(NewsNation) — T’was the night before midterms and all through the house, everybody was stirring —every mouse looking for some cheese.
Election night is easy because you just watch what happens. But, before then, the noise, the commercials, the incessant, ridiculous, apocalyptic commercials promising the other side is worse, the agita, as Italians say, is tough to get through.
But the good news is we already know what matters most. People are getting out there. More than 41 million Americans have already voted, ahead of the pace set in 2018.
There’s a lot we don’t know, like where those votes will make the biggest impact. And, clearly, votes on Election Day will make the difference in every race, hence the madness of “maybes” all over the TV tonight. Social media is at its worst. Everyone has an answer: It “has to be” this outcome or otherwise there is (fill in the blank for conspiracy think or blah blah).
Will it be a red wave or a tsunami, or could there be blue skies when the dust clears? We don’t know.
History tells us President Joe Biden’s party should take losses in Congress. But I will say if that happens, the Democrats missed an opportunity. The times that a president has not taken losses in the first midterms it was because of an overwhelming circumstance, and what happened on January 6 and the election denials and the toxic group think that supports former President Donald Trump’s absolute dominance over the GOP, and the Democrats have not (according to polls of course) gotten people like you in this country to see them as the clearly better proposition.
And this is all about who is worse; totally a war of attrition. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy today touted going after Biden as a main initiative if they come to power. After all the talk about politics and the law needing to stay separate, that’s where we are.
And yet if Blue comes through, it will be the death of polling. That would not be a bad thing.
There is only one thing we must be able to say after Election Day or Wednesday — that democracy worked. That elections happened without large scale drama. That we are better than our worst inclinations.
I wish this were a no-brainer, but Federal agencies sent state and local authorities a bulletin saying election fraud misinformation could likely lead to increased violent threats.
We’ve already seen more than a thousand hostile or threatening public interactions, including death threat, that they reported to the Justice Department. Now, Texas is worried about poll workers not coming.
Hopefully this is a contained fear reflex and the polls can operate.
Two other points to consider: tomorrow matters for what happens in the Presidential race. If the Democrats are really whupped, is Biden the scapegoat? And does that mean he has to go?
That may be their only play. And the red wave, though expected, will be capitalized on by former President Trump. That is obvious.
What should also be obvious is that his legal woes will not hinder his run, and may help it. His base sees any scrutiny of him as proof of concept that he is hated by their enemies, and if you think that being indicted even means something, look at Israel.
Two takeaways there. Benjamin Netanyahu, currently facing corruption charges, just won back his seat as prime minister. Why? Because there, like here, there is a low expectation for politicians and the existential fear and concerns about security and disappointment with the current rulers won out.
There are other factors specific to their struggles that matter, but there are legit comparisons to the U.S.
My main question for you tonight is whether we vote too much.
Tomorrow, 435 House seats are on the ballot, along with 35 in the senate and 36 governors’ mansions. Most democracies vote a lot less and for a lot less.
You could say that shows how participatory our democracy is. Or is it too much?
Americans going to the polls tomorrow could be voting on their 30th or 40th race in just 4 years, according to the New York Times.
Compare that to Germany, where voters may cast a ballot just 6-8 times in the same stretch.
U.S. voters elect more than 500,000 officials and we’re the only democracy to vote on judges and prosecutors.
Maybe that is why more of us don’t vote. It never ends. The Times quotes stats which show turnouts for local election often fall short of 25%, and even as low as 15%.
And the money! This cycle $9 billion has been spent; twice as much as in 2002. Is this really the best use of our time and treasure? Constant campaign mode? It’s easier than governing I guess, because instead of showing progress you can just attack the other side, and that’s what we got.
I hope the vote is robust and the outcomes are decisive and peaceful, and that the legal and political drama that comes is quick and fair — but then, we really need to think about how to make things better.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.