Running on Empty

The presidential campaign and election are a lot like baseball when you think about it.

Assume there is no third party candidate like Ralph Nader so the analogy works.

First, there are two sides a fan can be rooting for. In baseball it's either the American League or the National League. In politics it's the Republicans or the Democrats.

In general most people stay loyal to one side or the other. However, there are always those people who switch back and forth and can't stay committed.

The next similarity comes during the campaigning for the primary elections, which are a lot like the regular seasons in baseball. Everyone is there to make it to the playoffs.

Teams and candidates rely on both their own strengths and their opponents' weaknesses. A mistake on the campaign trail can really set a candidate back in the poll, but that mistake helps the opponent who is having some trouble making the public see his positives. When you don't have positives of your own, just rely on everyone else doing worse than you. It works the same way in baseball.

Finally, it is playoff time. Teams are battling it out for the sacred title of American League or National League champion. Politicians are giving one last try at impressing the American public. In the end, only two will be left. The playoffs end for baseball when there is a champion from both sides, ready to face off in the World Series. The primary elections narrow the playing field down to a Democrat and a Republican.

This is when things really heat up. Fans stand by their team/candidate as if their very life depends on it. "It's not possible for my favorite team/candidate to do any wrong," begins to be how many people think. Some people start rooting for the underdog, simply because they are the underdog or because they just hate the other team/candidate that much.

The presidential debates and vice presidential debates are kind of like the first few games of the series. They give you a good idea of who is going to win, but they are no guarantee.

It all comes down to one big day — Election Day or, if it's an exciting series, game 7. It doesn't matter what you've done the rest of your career, it's what you do on that day.

Enjoy the World Series, and happy voting.