52 Weeks

Happy Election Day!

That’s kind of a joke, see, because its pretty clear that Americans have scarcely had an unhappier election day. There are elections taking place across the country today but those in three states seem likely to have national impact; Kentucky and Mississippi will vote for governor and in Virginia the entire state legislature is up for grabs. You can listen to a detailed account of the former here and the read one on the latter here. But the message in all three races is similar: more than anything the candidates say, do or have done, these votes are about Donald Trump.

Democrats are angry about the President “hobnobbing with dictators” and anxious to show him and his supporters that they are on their way out by voting for the Democrat. Supporters of the President say the impeachment process is “totally ridiculous” and want to show “the enemy” that they won’t stand for it by voting for the Republican. Isn’t there more than this?

Seriously, where does this leave us? 52 weeks from today we will, assuming the President is still in office, all get a chance to vote for or against Donald Trump. If he is not, the same will presumably be true of Mike Pence. But there will also be 34 elections that day for the the US Senate and 435 seats in the House of Representatives. If all we are going to do that day is vote for a straight party ticket couldn’t we just tell the candidates to not bother making the signs? Skip the attack ads (no one will miss them) and donate the money to charity instead…this idea is growing on me. We will put a D and an R in their respective places down the ballot and move on. Nate Silver could probably give us a pretty good guess…today…at what the 117th Congress will look like. Spoiler alert…it may not look as different as you think.

“But wait”, I can hear you saying. “We’ll have Elizabeth Warren, or Joe Biden or Bernie or Mayor Pete in the White House, we’ll be back to the good old days”…of 2015. It wasn’t that long ago folks. There were things about our country that needed to be fixed then, they need to be fixed even more now. But without a Congress made up of people that can think for themselves, that are running on some idea other than being an alternative to the “enemy” on the other side of the ballot, we’re likely headed for the same outcome.

But we can do something….and we don’t have to wait a year. First, if you are in a state where elections are being held today, and most are, vote…duh. And if those local elections are somehow free of partisan nonsense then revel in the way our process is supposed to work….votes based on ideas.

Next – just 17 weeks from today is Super Tuesday. Yes, it’s a big day in the race for the Democratic nomination for President. But it’s also the state primary day in Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, California and Texas (together these states make up more than one fourth of the US House.) Remember that feeling of going to the poll in November and thinking, I don’t like either of these people? This is your chance to do something about it….pay attention to what the candidates are saying…now.

Starting the first week of December 435 Voices will begin looking at the districts in those five states; looking for ideas…not dogma.