Yes, Fine, I’ll (Ugh) Talk Some Politics For This Year

And here’s what I think of politics here in 2014: Nnnnnnnnggggggggghhh. Or, to put in perhaps more contemporary terms, 2014: The Year I Literally Just Could Not Even.

Which is not to say that I’m not voting. I am voting. What I mean to say is that this year I don’t really feel anything other than complete fatigue at the whole political process. Broadly speaking, the Republicans are frothing ideologues, the Democrats are incompetent, and it appears that in general the relevant voting public will prefer frothing to incompetent, since FiveThirtyEight thinks there’s a better than 60% chance the Senate majority will go to the GOP in the election — although not by a lot, so, yay, I guess?

What that will mean in real-world terms is a lot of parliamentary blockage and/or presidential vetoes of Republican legislative initiatives for the next two years, which I’m fine with (see my opinion of the general state of the GOP above), but which means another two years of high-level stupid on the federal level. But inasmuch as we will get that even if the Democrats do, in fact, barely manage to keep the Senate: Meh. And, yes, I know it’s rather more complicated than that, but I’m telling you how I feel about it all. This is how I feel.

(Mind you, if the GOP takes the Senate, I think there’s a reasonable chance of the GOP in the House finally voting to impeach Obama for the heinous crime of being Obama, although I’m sure they’ll find something else to pretend it will be about. And then Obama will be acquitted in the Senate trial and we’ll establish the hard fact that the modern GOP, when given the opportunity, will try to oust sitting Democratic presidents via the impeachment process just because. Also, I think Obama would love for the GOP to impeach him. There is pretty much no downside for him if a bunch of a white male GOPers impeach a sitting black president on what will amount to complete bullshit charges. Dear House GOP: Don’t be giving Obama one more rope-a-dope.)

I should note that the federal elections are largely outside of my purview this time around. The only federal-level election I need to vote on is for my House representative, who is now and will continue to be John Boehner, who in his entire OH-8 electoral history has never gotten less than 61% of the vote, and isn’t about to blow that streak this year. I’m not voting for Boehner, but doesn’t mean he won’t win. I am as always comfortably resigned to the fact. There are no Senate races in Ohio this year.

On the state level, it’s almost certain sitting Ohio Governor John Kasich is going to win in a walk, not because the people of Ohio love him (general feeling: meh), but because his opponent Edward FitzGerald is better known for parking with a woman who was not his wife than for any of his policy points. I’m not voting for Kasich, but as I don’t like to reward abject incompetence, I don’t think I’m voting for FitzGerald either. I might vote for the Green Party candidate, just to see what it feels like. To be honest, the only state office race I’m really worked up for is Secretary of State, because incumbent John Husted is a tool who went out of his way to make it harder to vote in Ohio. Fuck you, Husted. I’m voting for your Democratic opponent, Nina Turner (although, again, Husted sits on a comfortable margin and will likely win).

Indeed, because of where I live in Ohio, and because of the general trends in the state and in the national races, it looks like a good(ish) year for GOP in general. I’m not a fan of the current iteration of the GOP, which is putting it mildly, so this does not please me intellectually. But speaking as a straight white man of comfortable income, the GOP isn’t going to do me any harm, personally. It’s everyone else who might eventually feel the pinch. This is where I remind all y’all that folks like me already get a ton of advantages; you don’t have to keep giving us more through the political process.

And I think this is why I find it very difficult to get worked up about this particular election one way or another. It’s basically a status quo election. Things might change, but not by much, and at the end of the day the essential problems of our political classes will not be fixed to any degree. This isn’t an epochal election, it’s just killing time until 2016.

Now, I could be wrong: I’m the first to say that my personal political crystal ball has been notably cloudy in the past. But this election doesn’t feel like there’s much there there. I’ll be voting. But this the least enthusiastic I’ve felt about it since I’ve been able to vote. Maybe that means something. We’ll see.

90 Comments on “Yes, Fine, I’ll (Ugh) Talk Some Politics For This Year”

  1. My first thought upon seeing this in my reader was “WTF? He talks politics all the time, like just his last post was political!” But you mean “Electoral Politics.” A narrower, and generally more depressing, topic.

  2. You see… where I disagree with you is that as a Straight White Male I can still be negatively impacted by stupid GOP policies. The economy crashes again because of GOP mismanagement? I could be out a job (I was this close to getting hit in a large-scale “restructuring” just this year). Global warming goes on an even-faster pace tear? I and everyone else on my planet are threatened by the long-term negative consequences of the damage to the environment. Gun laws get loosened up to even more insane levels? I get shot by a trigger-happy right-wing grognard whose tired of them librul hippies living in his neighborhood (unless I suppress my personal speech enough that no one knows my political leanings). There are countless ways that I can be hurt by bad stupid GOP policies – both at the State and Federal level. (I can only imagine how much worse it could get for someone who can’t easily pass as a member of the favored GOP class.) At the Fed level, at least, we’ve got a president opposed to most of these things to keep things from getting too much worse. At the state level, I could be screwed…

  3. My feelings on this are almost identical, with the exception that if the Democrats lose the senate then there will be precisely zero approved appointments to the judiciary in the next two years, which is a problem.

  4. Your attitude for this election seems to closely mirror mine. I would argue that the Democrats are slightly more competent then you seem to give them credit for, but that’s a quibble.

    Here in Northern Illinois, the Democrats seem to have the edge, although the Governor’s race is a toss-up. Quinn (Democratic incumbent) never was a ball of fire, but even my (many) Republican friends* aren’t terribly enthused by their candidate, largely because the guy refuses to specify what he’s actually going to do if elected. (Since he very well could win, I hope that’s because he’s smart enough to know that the solutions to the state’s problems are going to be painful.)

    *DuPage county, my residence, although suburban Chicago is also the home of the state’s Republican party. everybody’s a Republican, or so it seems.

  5. Stephen Watkins:

    “where I disagree with you is that as a Straight White Male I can still be negatively impacted by stupid GOP policies.”

    This is why I note I am of comfortable income. It mitigates the issue substantially.

  6. But speaking as a straight white man of comfortable income, the GOP isn’t going to do me any harm, personally.

    Directly and immediately, probably not. But to the extent GOP policies (whatever they actually are) can affect the people who pay you for your books?

