The election will not be an affirmation of conservative politics, no matter what happens.
The party that holds the presidency always loses congressional seats in the midterms. In the last 50 years, there have been only two examples where that did not happen: In 1998 (when Republican attacks on Clinton backfired) and 2002 (when Bush was still riding high after the 911 attacks). So it will be an absolute surprise if that does not happen on November 4th.
But we know that if the Republicans gain control of the Senate (which is likely but not guaranteed), it won’t be because of some great mood in the country to embrace right-wing politics.
Four years ago, when the GOP reacted strongly to Obama’s election by voting in great numbers and sweeping Republicans into power, some very conservative Tea Party candidates became governor. “Hooray!” they exclaimed. “Now we can put our policies into play and prove that our ideas will save the economy!”
They did what they said they would — they cut taxes on businesses and the wealthy, cut funding to education, and trimmed government down to next to nothing.
These states are now in the worst financial condition they have ever been in. The Tea Party experiments all failed, to a one. And the voters are mad. These governors are all losing their re-election bids.
Here in Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett is over 15 points behind in the polls. This is in a state where a governor has never lost re-election. His policies pushed Pennsylvania back from one of the fastest-growing job creating states in the nation to dead last. Our debt rating has been lowered many times.
Governor Brownback in Kansas similarly destroyed his state. Maine is floundering. Wisconsin is in bad shape. Even Florida is struggling.
All of these states elected Tea Party governors and all of these governors are fighting to be re-elected. That is hardly an endorsement of their policies.
This is not a nation-wide trend. Other states are doing great. California, which was in terrible state when Schwarzenegger left it, elected a bunch of Democrats who put into play policies which have given the huge state a budget surplus for the first time in many years. New York is doing just fine. If you look at which states are doing best economically, you’ll see mostly Democratic-run ones at the top (you have to get to #9 to find one run by Republicans) — and this is despite the fact that there are more Republican governors than Democratic ones.
And even if you ignore the economy, these guys fought tooth and nail against women’s health issues, gay marriage, and giving their poorest health care.
The fact is, as I’ve pointed out before, angry people vote more, and no one is ever angrier than a Fox-news-fed Republican. If Republicans and Democrats voted in equal percentages, we’d always win because there are more of us than there are them. But we don’t. We Democrats tend to stay home on election day and then wonder how such idiots could get into office (when it’s really our own fault).
So don’t let the pundits tell you on November 5th that the GOP wins is a sign of voters loving their policies. The facts state otherwise.
“Obamacare will destroy our economy, take away our freedoms, and bring about Death Panels!” “Gays want to destroy your marriage and turn your kids into homosexuals!” “Al Qaeda is coming to kill us all!”
Republicans know that the way to win elections is through fear. Fear makes people react immediately, in a reflective way, without taking the time to analyze the situation. People who are afraid vote more than those who are not. This is a fact.
With the help of their propaganda arm (a/k/a Fox News), they are continuing with this stragety — the problem is that the previous scare tactics aren’t working. Obamacare is doing just fine; gay marriage hasn’t hurt anyone; Al Qaeda is no longer a serious threat …
So they’ve come up with some new ones this year. “Ebola will spread and murder your family!” “Isis is coming to kill us all!” “Immigrant children coming over our border are infected with ebola and are actually terrorists, too!” (That last one always gets me. It’s really quite creative.)
The problem is with we Democrats. You see, we tend to try to appeal to the head instead of the heart (or maybe, as Colbert puts it, the “gut”). And that’s one of the reasons we don’t do as well at election time even though we outnumber the Republicans — our voters aren’t scared enough, and so they stay at home.
So I suggest a few Democratic scare tactics.
“A crazed conservative white guy with easy access to guns is going to kill you!” (This is, of course, extremely more likely in America than your chance of being killed by a Muslim terrorist.)
“Bad guys want to control your personal life and tell you who you can marry!” (Also true.)
“Big Brother police forces want to turn America into a police state!” (A bit of an exaggeration but hey, not necessarily a lie.)
“Invasive and unnecessary medical procedures will cause you great pain for no legitimate purpose!” (Yep, the GOP favors anything to discourage abortions no matter how needless.)
So help me out here. Surely we can think of our own scare tactics.
A Las Vegas chapel that performs Elvis-themed weddings is refusing to marry gays because it would destroy the sanctity of marriage.
While other chapels are busily advertising that Vegas welcomes the extra business gay marriages will bring to the state, this particular place refuses on religious grounds — which would be a valid objection if they were a religious organization.
You see, a church can refuse to perform marriages for anyone. You don’t have a right to be married by a church. If the church doesn’t want to perform gay marriages (or interracial marriages or marriages between different religions or anything else that they think violates their beliefs) there’s nothing you can do about it.
But a Vegas Elvis chapel is a business. They do not have the power to discriminate.
Remember that bakery that refused to make wedding cakes for gay couples and ultimately ended up closing down? Yeah, it’s like that. Business owners can’t tell gays they don’t have the right to sit at their lunch counter no matter how much their religion tells them it’s OK to discriminate.
So the Elvis weddings will either obey the law or close down — or maybe, like the bakers, be forced out of business through lawsuits. The owner — a hard-headed woman — will be all shook up. There will be crying in the chapel, but in the end, we will all sing Viva Las Vegas!