaigns they ran, they studied us and drew some conclusions.
They concluded, it appears, that we are basically centrists. The Republican establishment sent Tea Party extremists away. Democratic leaders backed away from a president now seen as too liberal and too black.
They concluded that religion is irrelevant. Neither conservative Christians nor progressive Christians will find their views mattering outside church walls. We are dismissed as a self-serving fringe.
They concluded that fear, greed and tribe will cause people to vote against their own interests. We don't have the stomach for serious politics.
They concluded that the larger picture means little to us. We aren't concerned about the plight of our neighbors, or eager to form community with them. Civic duty is dead.
They see us as isolated, lonely, frustrated, and weak -- and thus as ripe for diversions and ideology.
They think they know us well. The question we need to be asking, as we process this bizarre election, is whether they know us as whole persons or as base appetites to be manipulated.
The moment of truth will come when they post the "prices." I am happy to have a new market flatter me with gourmet coffees. But when they slap a $16-per-pound price tag on a $10 bag of beans, me eyes will open.
When vengeful conservatives turn against health care for all, self-determination for women, equal opportunity for all citizens, and freedom from corporate predators and government snoops, will we find the "price" too high? and rediscover our appetites for politics and ideals?
When frightened Democrats abandon their party's leader because it's easier to blame him than to see their own non-appeal, will we find that "price" too high?
I don't think we will pay those prices. I think we will rediscover our appetites for politics and ideals. I expect a huge voter turnout in 2016.