  7. CS Clark:

    The little-spoken truth about the publishing industry is that books have always been luxury items or cheaply made, low cost entertainments. Leaving aside anything else about the hollowing out of the middle class, books are likely to survive one way or another. The longer discussion of this is for a different discussion thread, however.

  8. This is hysterically funny and shamefully sad at the same time.
    As an African American who grew up during the Civil Rights Movement, when I finally became old enough I considered it a privilege to vote (a privilege which was denied my grandparents and even my parents during the fifties).

    But once Richard Nixon was impeached, my disdain for the level of hypocrisy that existed within the Republican Party reached new heights, and it has grown exponentially during the last six years. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you said about impeaching President Obama. If they spent 1/10 of their energy actually enacting legislation that would benefit the country as they do hating on the Democrats, they might actually have a positive impact on the country.

    A local newspaper indicated that 700 people per day are moving into the State of Florida, mostly from other countries. Seriously, can we develop some type of Immigration Reform policy that protects the tax paying citizens? Our illustrious governor claims he “Created” 700,000 new jobs during his tenure, but the labor department estimates we lost 24,500 during that timeframe. AND we’re adding 700 people Daily? I am so discouraged right now, but like you I will vote because that’s what responsible adults do.

    Thanks for continuing to speak truth in the midst of so much Bull****.

  9. Obama has done plenty to be impeached for. I doubt the repubs would impeach him for actual laws he’s broken as their leadership would have done the same. (NSA, torture, etc)

  10. First off, bravo to Stephen A. Watkins, well said, well said! ::bowdown::

    2nd: John, perhaps the Democrats would look less incompetent if they weren’t saddled with a bunch of GOPers who keep drilling holes in the bottom of the boat. People who throw wrenches and consume time are a serious impediment to actually governing. It’s like cooking a meal while holding a toddler: even though you outmatch the toddler in strength, the flailing arms, wails, and general distraction take a toll on dinner.

    And like many a toddler, the GOP stinks.

  11. Ohio, a state that I am fond of and have lived in, is getting more and more right wing, as Republicans sell off the state’s assets and pass every civil rights buster law they can come up with. You may not be immediately discombobulated, but they’ve already taken away a good chunk of Athena’s rights and they are not the farmer’s friend. The GOP horde is going to run around and pillage for two years, same as 2010, because people are either not turning out with it being more difficult to vote on the hours and work side, or from being blocked by Jim Crow laws the Republicans rammed through against the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. Ohio has those illegal laws in place, (as unfortunately does my state,) and so a lot of people who would vote are being prevented from doing so, including of course women. So yeah, your GOP governor will win, because he’s rigged the election with a poll tax.

    If the GOP wins the Senate, they’ll spend the next two years trying to wreck the slowly recovering U.S. economy in order to stop a Democratic presidency. It made them a fortune before, doing that, they’ve no incentive not to do it now. We’re due for another crash recession from the traders sometime between 2017-2021 (they like to have them at the end/beginning of decades,) and with a Republican controlled Congress, it will come on the earlier end.

    On the plus side, in a lot of cities, there’s a revolution going on to restore and increase civil rights, deal with environmental issues and raise the minimum wage, so from the ground up, things may at least improve.

  12. Deborah Frederick: Nixon wasn’t impeached. He resigned in the face of certain impeachment, but he dodged the formal bullet.

    Yeah, this is a grim election. Even if the Democrats get out the vote in surprisingly large numbers, and take or keep a few Senate seats that they’re currently running behind in, they’ll still need the votes of independents to caucus with and override filibusters on judicial appointments. Not clear that Orman (should he win in Kansas) or the nominal Democrat Manchin (in West Virginia) will play ball.

  13. Pah, you Americans and your, frankly, ridiculous political system. I’d feel the same way too: powerless, disappointed and frustrated.

    Thankfully, here in the UK our votes are meaningful — we have a… um, we have… we… hmm.

    So, the weather’s really miserable lately, isn’t it….?

  14. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. I submitted my ballot via the mail, but the amount of craps I give about it is fairly minimal. I don’t want Rick Scott to stay governor, but I have no illusions that anything is really going to change much around here even if he does (maybe a little, since Charlie Crist is more education friendly than his opponent). I suppose I’m just apathetic. I vote because I believe it’s the one duty citizens MUST partake in, but I also believe the system is so broken it will take a miracle to change it. A democracy in name only, as some say.


  15. You won’t see campaign signs in my front yard, you won’t see political bumper stickers on my car……I won’t touch campaign flyers other than to put them in the recycle bin. My vote is secret, or at least, it’s supposed to be, and I am not comfortable telling people how I voted. Besides, even if they think I’m a “frothing idealogue”, I don’t always vote the party line. I try to look at the candidate, rather than the party that they supposedly represent. If I feel a candidate is the best qualified for that position, I’ll vote for that candidate, but I’m not going to broadcast for whom I voted.

  16. I think the feeling of “mehness” that our host articulates concerning the coming elections is a widespread phenomenom in our country. It really has become Coke or Pepsi politically, and folks feel powerless; a “what difference does it make whether I vote” type of attitude among sections of the voting populace is pervasive and seems to favor the extremes. Indifference – the foreseen nemesis of American democracy.

  17. Only “good” thing the democrats may do is keep us out of another pointless Middle Eastern crusade/ground war until a new Republican president is voted in.

    And what do you mean, being a Democratic president isn’t an impeachable crime? No one told the GOP that…

  18. Notwithstanding the pervasive meh: If you don’t vote, don’t complain about what you got.

  19. Unless we become an outright police state, it’s safe to say, it’s good to live in a Democracy and be able to vote. Even when, as Michael Rosefield from the UK so aptly points out above, you can’t really clearly see what your democracy is doing for you, or has done for you in the past.

    But for those people who are actually debating impeachable offenses, I’d like them to think really hard what an impeachable offense is and whether this President or the one before him have reached that level of malfeasance. I very much doubt that the running of the Executive Branch of the Government is an impeachable offense despite how much it is against “your core values”.

    Some people just need to learn history and how previous Presidents handled the highest office in the land. For that type of education, the recent documentary series “The Roosevelts” by documentarian Ken Burns, on PBS, was an eye opener. Everyone, no matter party affiliation, should see it.

  20. This election cycle is definitely one part “meh” and two parts “uggh”.

    the Democrats are incompetent

    Is that the problem? I used to think Obama doing his pre-emptive capitulations of things he could have horse-traded for the republicans giving up something too, was incompetence. But lately I’ve been thinking what it comes down to is Obama is a moderate, right-of-center president, and his pre-emptive capitulations were things that didn’t fit his personal politics in the first place.

