Election 2014

The Case Against the Midterms is the Case for the Midterms

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Writing in The New York Times, on the eve of what many expect to be a punishing midterm loss for Democrats (the timing is surely coincidental), public policy professor David Schanzer of Duke University and Jay Sullivan, a junior at the same school, argue that America's midterm elections should be cancelled

Here is the core of their reasoning:

But the two-year cycle isn't just unnecessary; it's harmful to American politics.

The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president, the only government official (other than the powerless vice president) elected by the entire nation. Since the end of World War II, the president's party has on average lost 25 seats in the House and about 4 in the Senate as a result of the midterms. This is a bipartisan phenomenon — Democratic presidents have lost an average of 31 House seats and between 4 to 5 Senate seats in midterms; Republican presidents have lost 20 and 3 seats, respectively.

The realities of the modern election cycle are that we spend almost two years selecting a president with a well-developed agenda, but then, less than two years after the inauguration, the midterm election cripples that same president's ability to advance that agenda.

Basically, their complaint is that the midterms reinforce the notion that the president's agenda is not the only one that matters, allow the public a chance to express their opinion about that agenda by voting at the midpoint of a presidential term, and that Congress has significant power to shape, slow, or even block that agenda through the legislative process (and might even respond with an agenda or agendas of its own).

This strikes me as a better case for the midterms than one against it. 

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  1. So there’s a junior in college writing opinion pieces for the NYT. That sounds about right.

    1. I am sure he and the good Professor wept bitters tears about the 2006 mid-terms results!

      1. Yeah, I’m sure his opinion on mid-terms depends on whether the President has an R or a D after their name.

      2. The student did cry in Nov 2006, but only because Trisha Rearden rejected him for the winter formal. He couldn’t wait to get out of that stupid middle school.

    2. These are the same sort of stupid bastards who were against filibusters when Clinton was president and then are suddenly for it when Bush is in the office. The mendacity and self delusion are epic. Eat it you Obama lovers. “Elections have consequences.” the left droned on sanctimoniously. Well not as much as I would like.

  2. They should just take their reasoning one step further – ban elections and just have a dictator king.

    1. Having to leave office weakens the president.

    2. One man, one vote, one time!

    3. Gweneth Paltrow would agree with you …

    4. So long as they get the correct set of “Top Men”, otherwise “ew.”

  3. Yeah, saw this yesterday.

    What Lord H said.

  4. The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president,

    Sounds like a good reason to stagger the elections and have them every year.

    1. Or have 2 year terms for president.

  5. “We must not allow the Imperium of the Consul to be undermined by the Senate!”

  6. Yeah. I’m guessing this wouldn’t have been proffered in 2006.

  7. And on the right side of my screen is an add saying whether you vote or note is public record “we’re counting on you to vote!” small print “paid for by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee – DCCC.ORG”

    Nice ad buy…on a libertarian site.

    1. Now you know the true intentions of Reason –

      to have as many ads as possible.

      1. I approve of taking the DCCC’s money to support everything they hate in politics.

        1. Yeah, I laughed. I should have clicked to cost the DCCC more.

          1. I remember thinking about this when the anti-Citizen United ads were running here. I couldn’t believe that someone would determine that Reason was the best place to spend that money.

            1. The Political Class can be remarkably tone deaf. All parties, all times, from the beginning of recorded history.

      2. The ads that come up on my page are Amazone gift cards, Harry’s razor blades and an NRA ad for free rosewood-handled knife with a subscription. I wonder what that says about me?

        1. What are these Ad things people are talking about. I see none.

          (Less sarcastic – When I want a website to stay running, I directly finance them. Ads are obnoxious.)

    2. They don’t buy ads on sites like reason individually. Ads are served based on the content of the site on which they appear, and the focused keywords and/or regions the ad buyer specifies.

      1. Can’t you make a blacklist? Would you run a “vote for Pat Quinn” on Red State? “Stop Obama!” on Democratic Underground?

        1. Well, I might. The “Stop Obama” one, anyway. Just for the pleasure of imagining the results.

        2. Yes, unless something changed since I last read about it, Google AdSense (which Reason uses for most of its ads) allows blacklists in both directions: advertisers can disallow their ads from appearing on Reason, and Reason can disallow certain advertisers from appearing on their site.

          Advertisers also used to be able to request ads be displayed on specific sites, but I think they retired that feature.

      2. Not everyone sees the same ads. They are generated for each individual.

  8. Writing in The New York Times, on the eve of what many expect to be a punishing midterm loss for Democrats (the timing is surely coincidental), public policy professor David Schanzer of Duke University and Jay Sullivan, a junior at the same school, argue that America’s midterm elections should be cancelled.

    Of course they should be cancelled – your side is losing!

