Election 2014

Why Dems and Reps Both Want a Midterm Election About Nothing


Less than two weeks away, the midterm elections seem like an episode of Seinfeld: They're about nothing.

I've got a new Daily Beast column up about the midterms. Here's a snippet:

The most riveting stories so far deal with trivial matters that sound like deleted scenes from a George Costanza fever dream. Did Charlie Crist break the rules by having a fan blowing on his crotch during the Florida guberntorial debate? Is Texas' Greg Abbott anti-dildo and anti-interracial marriage? Did Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner really play high school football?

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans mustered the strength to articulate a unified vision for the country, and individual candidates are mostly running on a variation of the theme that they're not as completely contemptible as their opponent. Sadly, but predictably, most of them are lying.

The tragicomedy of U.S. politics is that we really do get the government we deserve. But even a nation of idiots that is paying Social Security to Nazi war criminals deserves better than the content-free snarkfest that will come to a pause on November 4—before starting up again on November 5, as the preparations for the 2016 presidential election get underway.

More here.

The short version is this: Politicians are refusing to talk about serious issues because they can get away with it.

Read the whole thing to see a surprise endorsement of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

NEXT: Federal Involvement Is the Problem With Common Core, Education Experts Agree

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The pillaging continues at our expense. They may not want to talk about it, but here we are, living in a society with far less freedom, wealth, and happiness than we could be, thanks to the thieving and parasitic government.

    In other words, “No, fuck you, cut spending.” And, while we’re at it, cut government, cut interference with our civil liberties, and cut endless war.

    1. But short of just shutting down the government, something that you and I think is a great idea but Reason thought was the worst thing ever when the Republicans did it, what are the Republicans supposed to do without the White House?

      1. Well, if they get control of the Senate, I have several suggestions, especially if they win big. In that happens, they can likely get at least a few Democratic votes for veto overrides, so new laws and repeals could be options.

        I’d also like to see some investigations and impeachments of various officials, but that’s just an aside for now. If they lack the ability to force legislation through, then they could maybe focus more on these measures.

        1. That is the key, If they win big, the Democrats will turn on Obama and opposition will become bi partisan. When that happens even the media won’t be able to cover for Obama and shreek will cry, a lot.

          1. I know it’s unlikely, but it would be so awesome if they went on a reform binge and starting tossing laws and officials left and right.

        2. There is no way you’re going to get enough Dems in the Senate to turn against Obama. Even the most rosy plausible outcome for the GOP is 52 GOP, 48 Dem-caucusers. They’d need 15/48 Dems to cross over, and this is after knocking off a lot of old-timer Dems and red-state Dems in the 2014 elections. The Senators running for reelection in 2016 are the winners of the 2010 elections, i.e. mostly GOP.

          The remnants of the Dem caucus would be a lot of die-hard liberals in blue states and a few red-state Dems who don’t have to run again until 2018… you’re not going to get 30% of that group to turn on Obama.

      2. I remember a lot from Reason about how the government shutdown was carried out in a completely stupid way (by the administration), but not so much about how it was a terrible thing in and of itself. Maybe a bit about how it was perhaps strategically not the best move for Republicans and they should have been doing more to keep focus on failures of Obamacare.

        1. Don’t ruin John narrative…

          1. Don’t put Reason’s douche baggery down the memory hole.

        2. No, you know, I think I agree with John on this. They seemed to object to the shutdown as a bad move (not the method, the act itself). I object to that objection.

          1. That’s my recollection, as well.

            They weren’t supporting the goal but opposing the tactics. They were opposing the goal.

            Mebbe the wayback machine could help out, here.

        3. They ran some articles on how it was a stupid move politically, and wouldn’t actually accomplish anything. And they were right. The GOP had to cave on the debt ceiling to get the story out of the media, and you can thank the shutdown for Governor McAuliffe in Virginia.

          No, the ability of dogmatic libertarians to jerk off to the idea that the government was temporarily shut down does not count as an accomplishment.

