To be fair, while much of this welcome pushback is against the idea that today’s results will help predict next year’s outcomes, that claim is not often made, at least not quite so boldly. More often, journalists who hype off-year outcomes do so with hand-waving references to the “national mood” or the “political climate;” or they comment about how a certain result will allow one side to more effectively present its spin—or, more politely, its “framing.”
But while these claims are less demonstrably wrong, they’re just as lacking in value. They’re also unnecessary. Today’s elections are opportunities for voters around the country to elect their leaders, choose their representatives, and, in some cases, directly decide on matters of public importance. That’s plenty of meaning. We don’t need to manufacture any more.