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You are forgiven if you feel like Wyatt Cenac, one of the
“correspondents” of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who on the Oct. 28
broadcast said, “Let’s just [expletive] vote already.”

We are in the home stretch of what has to be the longest presidential
race in our nation’s relatively short history. So if you have tired of
the relentless attacks, grandiose speeches and ambitious plans, you
have every reason to be weary.

Still, most polls show as many as 8 percent or so of voters remain undecided. Say what?

It isn’t like the two main candidates – John McCain and Barack Obama –
haven’t been more overexposed than Paris Hilton in the last two years.
And it isn’t like they haven’t stressed their differences vigorously,
each casting himself as the agent of change that America needs.

Unlike some past elections, the choices are clear this time. Each
candidate has outlined a distinct approach to running the country.

For the IT channel and the industry as a whole, the state of the
economy is a major concern, and as with most voters, it is sure to have
a major impact on your decision to pick a candidate.

These are troubled times, with economic turmoil that some experts say could rival the Great Depression.

So far the IT channel has fared relatively well, but demand for
technology products is softening as budgets tighten and buyers put off

In a recent Channel Insider survey of 300 solution providers, 30
percent of participants said they already are feeling the pinch of the
ongoing economic slump. Five percent said 2008 sales forecasts are
significantly worse than expected and 25 percent said forecasts are
somewhat worse. Forty-four percent said results so far are in line with
expectations, while the remaining 26 percent said they are doing better
than expected.

On the surface, these results don’t look bad, but they don’t tell the
whole story. More troubling is what participants said about their
customers’ IT spending plans, for that provides a view into the near

Fifty-two percent said customers are delaying or deferring projects and
spending, 51 percent said new customers are taking longer to make
buying decisions, and 39 percent said customers have scaled back IT

The reticence regarding spending is understandable. And when Americans
walk into the polling booth between now and Nov. 4, most will vote
their wallets.

In doing so, many will be thinking in terms of taxation. To hear some
pundits and politicians, nothing else seems to matter. “Just don’t
raise my taxes, and all be fine,” seems to be the overriding message in
some quarters.

But there is more to it.

When pulling the lever, voters with a vested interest in the channel
and IT ought to also consider which candidate is more likely to
encourage investment in new technologies and in education. Which
candidate’s policies are more likely to encourage green inventions that
address our energy crisis? Which policies will reward businesses to
automate? To encourage technologies that reduce power use? To
discourage sending jobs overseas?

One of the glaring omissions of the recent $700 billion Wall Street
bailout plan was the failure to address investment in new, green
technologies that are our only chance at replicating the kind of
economic boom the Internet brought us in the 1990s. Whichever candidate
wins will have to address this head-on.

Yes, we need to deal with our current economic problems, but in doing
so, we can’t afford to divorce ourselves from investing in the future.
It’s critical, therefore, to invest in education and in the spirit of
entrepreneurship without which there would be no IT channel.

We have plenty to think about as we head to the booth.

 Pedro Pereira is editor of eWEEK Strategic Partner and a contributing
editor for Channel Insider. He is at