    If you bleached Obama’s skin and put him in a time machine, he would have been a fine Republican president some years ago. I think the problem is the country has moved so far to the Right (the fringe of the Right, such as the Tea Party, at least has moved greatly to the right of what used to be “fringe”) that Obama today fits more in the Democrat party than anything.

    It feels weird to say it, but I miss the days of Bush Senior as Republican presidential candidate and really hate that nowadays we have to put up with Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney as republican presidential candidates. holy crap. What the hell happened.

    I’ll be voting, but its purely strategic level voting of “gotta keep the insanity at bay”, not “Oh God, I love this candidate”.

  21. “Republicans are frothy, Democrats are incompetent”…. John, do you meant to imply that Republicans despite being frothy are competent? The whole problem with GOP is that they are BOTH frothy AND incompetent at the same time.

  22. As usual, there’s someone here saying Obama’s done plenty to be impeached for. (It’s a mid-term election, so he’s not actually up for election, nor will he ever again, most likely, but hey, you want to discuss Obama, okay). Then he cites torture and the NSA, which were well in place during W Bush’s foray into politics, but which conservatives saw no reason to be concerned about. So yeah, I’m not wild about those policies, but STFU if you can’t see it’s endemic, rather than party-based.

  23. To paraphrase an Aaron Sorkin quote, I’d feel a lot better about voting for the Democrats if one of them would say or do something. And despite it being the definition of insanity, every election cycle I keep hoping some young and pragmatic GOP candidate will rear his (or her) head and say or do something that isn’t thoroughly embarrassing to the nation.

  24. Is “frothing ideologues” what people who are unwilling to discuss operating principles call people who are willing to own their operating principles?

  25. I’m pretty non-meh this year, but I live in a state that uses ballot measures, and many of the ones proposed this year are fabulously bad ideas that will actually affect my life and those of my neighbors. I care quite a lot about them not being passed.

  26. I’m in California, so there’s a pile of initiatives to weigh in on. There’s also some local races that I care about, where my vote will probably actually count.
    Governor Brown is running against a Republican with not much name recognition. I’m voting for Brown, again.
    The state assembly seat in my district is a hard fought race. I’ve been seeing mailers and signs left and right, and I am actually surprised at this point that no one has rung my doorbell to talk to me about that race. Both sides are pouring money in.
    My House Rep, though, is probably safe even with me voting against him.

  27. @Mark Terry: And this makes him less worthy of impeachment? On the contrary, when crime is pervasive, punishment ought to be pervasive as well — and if pervasiveness cannot be achieved, then severity is a poor substitute, but still better than nothing, since it increases the risk. If Obama’s crimes were Obama’s only, then we might ride out the reminder of his term, confident that we could choose a better replacement. But precisely because they are characteristic of every president since before I was born, it is imperative that they should be punished, and ferociously, in order to put some fear into the next scumbag to occupy the office.

  28. If the GOPers take the senate, it’ll just continue to be filibustered-to-death. They’ll just scream bloody murder about it on Fox instead of defending the god-given right to filibuster.


  29. *chuckle*

    I feel the same but opposite. Which I find a little ironic in that I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your books that I have purchased and read.

    IMO, this iteration of the Democrat Party is frothy…and incompetent. The GOP is only marginally better. In those cases where I just can’t stomach the GOP candidate, I’ll probably go with the Libertarian candidate.

    The only difference I can see is that I do have a couple of offices where Democrats are likely to get my vote(s). That is mostly because they have demonstrated that they are competent, rational, and reasonable; a rarity among Democrat candidates/office holders, IMO. They wouldn’t be Democrats if it weren’t for their association with trade unions or because “my parents/grandparents/etc. were Democrats.”

    Given that the Democrats are more beholden to entertainment industry interests than are the GOP, I would think that having the GOP run both houses of Congress would be a substantial improvement to your interests.

    kudos to Rod Rubert.

  30. I’m fairly sure that if Clinton could be impeached for getting a little oral lovin’ in the Oval Office then the GOP will be able to find something to justify an impeachment of Obama. The tricky part is finding something that he’s done that’s arguably impeachable and is something they don’t personally like (so spying on Americans is out). They like the use of Executive Privilege in general, but there are undoubtedly specific ways that Obama has used it that rub them the wrong way. My guess is that they’ll find something he did with Obamacare that is arguably unconstitutional and jump all over that. And fail. Hilariously.

    The only thing that has me interested in this election cycle are the ballot initiatives (ah, direct democracy. Is there anything you can’t make more annoying?). My Senators aren’t up for re-election and I actually quite like my Representative (who is anti-spying, pro marriage equality, pro network neutrality, etc.), so that’s easy. The Governor race is between the Democrat who is obsessed with high-speed rail and is going to win and a strongly libertarian GOP challenger who is going to lose and who I don’t totally hate.

  31. I voted. It was a non-event. There were two local issues I cared about. The most intense part was remembering if I had to sign the Secrecy envelope or the ID envelope before I sealed them in the third envelope, stuck a stamp on it, and sent it off.

    What has been shocking and disappointing to me is how heavily I’ve been spammed by the Dems. I’m part of the dreaded “outside money” pool! They’re panhandling me for races that aren’t even in my state. Guys, please. Boatloads of money is probably nice, but if you can’t deliver results, people aren’t going to vote for your monied, carefully on-message candidate.

  32. I’m in California and have voted a straight (Democrat) party line for the first time ever. My level of “meh” was sufficiently strong that I didn’t research the individual candidates, knowing that party platform is largely defining what individuals do once elected. As a dedicated civil-rights voter, I prefer the Democratic platform, nebulous though it may be.

    We had a load of propositions to vote on, and as usual they are so obscurely written that it’s very difficult to imagine their consequences without doing considerable research. Most people vote on these, I suspect, based on TV ads – the worst possible source of information.

    I noticed that the proposition to split California into six states did NOT make it onto the ballot. :-) So the state has not gone completely to the stupid.

  33. ….I went past “meh” a while ago, and have reached the stage of “FugItALL”.

    There is NO candidate that I want to vote for this time. None. Just those that I want to vote against.

