Oh, would that the left could only have their supreme authority, free of the cumbersome electoral process. Then our problems could really be solved.
On Sunday the New York Times ran an opinion piece. “Cancel the Midterms.” Subtle. What could it be about?
The point of the article was actually an argument in favor of eliminating the two-year terms of Congress and adjusting the elections of all national level representative officials to coincide with presidential elections. That way the American people could decide their entire government at once. What they’re describing is effectively more of a European-style parliamentary democratic government. Shocker. The desired result is to end gridlock. One group essentially holds ALL of the power after an election. If voters aren’t happy, they give the other side ALL of the power come next election.
The reasons why even though the structure of the Constitution would still largely be intact are many and varied. Psychological associations and the like. The purpose would be to draw in millions of Americans who usually don’t vote in midterms, coincidentally the largest and least acknowledged democrat voter bloc, the uninformed and uninvolved. The party’s survival depends on the huge swaths of the population who never concern themselves in politics but suddenly get an obligatory urge to vote come presidential election time. Usually, but with admitted exceptions such as eight years ago, midterms aren’t very kind to democrats. Precisely because midterm voters are more educated on the issues. They’re out of their element when it’s not a popularity contest.
Whether or not the argument that two years is too short of a term for the modern era has any merit aside, the authors (a Duke professor and his toady) couldn’t help but allow their ulterior motives to seep through. This wouldn’t exactly have been written in 2006.
Also, if they’re not actually advocating for unchallengeable dictatorial powers in whichever party is in office, preferably democrats, they make some interesting decisions in their wording.
There was a time when midterm elections made sense — at our nation’s founding, the Constitution represented a new form of republican government, and it was important for at least one body of Congress to be CLOSELY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE.
But the two-year cycle isn’t just unnecessary; it’s harmful to American politics.
The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president, the only government official (other than the powerless vice president) elected by the entire nation.
Yep, government accountability sure doesn’t have the same priority for true patriots that it did back in the day. If anything, it can actually prevent government from doing all the wonderful things we really want it to do.
The realities of the modern election cycle are that we spend almost two years selecting a president with a well-developed agenda, but then, less than two years after the inauguration, the midterm election cripples that same president’s ability to advance that agenda.
The simple fact that when they describe this problem the conclusion they immediately spring to is to change the process by which we select our representatives, rather than spend a moment maybe scrutinizing the content of said agendas, speaks volumes. Nothing is ever perfect, but logic dictates that a popular and, more importantly, successful president wouldn’t have this problem. The structure isn’t the issue. Trying to “fundamentally transform” it is.
Another quirk is that, during midterm elections, the electorate has been whiter, wealthier, older and more educated than during presidential elections. Biennial elections require our representatives to take this into account, appealing to one set of voters for two years, then a very different electorate two years later.
After the required leftist commentary buzzwords drawing racial and class ties to this, notice the last descriptor used. More educated. One might make the argument that the piece becomes self-defeating right there. The voters who actually make educated decisions have an inordinate amount of influence in the midterms. That needs to get fixed. Half of the elections we only have to seduce the useful idiots. The other half we have to actually convince the skeptical. We could get to utopia a lot faster if we just cut that out.
Paradoxically, even though the midterm elections are what is on the minds of the nation right now, the time for making this argument would have either been a year ago or six months from now. Otherwise one’s timing for writing something like this is justifiably suspect.