The Spitzer fiasco certainly enhances, just a little, the disdain that the voting public often feels for its elected officials. But I wonder if the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican party machines are pleased about Eliot Spitzer and other political scandals. For them, it’s a means to greater political control.
Here’s my logic. The more demoralized the average voter becomes with the political process, the more disinclined he/she is to go and vote (too little reward for the effort; see this Wikipedia article). A smaller turnout improves a political party’s influence on an election by getting its most partisan members to cast ballots for their slate of candidates, no questions asked. The party machines gain power and greater control over their party’s elected officials, and therefore can more easily set the political agenda to keep the cycle going. Essentially, they get to put and keep elected officials into their pockets.
Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed did it out in the open. Doing it by getting me to stay home is much sneakier. New York voter turnout is below the national average (which itself is not very good), our state government doesn’t seem to work very well yet nothing seems to change. I wonder if this is part of the political parties’ hidden agenda and the almost guaranteed re-election of incumbents a demonstration of its success?