    There is only one ballot question (out of 4 in my state) that I can easily agree or disagree with. The others all come with excessive baggage; instead of doing one thing that I might agree with they add other parts that I disagree with – which to me is like the obnoxious political tactics of adding riders to bills as poison pills. A pox on ALL of it!

    And the advertising! They’re now repeating themselves over and over, so I listen to as little of it as possible at this point, but some of it is unavoidable – and has informed my vote: when your ad makes statements that I know are lies, and can verify objectively are lies – then you’ve given me incentive to vote against you or your cause.

  34. We’re in a fairly tight Senate race down here, but the under-the-radar item this time is a proposed amendment to NC’s constitution that would affect citizens’ 7th Amendment rights to a jury trial. Because the last amendment went over SO well (Amendment One, which redundantly forbade unions between anyone other than one man + one woman–thanks for that boondoggle, guys).

  35. Here in Minnesota we are rather more blessed than some other parts of the country. We had two disastrous terms of Republican governorship which prompted our state to vote in not only a Democratic governor but solid Democratic majorities on both houses of our state legislature. The result has been that things got better and are continuing to get even better statewide.

    The Republicans, meanwhile, have been running campaign ads attacking their Democratic opponents for, literally, doing things that have worked for the state and of which Minnesota voters overwhelmingly approve. With hilariously predictable poll results.

  36. One thing to consider in the whole ‘well, it doesn’t matter WHO gets in, they all suck’ debate is that the winners appoint judges to the Supreme Court. That has long struck me as the single greatest power a President has and it can set the country’s course for decades to come. For those in denial, take a look at the current court. I shudder to think of what will happen if Ruth Bader Ginsburg stays in place for the rest of Obama’s term and then has to leave during a GOP adminstration.

  37. My vote is available to the first candidate who will sponsor a bill that will make robodialers for push polls a hanging offense. I can’t actually use my land line to call anyone because it is constantly ringing due to crappy robodialers that never actually connect.

  38. My e-newspaper subscription died a couple of months ago, and I don’t watch TV or listen to talk radio.

    It’s really kind of peaceful, not being hammered every day with news about things that I can’t change.

  39. I’ll disagree with you there John.

    The GOP ‘policies’ have a negative impact on the middle class, who are most of your customers. A GOP win means you’ll sell less books (or your publishers will – same thing) which will have a negative impact on your earnings.

    Not that Democratic policies are much better. Effectively the United States has a ‘One Party’ system, with the Red and Blue wings trading places every so often.

    But, Better Red Than Dead..


  40. Those who think voting doesn’t matter must believe that tossing lead ingots onto a given scale pan doesn’t move the needle.

  41. This post finally gave me something to get excited about: the GOP just might impeach Obama. And though I’m of the opinion that there are half a dozen legitimate reasons to do so (kill lists and drones being at the top of the list), the GOP will not select those reasons but perhaps a handful of enterprising journalists with a mainstream audience might identify the path not taken and we’ll finally have a discussion.

    With any luck, they’ll all end up thoroughly discredited. Not that there will be any obvious direction in the aftermath, but it will make feel a little better.

  42. If Boehner stays as the Speaker — an if, albeit not a large one — impeachment will never get anywhere. Boehner is many things, but he’s not actually stupid.

  43. Yeah, I’m thinking this is the year to vote for a Green Party candidate. I’m in NY; the Democratic incumbent is a crook, the Republican challenger is a liar, and I’m just thoroughly sick of the whole damn thing.

  44. I, too, am Meh. However, as a Californian, I must vote on the dreaded Propositions. One of ’em, I’ve gotten flyers against from both the Democrats AND the Republicans, so bipartisan agreement is still possible on a few things! There are a couple people I Do Not Want on the school board and city council. That’s stuff that affects me immediately on a neighborhood level.

    Governor isn’t even a contest; Jerry Brown’s using his airtime and campaign money to stump for a water-saving proposition. None of the serious Republican candidates even bothered to run, they let some business guy use up all his own money… he lost the one debate, isn’t running TV ads, and has a case of the Crazy Eyes.

  45. @mark terry

    Of course it’s endemic. I completely agree. Bush did the same thing. What chaps me is that Obama campaigned on being different (Hope) and many were joyous when he won, and we’re seeing the same crap as before. I’m not not surprised, but I am somewhat surprised that the people who went for it are apparently not disillusioned. I wonder if the Nobel Peace Prize folks are.

  46. Lurkertype, I too am paying attention to the local races. I am So Not Thrilled with my party’s candidate for governor, much less his opponent, but there is a new face on the state legislature scene who I’m a little excited about and some others already there who I believe are good people doing a good job, and I am happy to go vote for them. I think some people get so hung up on Congress and the presidency that they tend to forget about the things that affect them closer to home in races where their votes count a good bit.

  47. An enjoyable read, John. But I sadly see that you are still anti-GOP.

    I would like to suggest, though, that you *are* a Republican at heart–you just don’t vote like one. And there is nothing about you that would suggest to the casual observer that you’re a Democrat.

    Let’s consider the evidence:

    1.) You’ve worked for what you have; you aren’t taking handouts from the government.

    2.) You have no criminal record.

    3.) You are responsible in your personal life (i.e. your sex life). (I’d be willing to bet that there are no out-of-wedlock John Scalzi children with three different moms out there.)

    4.) You don’t do drugs.

    5.) You are are a responsible husband and father.

    In short, everything about your life (oh, and you aren’t gay, either) suggests “Republican” in bold capital letters. You are a responsible individual, an upstanding citizen.

    While you may not like the *idea* of being a Republican, your *life as demonstrated* conforms to that reality. On the other hand, nothing about your actual life suggests “Democrat”.

  48. @John Scalzi –

    It happens I actually know Ms. Rios of the Green Party – she lives in my neighborhood. She has been a long-time activist, and is an honorable and forthright person. You could do much worse than to vote for her.

    Further, even though third-party candidates perennially do poorly in the US, just voting for them increased the chances that they will be able to collect, e.g., Federal election funds, and thus break the stranglehold that the Democans and Republicrats have on the current process.

  49. Todd:

    You know, right off the top of my head I can name Republicans that I know personally and as public figures who fail more than one of those line items of yours. Likewise, I can name any number of Democrats, who I know personally and as public figures, who can ace your list handily. So the suggestion that the GOP has a monopoly on any of those, and Democrats a deficit, is, to put it politely, specious.