    I mean, what other justification do you need?

  9. The emperor and his toadies don’t need no stinkin elections!

  10. The Dems know no end to their hubris:

    Let’s work togehter!

    Vice President Joe Biden says he expects congressional Republicans to work to “get things done” if they win control of the Senate ? and he notes the White House is prepared to give a little

    1. I vote to have Joe Biden’s head shaved. For the laughs.

      1. I vote for a Mowhawk!

      2. How about a Guillotin shave?

        1. “How about a Guillotin shave?”

          And lose the Court Jester? No thank you, it’s one of the few redeeming features of this administration.

      3. Shave the eyebrows too, and this could become a bi-partisan bill

    2. If they lose the White House in 2016, they will suddenly decide that we really need to do something about executive power. You know this whole imperial Presidency has gotten out of hand.

      They also will after this election and after 2016 if it goes badly tell the world how rapid change is really a bad thing. The worst thing a President can do will be to force a lot of big changes that don’t come with the support of the minority party.

      1. I remember Dan Rather giving this advice to Bush right after Bush won in 2004. Because Bush should definitely listen to the guy who used fake documents against him.

        1. The advice given to victorious Republicans always consists of “don’t act like you won or have a mandate to do anything but what the losing side tells you that you can do”.

          1. If they want to hamstring the executive, I’m all for that, regardless of party. As long as that hamstringing carries over to the next guy, regardless of party. But that’s just wishful thinking.

            1. I am okay with hamstring the executive too. They won’t do that for the reason you give. And they won’t even ham string a Republican except to keep him from undoing Democratic policies.

              1. I’m against hamstringing. I love ham, and I’d hate for someone to ruin it with string.

  11. The schadenfreude of watching the media whine over what appears to be a Democrat debacle is just lovely. I bet these guys didn’t think the midterms were so bad in 2006 when it was the country rejecting George Bush.

    Meanwhile Ezra Klein laments how everything is no just about politics.

    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/1/7…..everything

    Ezra didn’t seem to mind everything being about politics back in 2008 when his side was winning. Now that the other side is winning, we just need to get politics out of our lives and stop making it so important.

    1. Yeah, that’ll happen when you try to force people to live according to your preferences. Let’s see if Klein figures out the solution staring him in the face.

    2. And Ezra refuses to acknowledge that the politicization of video games is not anything instigated or desired by gamers themselves. The SJWs found a cozy little place full of people hiding from the PC police and carpet-bombed it with Marxo-Feminist Analysis with the help of they allies in the gamer press.

      1. He thinks that because Progressive Politics isn’t politics to him. It is just the air he breathes. So the SJWs are not engaging in politics. They are engaging in righteous behavior. Only non Progs can play politics with an issue.

    3. I think you missed the point, which would make sense because if you had understood the point you’d see how totally laughable it is that you of all people would be linking to it.

      Political identification has overtaken other forms of identity in terms of importance to people. This is a bad thing no matter whose side is winning. It leads to things like one entire tribe believing in factually untrue nonsense just because the other tribe believes the opposite.

      1. Political identification has overtaken other forms of identity in terms of importance to people.

        No shit Tony. Maybe the left spending the last 70 years calling anyone who disagreed with them racist and making voting Democrat a brand by which people singled that they were “tolerant” and better people than those who did that has something to do with that?

        Your side has spent decades claiming that the personal is the political and that ones moral worth is determined by their belief in the right politics. For you to now complain how horrible it is that political identification has overtaken all other forms of identity is probably the funniest and least self aware thing you have ever posted on here. I mean it is just epic.

        1. We’ll have to agree to disagree on which party is unquestionably by far the more responsible one with respect to turning American politics into blind tribalism. Also about whether science is optional.

          1. Yeah, turning it into tribalism like getting people fired from their jobs for privately holding the wrong politics.

            You did a happy dance when the CEO of Mozilla got fired. That is the world you want to live in and the one you have spent your efforts trying to create; a world in which someone’s ability to hold a job or function in public is determined by the politics. And now when the results for once don’t favor your politics you don’t like it and claim you never wanted it. I just have to laugh it is so ridiculous.

            1. I don’t suppose your complaint extends to expelling customers for being gay?

              This is somewhat complicated but I’ll try anyway. The “us vs. them” mentality that has led to tribalism originated with Republicans and their discovery that they can win by exploiting people’s deep racial, religious, and other tribal resentments that previously had not been as dominant a part of politics. This led to the Republicans becoming more and more extreme with each cycle, forcing not only conformity to orthodoxy but to an orthodoxy that was in large part divorced from empirical reality. Democrats like me thus had no choice but to align against them, maybe even being more against them than for Democrats.