  2. Where the 06 elections about nothing? I seem to recall Reason viewing them as the country repudiating Bush. The Dems didn’t run on anything other than “Bush sucks” back then. If the 06 elections were about repudiating Bush and Reason saw that as good, why is is to hard to say this election is about repudiating Obama?

    This is why people like me think you are just a lefty collecting a paycheck Nick.

    1. I think the 2010 elections were about repudiating the Dems and Obama, and embracing the Tea Party/Libertarian ethos of smaller government.

      This election seems to me to be more about repudiating every goddamn one of the people in office regardless of party due to their sheer incompetence overall.

      Save for a handful of people like Trey Gowdy or Rand Paul there haven’t been any pols worth a pot to piss in recently. Even McConnell can’t close the deal in KY and Grimes is a disaster.

      Seems like a win-win for libertarians to me.

      1. I don’t see how the country souring on all politicians is a bad thing, yet Nick manages to see it as such. I don’t get it.

        1. It’s a bad thing because they are replacing the ones they hate with their doppelgangers in a different tie.

          1. Maybe. But that was just as true in 06 and Nick seemed pretty happy about it then. Yet, for some reason he is not now.

            1. I don’t understand why Nicks opinion of an election that took place 8 years ago has any relevance to his opinion of the current one.

              1. Because the two elections are mirror images of each other. Everything Nick is saying now about the Republicans could have just as easily been said about the Democrats in 06. Yet, Nick wasn’t saying that then. When the parties were reversed, Nick thought the election was great and was about a lot because it represented a repudiation of Bush.

                Now that the parties are reversed and the election is a repudiation of Obama, Nick isn’t so happy and sees the election about nothing. The two elections are like a controlled single variable experiment to determine Nick’s actual political views. And the results are not good.

                1. Translation – Nick won’t suck Team Red cock like John does.

                  1. CHRISTFAG!!!!

                    Looks like someone isn’t getting enough attention today.

                2. So what are you saying, John? Nick is secretly a Democrat and all of this libertarian stuff is just a ploy for…what exactly?

                  I haven’t read the full article, so I may be missing it, but is Nick saying that he thinks the election is about nothing? The headline and the excerpt published here don’t seem to say that. It says that the parties want it to be about nothing. Which seems pretty accurate to me. The Republicans don’t want it to be about tea party stuff or anything where they might have to stand on principle and the Dems don’t want it to be about Obama or healthcare or war or any of the other things where they are just as bad.

                  1. IN 2006 REason never said the election was about nothing or that the Democrats were about nothing because it wasn’t about nothing. It was about the country repudiating Bush. This year is exactly the same only the country is repudiating Obama. Yet, this time, unlike 06, Nick is whining that the election is about nothing and can’t seem to be happy that it is going to be a repudiation of Obmaa like he was when it was a repudiation of Bush.

                  2. Reason has never employed a secret angry leftist. No sir never. In fact it was the complete opposite that damn Christian socon Dave Weigel tricked all the decent libertarians at Reason for so long. Or maybe they were just pretending to be tricked.

              2. You don’t. That’s unfortunate. Maybe (I don’t want to put words In your mouth) you understand perfectly but don’t like the implications that would evoke about Gillespie’s political world view. Namely, that he is a Wiegel type lefty that resents that he has to slum at Reason because NYT or Slate didn’t think he had what it takes.

                1. Maybe all the good libertarian sense was in the leather jacket, and once he doffed his shielding the killer Democrat beams started radiating from him.

        2. Nick sees this as a bad thing?


          1. I don’t really see it either.

      2. This election seems to me to be more about repudiating every goddamn one of the people in office regardless of party due to their sheer incompetence overall.

        By re-electing over 90% of them.

    2. In Gillispie’s defense this is 2014 and the Dems are still running on that platform. What makes this election so tiresome is that the Republicans are to.

      1. The Republicans are running on Bush?

        1. Well anti-obama anyway.

          1. It’s tiresome because nobody is presenting any ideas they just are attacking each other over their party affiliation.

            1. That is what happens when its a midterm and the party in power has a record of total failure. Since the White House is not at stake, the party out of power can’t do much if they win so they go after how much the party in power sucks. And the party in power can’t run on their record.