    And as a point of fact I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I’ve been registered as an independent for as long as I’ve voted. So your attempt to pigeonhole me politically has failed twice.

    With that tabled, let’s move along, please.

  50. According to Todd’s logic, I’m the 3/5ths compromise Republican.

    I would have moved along, but the joke was too good to pass up.

  51. One of the reasons local races (congress essentially) matter is that the GOP has already to this point pretty well sewn up a semi-permanent dominance of the House via Voter ID law voter suppression schemes and gerrymandering.

  52. I don’t get the “meh about voting” thing at all. I vote every chance I get (yes, even primaries and those weird little local-only elections for probate judges and public works boards,) and every single time, I get this excited, fluttery feeling, like “Isn’t this COOL?”

    But then, history is one of my passions, and if it has taught me anything, it’s the truth of all those quotes about “the only good thing you can say for representative democracy is that it’s better than the alternative.” And so true. And enough.

    When I started attending precinct caucases (back when they still had them,) before I was even old enough to vote (they allowed school age kids to watch) I remember my stepfather explaining to me that EVERYTHING is run by “the people who show up.”

    I spend a few hours a week taking care of my personal health and hygiene by exercising,fixing fresh food, getting checkups, refilling my prescriptions, researching whether there’s any new and better treatments for my chronic illnesses. If I didn’t do these things, I would not be surprised when my health deteriorated and I felt lousier each year.

    I spend a few hours a week taking care of my home by maintaining the structure and the yard, picking up the dog crap inconsiderate dog walkers leave, patching the driveway, etcetera. If I didn’t do these things, I wouldn’t be surprised when expensive repairs were needed, the neighbors complained, or whatever.

    I spend a few hours a week examining what’s going on in my community, my state, and my country, and what my elected representatives are doing about it, and what other policy makers and non-elected public servants are doing, and I let them know how I feel about it. I show up for “town hall” events when my pols are around. I do this for the same reason I take care of my self and my home.

    Voting is the greatest responsibility our Constitution bestows on me. It’s also a great privilege. Those who hate and fear their fellow-citizens, fight diligently to either a) devalue that privilege to the point where I’ll regard it as a useless exercise; or b) take it from me altogether.

    I will not go quietly into that dark airless night.

    Every vote I cast, no matter how little it may affect any one issue or electoral race, is STILL an act of revolution.

  53. @uleaguehub: The “meh” feeling, at least for me, comes from many elections turning into “who is the lesser evil”. The MA gubernatorial race is certainly in that category for me.

  54. The interesting race in my neck of the woods is the one that will choose Michele Bachmann’s replacement in the House. IR (Independent Republican) Tom Emmer is every bit as much of a wingnut as Michele, though he would probably not offer the same high level of late-night-comedy hilarity. And given the past votes in my district, the wingnut will very likely win. Jon Stewart will be happy, but then he doesn’t have to live here.

    (I had a reaction to Todd’s post, but I see that our host has comprehensively settled that hash.)

  55. John, I had a similar conversation with my teenaged son once upon a time,”We’re an educated white family with jobs in stable industries, so we won’t be too affected. But EVERYBODY ELSE WILL.” i’m a former Buckeye, and now live in Illinois, where the Democrats have a long term stranglehold and yet the Republicans might make things even worse. But even though our choices are crap, at least we have a choice. And our votes count, they really do.

    fill out your ballot and have a drink, folks!

  56. I voted this morning. (Texas does a LOT of things wrong, but making it super easy to vote early is something we do very right, at least in broad strokes.) I was annoyed that my local daily decided to put their endorsements behind a paywall, not because I intended to follow them but because reading their reasoning and comparing it with the reasoning of my local weekly usually tells me more than the bare fact of either endorsement does. (I miss Siskel & Ebert for exactly the same reason.)

    I don’t have a lot of illusions that my vote will sway most of these races, but NOT voting certainly wouldn’t help.

  57. The MA gubernatorial race is certainly in that category for me.

    Indeed. It defies any understanding how Martha Coakley continues to be nominated for things. I’m sure her heart is (mostly) in the right place, but good lord, could there possibly be anyone worse at campaigning?

  58. Yeah. meh. The democratic party keeps trying to tell me that “OMG republicans will take the senate,” but so what? The democratic senate leadership rolls over at every threat of a filibuster, so unless we have a chance to get 60 democratic seats what difference will it make?

    I would vote for anyone who promised to go back to the talking filibuster. I want to see senators standing up there with their legs crossed, reading the phone book out loud.

    That said, my local races do matter. I’ll vote in those without even holding my nose.

  59. I am 5 out of 5 and a tree hugging liberal.

    3 of my close friends where I work are moderate conservative to bat shit crazy far right tea partier. They each pass only two of the requirements. (The tea partier only one)

    That being said all three are great people and good friends.

    The assumption that one side or the other has a monopoly on these traits is not only foolish, but my any measure false.

  60. Here in GA we have an even chance of replacing a retiring GOP Senator with a Democrat. There’s also a decent chance of kicking out our GOP governor for a Democrat grandson of a former President. I’m actually excited for this election here, even if the GOP wins overall nationally.

  61. @John Scalzi: Given that Ohio doesn’t have an open primary, being registered as an independent strike me as rather counterproductive: It means that out of the two stages of the American political process, you only get to vote in the one that offers fewer choices and a smaller chance that your vote will change the outcome. Why would you do that to yourself?

  62. This is one of the ‘gap’ elections but there are still some interesting bits going around.
    The current governor managed to offend everyone he got to vote for him last election, and he got unseated(!) by another member of his party for the upcoming election. Locally, we are up for a referendum on GMO crops, and both Big Ag and Big Paranoia are throwing up enough obfuscatory dust to choke rational discussion everywhere. In another county, there is an ongoing attempt to block public rail transit, although the opposition hasn’t really come up with a better idea. A number of local politicians are spending a small country’s GNP on mailers; the ones who are getting rich are the printers.

  63. I’m thinking I’m voting for Green too this year. I now really really wish the Democrat bosses hadn’t “convinced” Todd Portune to not run against Fitzgerald for the Dem nomination.

    And you get Boehner, while I get Chabot. Chabot makes Boehner look like a moderate, which is typically hard to do.

    But for me, the biggest concern is the State Board of Education; I’d rather not have a bunch of creationists on the board.