              But if you think that business and public pressure on CEOs is the major example of political tribalism, whatever. I’d point to the ongoing systematic attempt by Republicans to prevent people from voting based on their race and age as a far more pressing matter.

              1. Yes Tony, it is tribalism. You just can’t admit it is because you don’t think anything is okay as long as it is your side doing it. You are not complaining about the politicization of society. You love that. You are complaining about people having the nerve to have the wrong politics.

          2. Also about whether science is optional.

            I’m gonna go out on a ledge here and assume that you do not know what words mean.

      2. Haven’t you said that your choice in mechanic would be influenced by their political beliefs?

        If you think it’s a bad thing, don’t feed it.

        1. That is right. We need to get politics out of every aspect of life. So lets go and make sure Mozilla fires its otherwise competent CEO because he has the wrong politics.

          The amazing thing about this is that I don’t think Tony is lying here and pretending to want politics out of life. I think he is just so far gone that he doesn’t understand how believing that conflicts with everything else he has ever said.

          1. It’s the usual shit. The other tribe is just soooo bad that I have to form my identity about politics. Because the Republicans want to put all the homos in prison and turn women into Axlotl tanks.

          2. New-to-me insight: Democracy probably naturally leads to making the personal political. It’s perfect rational to be concerned about the values of those who can exert significant power over you. In a democracy, that is potentially almost everyone. If you give people that power, they’ll likely use it.

            1. Democracy doesn’t lead to that. Fascism leads to that. The personal isn’t the political as long as the government doesn’t try to engineer society and the individuals in it. Transforming society is as much as anything what fascism is about. Once the government is turned towards fascist ends the personal becomes the political since the government is now in the business of transforming society rather than governing it.

              People like Tony and Klein are totalitarians. For them everything is the state. If the state isn’t doing something then it isn’t being done or if it is not being done in the right way. Since everything is encompassed by the state, your person is by definition political.

              1. It’s not just that everything is the State – it is that only the State can lead citizens forward. In order for the State to do that, to act for the complete benefit of the citizens and progress of the state, the will of the citizens must be unified and only then can that will be perfectly embodied in the State.

                It’s all very neat and tidy.

              2. When I say democracy, I don’t mean elections, I mean a government which is only constrained, as a matter of practice, by majority opinion. We are moving in that direction, as Consitutional constraints continue to be eroded, though thankfully some are still in place. Absent some check on majority power, you can only avoid over-politicization if people avoid being moral busybodies. The track record on that isn’t so great. And in reality, it’s impossible to completely check majority power.

                1. something something a Republic if you can something

      3. Political identification has overtaken other forms of identity in terms of importance to people. This is a bad thing no matter whose side is winning.

        Yes, good point.

        It leads to things like one entire tribe believing in factually untrue nonsense just because the other tribe believes the opposite.

        But this is true of all tribes (and, yes, even libertarians aren’t immune). People in glass houses, etc.

      4. Political identification has overtaken other forms of identity in terms of importance to people. This is a bad thing no matter whose side is winning.

        Very true.

        Who, exactly, was it pushing a totalizing ideology telling us “the personal is political”, again?

        1. Who was it who first said that the personal is political? Whoevebr that is should be taken out and maimed.

  12. Shorter version: stupid voters.

    1. 1994 was all about the evil angry white males taking their revenge. 2010 was all about the angry, racist Tea Party who just couldn’t accept that the country had a light giver President that was black.

      What will this election be? I haven’t heard much about the evil white males abusing their franchise. Since everyone hate Obama these days, I doubt it will be that racist America can’t accept a black President. What will the spin be?

      My bet is that America is just so cynical and nihilist that it can’t be governed anymore.

      1. Re: John,

        What will this election be? I haven’t heard much about the evil white males abusing their franchise.

        You must have heard Mary Landrieu putting the blame on white racism and misogyny.

        Which of course tells you that little Mary never took a single course in set theory, as there are plenty of females who presumably are victims of misogyny but are also white and thus racist. But don’t talk logic with a little red Marxian. Logic is so bourgeois.

        1. I think Landrieu saying that was the result of her figuring she is doomed to lose no matter what and might as well start auditioning for a high paying job at some Progressive K street law firm or think tank.

          I have never run a political campaign and no doubt would run a lousy one if I ever did. I am however pretty confident that insulting the majority of voters in your state is not a good way to run one.

      2. The Dems really should be a lot more worried than what they are. But I think they are so arrogant and so lacking in self awareness, that they don’t get this.

        The reason I say this is that it’s looking more and more like the race baiting and war on wiminz, really the entire PC bag of shit, is wearing out it’s welcome with the US public. If this is really the trend then that takes away pretty much everything the Dems have outside of tax the evil rich and it looks like even that may be losing traction as people start to figure out that this is not making their own situation better.

