The rest of the Times piece read like a collection of random notes understood by insiders and few others. Outgoing New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg said he believed primary voters were driven by frustration over federal spending and the economy. Given the rising influence of the Tea Party, votes of all Republicans are likely to come under Tea Party fire if the legislators stray off the reservation. The Senate Republican leadership attended a Capitol Hill fundraiser last week for Nevada Tea Party senatorial candidate Sharron Angle. Who cares?

We know large segments of the electorate are disengaged and disaffected this year. The Times piece shows why that might be so. The Journal Sentinel piece shows why it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.