            2. TEAM BLUE has the idea that TEAM RED is waging war on women.

              TEAM RED is anti-Obama.

              At least, that’s pretty much the impression I get of the two TEAMS.

    3. The Dems didn’t run on anything other than “Bush sucks” back then.

      Uh, no, they ran on ending the Iraq War. Were you born in 2007?

  3. Why Dems and Reps Both Want a Midterm Election About Nothing

    What for? They know that for the voters it’s all about punishing one guy by voting for the other guy, not about issues.

    Besides, what’s with this “let’s talk about the issues” shit? Since when has government ever done something about “the issues” that doesn’t involve bribing people with free shit? Get over it.

  4. The Democrats can’t run on their records or policy positions. The Republicans don’t want to make promises for smaller government they don’t intend to keep.

    Even the National Review is noticing issues politicians won’t tough – “Meet the New Serfs: You ”


  5. For their part, Republicans recognize that gay marriage and immigrant bashing don’t bring out the votes like they used to, and they’re worried about saying anything specific they might actually be held to on the off-chance they win big.

    If they win big look for more gay/immigrant bashing and lots of abortion bills.

    Some things never change.

    1. Whatever, turd.

    2. Re: Peter Caca,

      If they win big look for more gay/immigrant bashing and lots of abortion bills.

      What’s an “abortion bill”?

      1. An abortion bill is something no woman should ever have to pay after getting an abortion.

  6. To start, I don’t think it’s a scandal that war criminals who paid into Social Security are receiving benefits – unless part of their sentence was to forfeit SS (heh!), or they were fined and the SS payments were taken out of their fine.

    But in Flemming v. Nestor, Congress pulled with Communist deportees what you want to pull with Nazi deportees – yank their Social Security into which they had paid. The Supreme Court let the govt get away with this because Social Security wasn’t a *real* insurance program and there were no contract rights under it. This outraged libertarians and *true* conservatives.

  7. Less than two weeks away, the midterm elections seem like an episode of Seinfeld: They’re about nothing.

    “Getting my face in that pile of pork ain’t ‘nothin’, son.”

    ~Political Candidate

  8. JackHughes_2 1 hour ago
    One can understand why the Republicans would like to keep the election about “nothing.” After all, they’ve offered nothing but obstruction and propaganda so dishonest it’s reached the point of idiocy.

    The question that is totally inexplicable is why would the Democrats avoid serious issues that would be expected to favor them politically? The only explanation is political cowardice and ineptitude.

    ParadigmSoup 2 hours ago
    The wealthy pols don’t want to solve anything for fear that the shady money providers will back their opponents and defund their re-election campaigns. They just want to keep riding the money train on both sides of the fence. Citizens United isn’t helping matters. The system needs a complete overhaul.

    kathukid 3 hours ago
    When we should be talking about climate change, voter suppression, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, massive poverty, 35 million homeless, the corruption in Congress, crumbling infrastructure, and a million other things, all politicians do is attack each other and talk about nothing substantial. Our democracy is facing one of the most perilous periods in our history, and yet people are still asleep to what is happening to our nation and our system of government. Please wake up people, get out and vote.

    The Daily Beast, everyone.

    1. 10% of the country is homeless? Jesus where the fuck are these herds congregating at?

      1. Yeah, and ‘massive poverty’? I think that means someone didn’t get get the 50″ flat-screen.

      2. They’re over there. Right there! See? There’s a homeless person peeping around the corner at you!

      3. That is as stupid as the RWNJ lie that 35% of the country is unemployed because of the LFP rate.

        1. Not nearly as stupid as one of your posts, turd.

        2. If you use more ABW when you COHNR then you may be able to CBWYWTS and then PWUY.

        3. That is as stupid as the RWNJ lie that 35% of the country is unemployed because of the LFP rate.

          Which is almost as stupid as the claim that somebody who has no job and has given up on every getting one isn’t unemployed.