  64. Chris H:

    If I think that it’s important to vote in a primary of either party, I might register for that party. Doesn’t mean I would stick with it after the primary.

  65. John Scalzi talking POLITICS!? How strange!

    Anyway, reading the 1860s Lord Acton speech Stu (Alex Flynn) linked to puts things in perspective for me. Politics-wise, we could do a lot worse than we are doing.

    ‘Ugh!’ and ‘Meh!’ are better than ‘Aarrgghh!’.

  66. The republicans are not dumb enough to take your bait to impeach obama. It would be a gift to the democrats 2016 campaign.

    What about local bum creek ohio politics?

  67. I live in a blue state that finally solved its budget crisis and started on the torturous road to economic recovery, thanks in part to the Democratic-leaning results of the last election. It’s unlikely in the extreme my own state will go blue, but it’s possible for the Republicans to gain enough seats in the legislature to block any budgets that don’t include tax breaks for the wealthy and powerful again.

    As a woman who is now past childbearing age, I’m not as threatened by Republican policy as I once was, but my husband and I both work as community college instructors, and the current war on teachers and public employees is pretty scary, since no one seems all that interested in making it easier for us to educate the next generation (Republicans are worse, but the Dems aren’t really ponying up either).

    The thing that’s so discouraging is seeing how little interest college students seem to have in elections, especially when it’s not a presidential election year. And they’re the ones who have the most at stake.

  68. Another Californian here…
    As a resident of San Diego, the House race here matters because both it’s very close and the Republican candidate strikes me as a knave. (I’m not entirely happy with the Democrat, but that’s mostly because he votes more conservative than I am, and I suspect his less-liberal votes are broadly supported.) I also used to call myself an independent, but I really can’t anymore. I’m not sure if I became more liberal or the political ground shifted under my feet, but, according to the US standards of things, apparently I’m a crazy lefty now… and I list myself as a Democrat because, while I once tried to vote for split tickets, I don’t think I have in years. Eventually, you just admit that you’re a partisan voter.

    … and then there are the ballot initiatives, but, honestly, the less said about them the better.

  69. The republicans are not dumb enough to take your bait to impeach obama.

    No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public GOP.

  70. Are the Democrats really that incompetent, or is it more a case of

    1. The constant drumbeat of “they’re incompetent” by the Republicans has begun to take effect? All politicians will make mistakes, but if you attribute all mistakes/failures to incompetence and don’t recognize the successes (For example–the ACA. Far from perfect. Roll-out of the web site a disaster. Overall–a marked improvement over what was there previously and working as designed–each and every “ObamaCare will destroy the US health system and our country” pitch has been proven wrong by the results) it is easy to begin to view them as incompetent after a while, and

    2. With the Republicans stymying literally everything the Democrats have attempted to do they’re being blamed for the lack of success of their policies when their policies haven’t been implemented? After all, it’s easy to claim the Democratic economic policies have failed to move the economy forward as it needs to be, but when the Democrats haven’t had the opportunity to implement any of their policies we’re left with what they would have done if they only could have and being held accountable as if they had indeed been implemented, and

    3. Most of the really intractable problems the Democrats have faced and been blamed for (the Middle East mess, for instance) are insolvable and have persisted through both Democratic and Republican Administrations no matter what each has done (and in many cases today’s problems can be directly tied to the results of earlier “solutions”). The thought that if we had only stayed in Iraq/done “something different” in regards to Syria (without ever defining what that would be)/supported Israel even more strongly/bombed Iran all would be well defies reality.

  71. I don’t actually think the Dems are incompetent, exactly.

    Or rather, they’re incompetent because the system has changed. Basically, the Democratic Party is acting like a party in a two part system SHOULD act, if we’re meant to have something resembling democracy in the aforementioned two party system: they’re a fractious assemblage of people that kinda sorta are the same side who makes alliances and compromises.

    This is good.

    The problem is that the GOP has continually consolidated their party into something more ideologically pure, with a more distinct power structure, and so they are able to act more cohesively as a group.

    But it fundamentally changes the game. And the Dems haven’t been, and may not be able to, change to accommodate this.

    And I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, the GOP is now fundamentally toxic to what I’d consider freedom that they really need more formidable opposition. On the other hand, an ideologically pure and competent Democratic party is likely to be bad, just differently so.

  72. I live in Austin, Texas, the largest city in the country that does not have a House seat anchored there. Austin is split up between six House districts, so there’s more evidence that elections have consequences.

    Here in Texas, you don’t have to register with a party to vote in the primaries. I voted in the Republican primary this year, because there were more foamy nutjobs to vote against. As usual, there was minimal turnout for the primaries, and, since the idiots seem to care enough to vote, they carried the day.

    It’s interesting to me that the reported turnout for early voting is setting records in Texas, which gives me hope that Wendy Davis might lose by less than double-digits.

    I think the GOP will take the Senate, but instead of governing the country, they will waste it trying to impeach Obama, thus killing any chance their Presidential candidate would have in 2016.

  73. I may be the only person in the USA who is optimistic about the coming election. To borrow from Santayana, “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to hear the rest of us complain about it”.

    The last time we had a Congress led by Republicans and a Democrat in the White House, we had a government shutdown, a specious impeachment, and a lot of political brangling. But in the end, we got welfare reform, improvements to NASA, and a balanced budget. Admittedly, those things went the way of all political promises once there was a change in administrations, but for one, brief, shining moment, we were being governed the way that the Founding Fathers meant – with compromise and forethought.

    So it is my fervent hope that when the Republicans win the Senate this time history will repeat itself, only we will have learned enough to allow the spirit of compromise to continue once the dead duck has been cleaned from the larder and the new administration takes its seat.

  74. Even if the Democrats get out the vote in surprisingly large numbers, and take or keep a few Senate seats that they’re currently running behind in, they’ll still need the votes of independents to caucus with and override filibusters on judicial appointments

    The filibuster is gone on judicial appointments except for the Supreme Court. Majority rules, now (that’s not to say that they don’t need the votes of the independents to get to that majority). And if there was a Supreme Court nomination up, and the GOP filibustered it, the Democrats would get rid of the filibuster for that, too.

  75. theophylact: Deborah Frederick: Nixon wasn’t impeached. He resigned in the face of certain impeachment, but he dodged the formal bullet.

    No, you are incorrect. Nixon was impeached by the house. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, he resigned before there was a senate trial. This is unlike the cases of Andrew Johnson and Clinton who were both impeached and tried.


