There’s usually a considerable amount of apathy over non-presidential year elections. Democrats, with their party in power, are staying home in disappointment engendered by legislative compromises and a poor economy.Young voters, who came out in droves to support Barack Obama in 2008, don’t feel the same sense of idealistic purpose.
All signs indicate a disastrous election for the Democrats, with some pollsters even suggesting that they may lose both houses of Congress.
Typically, the minority party is much more energized in midterms. Republicans have built on that energy by nakedly appealing to their base, using fear-mongering of President Obama’s origins, xenophobic appeals against the “Ground Zero” mosque (not at Ground Zero and not a mosque!), and health care misinformation (Death Panels!). This has allowed them to divert attention from the fact that they really don’t have any better ideas to offer the country. Indeed, they have spent the last 2 years colluding with lobbyists and corporations, and proudly obstructing every single initiative proposed by the majority party. (If the Democratic party has, at times, displayed similar characteristics, it is due to the Blue Dog representatives from conservative districts, who are but Democrats in name, and who do not represent the progressive values of their brethren.)
Voters not deeply engaged with the political process might have an idealistic belief that a divided Congress would lead to bipartisan and productive decision making. Let me disabuse you of that notion. Many Republican representatives and candidates have proudly stated their intention not just to repeal some of the useful legislation passed with such great difficulty over the last 18 months, but also to bring about a complete government shutdown. One representative from California, much to my shame, has even mad rabid statements about impeaching the President (for reasons that are unknown even to him).
It is my intention, therefore, to write a series of posts leading up to the elections to convince you of how important your vote is. To begin, check out this video courtesy of Steve Benen and Bill Simmons.
And mark your calendar for November 8, 2010.