Midterm elections are a funny aspect of American politics. Among other things, they serve as a good barometer. This should make both major parties a bit nervous.
Republicans will get to see whether voters are pleased with their progress, or lack thereof, in the past two years. At the same time, the Democrats, in the midst of a Trump presidency and minority leadership, have a chance to gain some ground before gearing up for the 2020 presidential election.
This year, the GOP is flaunting a booming economy and lower taxes. Regardless of your feelings about the current administration, these realities will impress citizens more than screeching soundbites ever will. The Resistance may overwhelm social and mainstream media, but your average American trying to provide for his/her family will let their bank account speak to them first.
Because of this (and other factors), the Democrats must do their best to get people to the polls. They need their own to show up. But of course, it’s the midterms and people are neither as informed nor nearly as enthusiastic.
Democrats in Congress, like Nancy Pelosi, know that the lack of interest is there. She also believes that Russian election interference will occur – again – this fall.
Today’s indictment of 12 Russians who participated in a massive, concerted operation to interfere in our elections shows that immediate action is needed to secure our elections – not more Republican sham hearings. #ProtectOurDemocracy pic.twitter.com/tFcVidvU6Y
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 13, 2018
If this were true, that the very fabric of our country is threatened, then Democrats would show up in droves at polling places nationwide. Such a massive turnout would be absolutely historic and would, perhaps, shift the balance of power.
But I don’t expect record numbers from them, do you?
The truth is that plenty of people tune out of politics once the presidential debates are done and ads are silent. They go back to their lives and continue on as before. Sure, they may notice the 24-hour news cycle and catch a few talking heads arguing around a table now and then, but overall, that is just fluff and noise.
If Democrats truly wanted to make a mark on elections, they would vote in this fall’s midterms. They have so much going for them. There is no “outdated” Electoral College involved this time. The candidates with the most votes win! Make the case for your candidate, watch him/her get more ballot support, and you’ll have achieved victory. No Russian interference needed.
Even Friday’s news that twelve Russian military officers were indicted for hacking associated with the 2016 election won’t change minds. Why? Because, as Jonathan Turley correctly stated at The Hill, this still doesn’t mean actual collusion.
With minutes of its release, the latest indictment was unrecognizable after being put through the centrifuge of the Washington spin machine. The fact is that the indictment largely confirmed what we knew. It shows an effort by the Russians to undermine Clinton and influence the election; it also shows no evidence of knowing collusion and, indeed, very limited evidence of unknowing collusion.
We can be outraged by the Russian operation without being hypocrites as to our own history. Likewise, we can support the Mueller investigation without ignoring the fact that no credible evidence has thus far arisen against Trump on collusion.
Should we be bothered by foreign interference? Of course. Does this mean the current administration and its underlings are guilty of conspiring? As of right now, after months and months of investigation, there simply isn’t any evidence. And “no evidence of knowing collusion” is not about to light a fire under independents and undecideds, two groups needed by the Democrats this fall.
This fall, Democrats have an opportunity to present themselves as a better alternative. And according to them, they also have a chance to stand up to a foreign power that was looking to sway our last election.
Unfortunately for Democrats, they have many things going against them as we head toward midterms, chief of which is the disinterest within their ranks.