  76. I don’t understand why people seem to think the political system is something do to them instead of something done by them. It is a fundamental aspect of democracy, not a flaw in the system, that people of differing views are allowed to vote. It’s unfortunate that venal idiots are sometimes elected, but they are elected by voters to do their constituents’ bidding.

    So I disagree that Democrats are “incompetent”. There are lots of great Democrats. They don’t all agree with each other, but the main problem they have collectively is the Republican insistence on preventing government from doing anything at all. The Republican have found a strategy that works with some voters and they are doing what they were elected to do. The logical thing to do is to help our fellow voters understand the issues and priorities of the day.

    Our participation in civilized society requires a set of choices. On election day, we need to choose the best candidate available for each position. If we don’t like the candidates offered, then we need to participate in primaries to choose the best candidates running for the party we agree with more. If people think all candidates are equally bad (which really is never the case, there are always some worse than others), we can work for a better political system, with proportional or preferential ballots, to give third parties more of a voice. but we need to acknowledge that for such systems to work and become adopted, we need a social consensus, i.e. a majority of voters, to support such changes.

    I think there are two logical errors in dismissing Democrats as “incompetent”. One is that they’re just playing the cards the voters have dealt; if they don’t have working majorities, they can’t pass legislation. The other is that this is a basic Republican propaganda meme to discourage progressive voters from participating; telling people they are disempowered by the system only serves to empower those who are still participating. After all, the most incopetent Democrat is still a hundred times better than the most moderate and competent Republican. This is not complicated.

    Five Thirty Eight has been explaining for months that Republicans were likely to get a majority in the Senate. Democrats benefited from a huge wave of change in 2008, disgust with Republican management of the economy and foreign policy; that pendulum has swung back partly because the reality if government is always less pretty than what people imagine about candidates who haven’t been elected, and also because midterm elections are always an opportunity for protest against the government, and people treat every election as a referendum on government, of which the President is always the most visible symbol. Some people see midterms as a harmless way of expressing disappointment at the lack of perfection of the president. As presidential elections are where the important choice is made, people take presidential elections much more seriously, such that people who ignore midterm elections or use them as an opportunity for protest voting take their own interests and the future of society much more seriously every four years.

    The economy is better than it was. We are no longer encouraging markets to shift trillions of dollars into market speculation, as the government did in 2007-2008; we are not wasting trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives to impose governments in the Middle East. The Affordable Care Act is saving money and saving lives. Society comes up with new challenges all the time and a lot more progress needs to be made, but if you want that to happen, you have to support candidates who are progressive. If you thin Democrats can do better, talk about specifics, don’t just use an unspecific Republican buzzword like “incompetent”. I have no problem disagreeing with individual Democrats about specific policies; in a small-d democratic coalition there are many channels to advocate and support positive change. Even when they are wrong, they are less wrong.

    I think voters need to play the long game. The good guys won’t win every election. But demographics are making many states more diverse, and voters will be looking more to candidates that offer support for their families and communities. The people who oppose change will get louder and louder the closer change gets, but that is a good thing because it is a sign that change is happening.

    Democrats have won the popular vote in five of the past six persidential elections, but the margins are close enough that we can’t take things for granted. We need Democrats as legislative committee chairs, so it doesn’t matter so much which specific Democrats get elected. Getting anything done is better than getting nothing done. When voters don’t choose the candidates we like, that’s not a reason to give up, we just put good ideas on the shelf until we eventually get the right people in power to implement them. That’s why it’s important to keep supporting every Democrat on the ballot.

    Some day politics may change and Republicans might allow themselves to support policies based on fact, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Democrats aren’t perfect, individually or collectively, but the entire rational spectrum of policy discussion only exists in one party right now.

  77. @Todd–

    You know, you’ve actually just clarified something for me about the GOP. Not your actual argument–that’s a No True Scotsman fallacy through and through–but the fact that you can’t imagine why someone who is gainfully employed, heterosexual, and inclined to responsible behavior in their personal life would fail to vote Republican. I think it’s that the Republican mindset is one of extreme individualism, which leads people to vote primarily for policies that are only of benefit to them on a personal level, where more liberal voters tend to see a value in keeping society running even if it comes with some measure of personal financial cost. For example, I am a gainfully employed married homeowner with no criminal record, history of drug use, or illegitimate children, and yet I still don’t vote for the GOP in national elections. This is because as far as I can tell they’re intent on systematically dismantling our social infrastructure and safety net, and I’d rather have clean water, usable roads, and a functioning education and healthcare system than a couple hundred more dollars in my bank account at the end of the year.

    I have voted for Republican candidates in local elections. I find that at the local level, it’s possible to evaluate candidates on individual merit. But on the national level–no. I can’t vote for a party that is actively trying to sabotage the very government it is supposed to be running.

  78. Dear Alec,

    “… the entire rational spectrum of policy discussion only exists in one party right now.”

    Well, putting aside the word rational for a moment… Because both parties’ partisans believe they’re being entirely rational and that the other side is completely bugfuck crazy… this is both right and wrong. Both parties are being forced to engage in a wide range of political discussion. The GOP is starting well to the right and having to go to even further extremes. But the party’s leadership’s inability to control their members in Congress to the extent of accomplishing even minimal agreements with Obama reflects that. They’ve suffered some severe embarrassments over the past year. Neither party’s leadership is in proper control of its members.

    That is the most fundamental problem. The new crop of politicians do not, actually, know how to play an effective game of politics. There is a known, long-established, and functional way of getting things done in such a system. In fact, it’s the only known way of getting things done unless you hold such a phenomenal super majority of control that you can afford active dissent. It works thusly–– you do indeed debate the entire spectrum of policy discussion that falls within your purview. You debate it until you are satisfied that everyone’s concerns that been heard… or you run out of time. Then you craft a plan, ONE plan, and you all vote for it. Some of you get more of what you want than others. A few of you get everything you want. A few of you don’t get anything you want. You hope for better luck next time.

