This caught my attention:
The CNN/ORC poll shows that 30% of Americans are “very angry” and 38% are “somewhat angry” about the way things are going in the country, while 31% expressed “no anger” at all. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes the 31% of “very angry” Americans matches the mood of the country in 2010 when Republicans took back control of the House.
First, what is ORC? The article never says. We are told that this statistic matters, but we don’t know who ORC is. When I read ORC, I think Mork and Mindy.
Second, why did they take this survey less than two weeks before Congressional elections? Why didn’t they take it six months ago?
Third, is this different from surveys taken in the past in the off-year Congressional election of a lame-duck President’s term? Is a majority ever happy at this stage?
We have had three two-term Presidents in a row, from rival parties: Clinton, Bush, and Obama. This has never happened before. We have never before had even two back-to-back Presidents from rival parties before.
What this tells us is that over two-thirds of Americans (1) don’t like the way the country is headed, and (2) they think politics will fix things. “If the good guys can just win next month!” But no one can agree on who the good guys are.
The political system keeps re-electing the same Presidents, but not from the same parties.
The political system keeps re-electing Congressmen from the same gerrymandered districts, meaning most of them.
The results of the political system keeps persuading the vast majority of voters that the country is not headed in the right direction.
Yet we live in a democracy.
If you kept buying a product that disappointed you, year after year, and which had disappointed your parents, I would want to be the owner of the company that keeps you coming back for more. “I hate it! I hate it! I’ll buy it!” That’s the company which America’s politicians do, in fact, own. It is a closely held corporation offering limited liability for the owners.
When was the last time an election fundamentally changed the direction of the country? I think I can plausibly argue for 1860. I also think 1916 did, maybe. It led to World War I. Wilson won by promising not to take the country into war, which he did a month after his inauguration. His opponent might not have done this. Do you recall his opponent’s name? He was the last presidential candidate to wear a beard. Losers are forgotten fast. But in 1916, we had the Federal Reserve System and the federal income tax. The revolution was.
As for off-year Congressional elections, can you name any that fundamentally changed the country’s direction?
My conclusion: politics is not working as promised.
The definition of a crazy person is someone who keeps doing the same thing that consistently produces results that he does not like.
How crazy are we?