Midterm Myopia

The midterm elections is all anyone is talking about in American Politics. In NZ you may be missing it, which is a good thing I assure you. I consume a titanic amount of American political news and analysis, because, well, I need activity. And there is always a lot of noise coming out of ‘Murica, and it is like white noise, it helps me sleep.

The 2018 midterm election is on November 6, and on that day the entire House of Representatives gets elected, a third of the Senate, and hundreds of state and local officials. Big change is opportune, and for the Democrats the odds are in their favor. Unless they choke. And that is what most analysis is focused on. How big will the Democrat wave be, and will it flounder? I thought I would cut through the noise and give it to you in simple terms.

The stakes. These pointy things just get sharper by the minute and threaten to impale the world through its arse. Jair Bolonaro just got elected as President of Brazil, and he promised to further open up the Amazon rain-forest to big-business. So if Trump’s rancid environmental policies continue unchecked coupled with the end of the Amazon, we can kiss the blue sky away. And welcome yet more violent storms. That should be reason enough to send American’s to the polls, but unfortunately in some cases they are too lazy, and others they are inhibited by state restrictions. It is strange in NZ where it is illegal to not be enrolled to vote, or Australia where failure to cast a ballot incurs a fine, but in the USA state governments try to stop people from voting.

Donald Trump won’t be impeached whatever the result. Impeachments are incredibly difficult to win. Removal from office must be voted for by two thirds of the Senate, and if the Democrats take the Senate they will only win it by two or three seats. Impeachment is a non-starter, but obfuscation of Trump’s agenda is possible. That too means something. Tax cuts for the rich become impossible. Health Care cannot be removed. Social Security won’t be gutted. Hearings on anything from Russian meddling, to Trump’s business dealings can be held.

On the state level, this election is critical. State governments control the redistricting that determines the boundaries of Congressional districts after a census. The next census is scheduled for 2020. The last was 2010, and the Republican governors ensured that the districts were drawn in such a way as to favor republican incumbents. The practice is called gerrymandering. The Democrats might have a chance to undo the damage caused in 2010, damage that means you need far more votes to elect Democrats on a federal level than you do to elect Republicans. See the video below to find out more about gerrymandering.

The election also gives us the opportunity to be rid of Ted Cruz. He is neck and neck with Betto O’Rourke, a Democrat who hasn’t shied away from his left-wing positions in order to get elected. This is an election in Texas, so the fact that Cruz isn’t ten points up is remarkable.

Texas Democratic Convention, Fort Worth, USA - 22 Jun 2018
Betto O’Rourke

Let us prepare for the worse. Let us prepare for the bloated face of smug Donald Trump taking a victory lap. This isn’t 2016. There will be no post-election depression. Either there is victory, or we move on to the next contest. I will follow it all so you don’t have to.

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