Unsurprisingly, we have been misinformed. One of the election themes emerging from the media was that the Tuesday midterms were a hidden but serious “win” for Hillary. According to Yahoo News:
Take a closer look at demography, geography and the road ahead for the parties, and it’s clear that the long-term winner of the 2014 midterms wasn’t the GOP at all. The long-term winner, in fact, wasn’t even on the ballot this year.
Her name is Hillary Clinton.
Okay. Whoever wrote this was probably drunk at the time, and who could blame them? Nothing could be more punishing for someone of this stripe than watching election after election fall to the Forces of Darkness, and sooner or later the yearning to hit the bottle hard and often must have become irresistible. But even these tortured constructs and desperate fantasies were not to be spared; alas, somebody actually asked the voters.
An NBC exit poll reveals that 40% of actual voters said they would vote for a Republican candidate over Clinton, with 34% saying they would elect Clinton. To be fair, no single Republican outpolled Clinton head-to-head, and we won’t bother listing the reasons this might be so. Still, it hardly adds up to a ringing endorsement of the Arkansas dynast.
Frankly, we think no one won this election, because it wasn’t an election. It was a shrug. Obama was correct to point out that two-thirds of voters didn’t even bother to show up, saying “I hear you, too.” He should. Normally, the midterm turnout averages about 45%, versus around 60% for presidential years. This year it was only about 35%, which would be a decline in the actual number of people voting of about 22%. That’s a big difference.
All this in spite of all the drum-beating to get out the vote? The millions of dollars, the impassioned pleas, the clarion call to “mobilize the base?” (One of the more curious aspects of this effort was the language used by both Barack and Michelle Obama to couch their urgings: it was almost invariably “We need you to…” or “I want you to….” Did they think all this was just about what they need and they want?)
While much has been said and written about voter disgust with Washington, and their anger at both parties’ confrontational tactics, something has been missed here. The voters aren’t just angry; they’re unimpressed. After six years of hearing the trumpet blasts promising plenty, or the deep bass chimes forecasting doom, they just don’t believe much of what they hear any more, and worse, they have begun to think that there’s little that Washington can do to affect them. It’s no longer Republican versus Democrat. Instead, it’s just a bunch of faceless people in blue suits with flag pins in their lapels, all murmuring the same “We know what’s best for you” chant, even as the long slide into desuetude continues, in spite of rosy statistics and bold assertions of success.
There’s a weird new coalition of the disenchanted out there: blacks and Hispanics on the left, who wonder what, if anything, this strange Messiah can deliver, and another, perhaps more interesting faction in between.
The “minorities” can’t find anything in Obama’s programs that will actually change or improve their lives. On the left, they see through the gaudy chrome of the rhetoric and find themselves looking at a rickety chassis of nothing-new-here gobbledegook of union pandering, absurd claims of “improvement,” and barely-disguised carnival barker shills, with nothing to show for it.
On the right — and this is very damn important — are the “salt of the earth.” The blue-collar and white-collar Americans who always thought that if they worked hard, put in their time, and minded their own business, they would be rewarded with a safe, happy and secure retirement in a country they could called America.
This America has gone away. It seems to them that they just don’t count. They they have has been replaced by a bizarre nether-world where strangers are welcome, without sanction or law, to take from those who have worked their whole lives for the savings they have so carefully husbanded, because their leader’s largesse — if not their pockets — is limitless. They are told that their America is no longer. That is has been “transformed.”
I don’t think they liked it. A strange coalition, the haves and the have-nots, may have found a common ground against the “you-have/I-got” disseminators of the nation’s wealth. We’ll see. As the pundits said, electoral gains are short-term.
In short — those people who didn’t vote made a much louder statement than any of those who did. They comprise an impressive majority. Strange bedfellows indeed.