Republicans and Democrats — You’re Fired!
By Andrew Kaake '14
Oh, midterm elections. We’ve basically been hearing about the 2010 election cycle since the 2008 election cycle ended, and rumors about the 2012 races have already begun to swirl. One of the most annoying things about our 24-hour-a-day television media stations is their firm reliance on predictions and contemplations about elections years away to fill up content-poor broadcast times. Say what you want about Glenn Beck, but there are times when I’d rather hear about Cloward and Piven for an hour than listen to drivel about Pelosi and McCain for 10 minutes. However, now that the elections are nearly at hand (as signaled by the arrival of my absentee ballots in the mail), even I must give in to some pre-voting analysis.

It’s fairly obvious that the Democrats are in an unfavorable position heading into the final weeks of these races. Out of all the people in Washington, the one whose job I envy least is definitely Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. How exactly do you spin this campaign environment to look positive for your party? Take a look at some numbers, courtesy of Rasmussen Reports: 47 percent of Americans say that they would generically vote for a Republican Senate candidate over a Democratic one, compared to 39 percent who favored a generic Democrat. Current projections show Republicans holding 46 Senate seats to 48 Democrats, with six races currently too close to call. While I’m not predicting the likelihood of a Republican takeover, it is very possible. On the other hand, I think that it’s more likely that the Senate will be split in half, with a similar balance, possibly Republican-leaning, in the House.

Why all the anti-Democrat sentiment? Unsurprisingly, most likely voters disagree with Congress’ “landmark” achievements, such as the stimulus package. In addition, many voters believe that the federal government is, by it’s policies — or lack thereof — encouraging illegal immigration. Most importantly, voters are discontent with healthcare reform: 57 percent of likely voters favor the repeal of the healthcare bill. Now, consider the fact that, instead of using the bi-partisan debate and compromise so highly touted by Obama, Congressional Democrats essentially shoved the major bills down the throats of the Republican minority. Who, then, will the general displeasure with the Congressional session be taken out on? The party in power. Obama’s recent remarks about being a one-term president may sound noble, but I’m sure that the other politicians in his party aren’t too happy about them, because the sentiment that may prevent Obama’s reelection also threatens to derail the incumbent Democrats’ campaigns.

Finally, I am forced to consider the effects of the “Tea Party” upon the election landscape. I will begin by reminding the reader that the “Tea Party” is not a party. I repeat, the “Tea Party” is not, and never will be, an actual political party. The “Tea Party” is not wholly Republican, and the only thing that really unifies it is a general angst about big government and corrupt legislation. Still, some people like to say that the “Tea Party” is “holding a gun to” the head of the Republican Party. This kind of thought both fascinates and saddens me. Since when has a grassroots political movement been so hated? Why does our political intelligentsia have the right to devalue the opinions of the American voter, simply because they have banded together in opposition of the status quo? I may not be a fan of the “Tea Party,” but I know that they’re not holding the metaphorical smoking gun. However, they will be in November, because they are the Americans who are motivated to vote. As far as I’m concerned, getting more citizens to the polls is a good thing, but maybe I’m just an antiquated, backwoods conservative.

Now, the most important thing about this election cycle is not Democratic, Republican or “Tea.” It is the Independents and the Third-Partiers. No one likes the Democrats right now, but most voters aren’t fans of the Republicans, either, and are still skeptical of a return to Bush II-era policies. Scott Rasmussen himself remarks that, “voters are ready … to vote against the party in power for the third straight election. These results suggest a fundamental rejection of both political parties.” I feel validated, because I’ve been predicting this since 2008. The biggest consequence of this election cycle will be the beginning of the end of our two-party system. The only thing that can outmatch the large political machines is the combined vote of the disgruntled American public. So, while Republicans may be celebrating victory in six weeks, both parties had better look out. The American people may soon be delivering a Donald Trump-esque message to incumbent, partisan politicians —“You’re fired!”

Issue 06, Submitted 2010-10-20 01:37:39