      4. They are home insecure.

        1. They live in a ‘home desert’!

      5. Jesus where the fuck are these herds congregating at?

        They’re counting the millennials living in mommy’s basement.

    2. …”Our democracy is facing one of the most perilous periods in our history, and yet people are still asleep to what is happening to our nation and our system of government.”…

      Quite possibly, but this yo-yo wouldn’t know what that means.

    3. “It’s a symptom. You’re treating a symptom, and the disease rages on, consumes the human race. The fish rots from the head, as they say. So my thinking is, why not cut off the head?

      It’s not a perfect metaphor, but I’m talking about an overhaul of the system. Putting the power in… different hands.”

      1. +1 hammer-penis

      2. I hate the homeless…ness problem in this city.

    4. ParadignmSoup was doing pretty good until CU.

    5. This election is going to change nothing. It is not like the Republicans will be able to get Obama to agree to anything and the media will ensure they don’t shut down the government to try and get him to agree. Yet, these people are going to convince themselves it is 1933 Germany all over again.

      1. I kind of hope the GOP takes the Senate (60% chance). I want to see Obama play defense and veto their nutty bills. Watch his popularity go from 40% to 55%.

        1. Nutty Bills would be a good name for a bar.

        2. BUSHPIG!!!!

          You mean those bills that Democrats are going to vote for otherwise their wouldn’t be colture? You mean those bipartisan bills Obama is going to veto? Those.

      2. Whatever, Citizens United changed everything?.

      3. A GOP Senate can block appointments, which is huge. Though you can expect the lame-duck Senate to ramp up the filibuster-less judicial confirmations that Reid and Obama said would destroy America back in 2005.

  9. Nice marmot

  10. “paying Social Security to Nazi war criminals”? Not quite, Nick. The people involved were accused of committing war crimes. It’s the old “innocent until proven guilty” thing, which Reason used to believe in. As Reason writers have frequently noted, there is a very strong tendency to believe that anyone accused of a horrible crime must be guilty of it.

    Maybe these guys were all guilty, but proving crimes committed decades ago, for the most part in territory controlled by Communist governments at the time when the trials would have taken place, is not easy matter.

    There is also the question of taking away someone’s SS benefits even if they are convicted of a crime. Property rights, and all that, you know.

    I know it’s tempting to believe that we should be able to do as we please with “bad guys” without having to waste time with any lousy, stinking due process, but that way lies Obama.

    1. Alan, you can’t possibly be so ill-informed as to believe that anyone has property rights or any rights to their SocSec.

  11. I’m torn about this election.

    OTOH, having the Dems get their asses handed to them would be epic fun.

    OTOH, watching the Repubs rend their garments after wasting a historic opportunity by doing the same stupid shit that’s been losing them elections for years has its own attractions.

    Right now, I think I’d rather see the Dems get blasted. But, there’s still a couple of weeks for the Repubs to be such craven idiots that I will switch over to wanting to see them suffer even more.

    This election is still too close to call!

  12. They do not talk about serious issues because they no longer seek to govern, only win elections. People need to wake up and realize that we no longer have a representative government. We have a government dominated by a political aristocracy that has developed over the past 150 years to become the exact thing the Founding Fathers feared most. People no longer run for Federal office because they wish to serve and keep America safe and strong. They run so they can go to DC and become wealthy and powerful on our taxes and by handing out favors to their supporters. The gridlock the media complains about is exactly what both parties want so they can maintain the status quo. The Tea Party and Libertarians represent a threat to the current two party system. The real hope for the rise of Libertarians as a strong National party hinges on the possible run for President by Elizabeth Warren. If she runs, she will get the Democratic nomination because the hard left controls the DNC. Libertarians have the opportunity to step forward and educate the public as to why we are the right choice. We are the rational middle that will reign in government, stop wasteful spending and resolve all of the pointless fights over social issues. We just have to be ready to respond when the media, Dems and GOP begin their real assault on us as a party. If we are smart, we can become a force in US politics and then the United States may have a chance to once again be what the Founders intended.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.