Professionals are explaining why Americans yesterday traded in glamorous Democrats for rather unimpressive Republicans in Washington and several states. Our explanation is a simple one: The voters are disappointed.
Democratic pundits are saying that the voters have not bought into Republican ideology; they have only rejected Obama. We agree; the Republicans have not demonstrated recognizable ideology, excepting the (anathema) Tea Party, to begin with and are now in power mostly because they are not Democrats, from what we can see. A lesser of two evils. Voter turnout was low; it appears that Republicans were elected because Democrats stayed home — a replay of Obama’s reelection, in the opposite direction.
The American system offers only two choices; unhappy voters were stuck with the GOP or staying home. Those few paying attention to recent history, will recall that Obama won big for his first term, drawing control of both houses of Congress and triumphantly passing Obamacare with no Republican votes. But at the midterms, buyer’s remorse had already set in to the extent that the GOP gained control of the House, which they have retained since.
However, by the succeeding presidential election, Obama was a hero again, at least enough for reelection. And now we have another midterm with resurgent Republicans. Anybody see a pattern shaping up? The Dems are for now, stuck with Hillary; the GOP has none. Two years in politic can be an age; what will we see by 2016? The economy is the joker; where it goes in the interim and who gets the blame.
We expect the deficits to continue; we see neither party willing to face economic reality until they are forced to do that. Then it will be musical chairs, each trying to blame the other for what they have jointly brought about.
We suppose the Republicans no more prepared to face reality than the Dems; consider what that reality is:
1. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare are popular programs but the taxes collected to fund them are insufficient; the result is chronic government deficits. The President’s overseas military adventures are pure expense and add to those deficits. So the government must either cut popular programs (horrors!) or raise taxes a lot more than Obamacare has already managed. The GOP is anti tax, at least in rhetoric. And who will cut Social Security?
2. The voters are restive because they’re not doing well, their kids can’t find jobs or afford college to qualify for jobs and the percentage of the population working has shrunken to 1970’s levels, back when a lot of folk were non-working housewives. Voters don’t see this as “Progressive.”
3. In egalitarian America, our nobles increasingly decide what’s good for us and expect to live differently than they prescribe for us; an old viewpoint in the world but a new one in America. It doesn’t play well here. Our leaders recognize that America lives better than most and they are (quietly) devoted to curing that. as their policies illustrate, especially at the moment, energy. These new Malthusians are forcing their error upon the populace when instead, they should be looking for new technological means for sustaining the American lifestyle at lower cost, paralleling the ‘green revolution’ that gave the lie to Malthus. But they are tearing prosperity down to help folks elsewhere instead. Prosperity is not a zero-sum game; our American leaders seem to have forgotten that.
3. Civil order becomes restive in hard times and folks will rise up hoping to replace the mighty by blaming them for what they have created; they cannot hide. The current election results ought to convince of that. Leaders cannot survive much longer ignoring realities, even though publicizing them will be unpopular. Both politicians and voters need to grow up.
This has been a reprise of American politics; Europe however, is little different in the main. There too, governments are afraid to admit they cannot afford present expenditures upon which folk are dependent and to which they now feel entitled, led to do so by politicians. Greece and Spain are increasingly dire warnings.
In the U.S. there was a deep depression in 1921; then President Warren Harding horrified his Secretary of Commerce by saying that government could not cure such things; the market needed to work them out without intrusion by government. The depression was gone in two years; his horrified Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, had his chance to prove how wrong Harding was when he was himself president in 1929, the start of the Great Depression. And that trap, promising government control of the economy to provide for all has plagued us ever since.
The old Scriptures present two unrefuted truths that have nothing to do with religion: First, “In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread.” And second: “The poor you will always have with you.” Voters need to recall those instead of absorbing the contrary promises of opportunistic politicians who will never deliver their promises. There’s a third one we really find inspiring, too: “Put not they faith in princes.” Mayber those old Biblical writers knew a few things after all?