    But you make a plan, a single plan, and when it comes down to the vote, YOU VOTE THE PARTY LINE. Because if you don’t, nothing effective ever gets done. At best you have a horse designed by a committee, at worst you don’t even have a horse

    Party-wise, if you have the votes to spare, you give a pass to your members whose yea vote would most threaten their chances for reelection. There is horse trading there. There is also a calculus. As a novice politician, you may think voting no on a plan you don’t approve of will help you get reelected… But naysayers and do-nothings get thrown out of office far, far more often than anyone else. And playing Republican-light if you’re a Democrat (or Democrat-light if you’re a Republican) does NOT improve your chances for reelection when the voters are given the choice between you and a real Republican (or Democrat). So sez the numbers

    This is how the Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994. When they swept the government in 2008, I asked a friend who’s a Democratic apparatchik (and a blue dog, damn her eyes––so far as I’m concerned they are the real enemy) if the Democrats had learned the lesson of 1994 or were going to make the same mistake again. She assured me they understood the lessons. Clearly she was very, very wrong. They made the same damn mistake again.

    That’s how you lose control of Congress. Squabble among yourselves, refused to agree on a plan “on principle” and refuse to rally behind the plan because it’s not the one you wanted even though it comes from your party. The Democrats have played that out twice. I doubt they’ve learned anything. Too many of their members are too new and too ignorant. The Republicans are playing it out for the first time (in recent times). I doubt they will learn any better.

    What this is a recipe for is largely ineffectual government and policy, which will cheer the hearts of libertarians everywhere, but the rest of us, not so much.

    This is not a left-vs.-right thing. Despite me being an extreme far-left radical, I’ve seen no evidence this is something that the far-right is more prone to. It’s just that at the present time, the far-right wings of both parties have enough votes to ‘succeed’ in their “if I don’t get my own way I’m going to sink the whole damn ship” strategy. There’s plenty of historical precedent for the far left constituencies in the parties being capable of the same stupid strategy, when their members are numerous enough. It’s simply that right now the far-left wings don’t have enough votes to matter.

    As for the earlier commenter who lauded the benefits of a split government, a fail on two out of three. Welfare “reform” was based on a huge lie promulgated by the Reagan Administration, one so bald-faced and disconnected from reality that their own, peer-reviewed-by-cherry-picked-researchers-and-published-in-Science-magazine research proved that it was a lie. It’s the myth both parties wanted to believe. It was not a victory for good … or split… government. And as for the balanced budget, that was a consequence of the dot-com bubble. Which turned into a bust after everyone stopped buying tulip bulbs. There is little evidence that government policy by either party played into this. They both had the consensus view of keeping hands off. It would’ve played out the same no matter which party was controlling the White House and the houses of Congress. And it would’ve gone bust the same way post-2000.

    But I will give him the NASA one.

    pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery
    — Digital Restorations

  79. I feel for you. I live in a “Blue” constituency – bearing in mind, the colour significance is the other way round in the UK (and indeed, almost everywhere else). They say if you put a blue rosette on a pig around here, it could be elected – and that seems to have happened.

    We face the same choice of frothing ideologue right-wingnuts and left-wingers of dubious competence, plus worthy but so-far unelectable greens. Plus the bugger-factor of UKIP – our own Tea-Party-alike.

    I do wish we could have a “None of the Above” entry on the paper, and if NotA wins, the election is voided and must be re-run, with all the current slate of candidates banned from this round.

  80. Connecticut is pretty much the same thing. You have a sitting guv’nor who barely squeaked out a win, thanks to some very iffy voting from a morally corrupt city (Democratic stronghold, as if), running against the same schmuck from 4 years ago. I voted for the current guv’nor simply because the GOP candidate wasn’t thoroughly honest about his arrest record.

    Some four years later, after working/living under this small town bully who thinks he can spend/tax his way out of a recession that everyone except my home state has gotten out of and dealing with public sector union leadership that is hopelessly out of tune with a very disgruntled rand & file (note, even after the guv’nor attempted to do away with teacher tenure and appointed someone with zero education experience as a commissioner and basically ticking off rank & file to no end, the unions still gave him their endorsement), I will vote for the lessor of the two evils this election.

    On the federal level here, the same old same old will be reelected because nobody gives a flying F about the opposition.

  81. US politics and political trends are surprisingly similar to those in Australia. It’s not just New Zealand that has a reputation for sheep, apparently.

    The differences over there are that the Liberal Party are not liberal, they’re just Liberal because they’re conservative. Don’t confuse conservation with conservative though: the Liberals have cut spending to science and no longer even have a Minister for Science because they don’t believe in climate change. Their Liberal generosity targets mining companies and media magnates.

    In contrast, the Labor Party doesn’t actually do any work. In fact, they’re currently so opposed to labour that they’re agreeing with the Liberals on basically everything even though Labor is (supposedly) Australia’s liberal party.

    It’s easier if you look at them on a spectrum: the Liberal Party is right-wing, look after the wealthy because ‘trickle down economics’ — ROFLMAO, I don’t think even they believe that. The Labor Party used to be left wing social justice activists, the party born in unions. These days the Labor Party is chasing the tails of the Liberal Party, competing to see who can be less liberal.

    You might detect a note of bitterness. I am embarrassed that we have Tony Abbott as prime minister and the government is racing to dismantle the country, to dismantle the good Labor did in getting us through the Global Financial Crisis. It is compulsory for me to vote in a state election next month (state politics is just as bad as federal), and, although the federal election is now less than 2 years away, we probably won’t ditch Moanin’ Tony because Australia has never had a one-term government. Ever.

    Let’s all move to Mars.

  82. @Ctein,

    Please excuse the delay in my response; I’ve been at SEG in Denver for the past week and haven’t had much time to play on the internet.

    I agree that the Reaganist “Welfare Queen” is about as common as an honest politician, however, there was much more in the welfare reform than that; please remember that they also created some serious job training programs that were actually funded (for a change). Though the overall result has been something of a mixed bag, some parts have been beneficial to both the government and the working poor.

    Similarly, your claim that the dot-com bubble was solely responsible for the budget surplus is in error. If that had been the case, then we should have seen an even larger surplus from the housing bubble; instead, we saw a series of ever-larger deficits. We went from a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion between 2002 and 2011 to a deficit of $6.1 trillion or nearly half of the national debt in 2011. $2.8 trillion of that was due to the Bush tax cuts with the rest being due mainly to legislation having higher-than-expected costs.

    But at least we agree on NASA.

  83. I live in a state where the Democratic primary for governor was won by “None of these Candidates.” While that just means that the second place winner is actually the candidate, it probably gives an idea of the level of apathy going on here. There’s no US Senate race either. There’ll probably be record low turnout.

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