        So really, all the Dems may have left is just to sit around waiting for the stupid party to do what they do best, stupid stuff. Like starting more wars around the world and continuing on with their WOD and culture wars non-sense. Sadly enough, that might be all the Dems really need to gain another chance at their permanent majority that they are always talking about.

        1. There are has been quite a bit of talk about how Udall’s sole focus on women’s issues has actually hurt him.

        2. The culture wars are over. This is why the Democrats are screwed. What are the GOP going to do? The courts have mandated gay marriage and legal abortion. All the GOP can do is regulate abortion, which most of the country agrees with doing and maybe keep people from being sued out of business for not liking gays, another policy that is likely to be popular. What else is there?

          The Dems have moved on the Transvestite rights. I will never underestimate the ability of Democrats and the mass culture to get people to believe crazy things, but I have a real hard time believing that even generation retard is going to vote Democrat because they want to show the world that trannies have a right to use the women’s bathroom.

          And as far as wars goes, for better or worse there is no more anti-war movement. When they roll out the professional assholes to protest the evil Republican wars after doing nothing for 8 years of Obama wars, the entire country is going to roll its eyes and laugh.

          1. That is predicated on R’s accepting that they lost. We’ll see.

            1. It doesn’t matter. What are they going to do? And they won’t have time because the Liberals are going to move on to other fronts. The liberals are forever the agressors in the culture wars.

              We are done with birth control and now are on to taking away due process rights for any man accused of rape. We are done with gay marriage and are on to making sure men dressed as women can use women’s restrooms.

              The only question is whether those issues are finally a bridge too far and a culture war the Left will lose for once. It seems like those are insane issues and the left should lose. But the left has never lost a single culture war issue in the entire history of its existence. So I wouldn’t bet against them.

              1. I think it does matter. If Republicans continue trying to fight the culture war, Democrats can continue to motivate people based on it. It doesn’t matter if it is a minority of Republicans. All they need are soundbites to make a boogeyman, and to project it onto the party as a whole.

                1. The Republicans are going to continue to fight the culture war no matter what because the Democrats will give them no choice. The Democrats never quit fighting the culture war and use it as a way to marginalize their opponents. So they forever move on to new issues and resume the attack. You could have written the exact same thing you did in the late 1980s about gay rights and sodomy laws. Just tell the Republicans to stop fighting the culture war and wanting to throw gays in jail. Well, they did that and it didn’t end the culture war because we moved on to gay marriage. Give up on that and it will move on to transvestites and after that something else.

                  I don’t understand why you guys can’t understand that. The culture war will never end no matter what because the Left will never let it end. It is how they win. They can’t let it end.

                2. John, Look at what happened in 2012 when that idiot Akin opened his mouth. All it takes is one idiot – and the TEAM Blue water carriers in the media are going to beat TEAM red to death.

                  Better to give up on the kultur-kampf shtick and let people do what they want assuming what they do does not harm others.

                  1. Better to give up on the kultur-kampf shtick and let people do what they want assuming what they do does not harm others.

                    You miss the point. You can’t give that up because the left won’t let you. Give up on what and how? Any issue you give up on just causes the left to move on to another issue.

                    So how exactly do you plan to do this other than saying “the left gets to completely dictate the culture and no person anywhere should ever stand up or disagree with them for fear of distracting from more important issues?”

                    That is what you would have to do to “end the culture war”. And if you did that, you would be completely screwed because the reason why the right loses so much on economic issues is because the left uses its control of the culture to make arguments against their economic policies unacceptable in polite society by labeling them as “racist” or “sexist”.

              2. the left has never lost a single culture war issue

                I don’t know about never. The earlier 20th century progressives lost on some things. Like eugenics and forced sterilization. Not that that stuff went away completely, but it isn’t really a winner culturally at this point.

          2. The one other thing that the Dems have is their gun control agenda. That’s a loser also.

            And this far left looney-toon stuff they are doing on university campuses with the rape hysteria is going to blow up in their face. Then there’s gamergate and that is blowing up in their face as well.

            The Dems just need to come right out and admit that they are communists and that communism is what they want. That might work better.

            1. I hope you are right and I am cautiously optimistic you are. But like I said, the left has never lost a single issue on the culture war. They are undefeated. So it is hard to bet against them.

              I think gamergate is a bigger deal than a lot of people think. It is a large group of what have been mostly apolitical people finally waking up to just how vile the left really is and how awful their control of the culture really is. If the left can’t control and bully the gaming culture then hopefully other areas of the culture will finally stand up to them.

              1. Yeah, Gamergate may be bigger than many commenters here realize. The weekend thread from three weeks ago was enlightening. We got a lot of gamers from other sites that registered and commented here. Most of the comments were along the lines of, “I was a retard progressive up until a couple of weeks ago, when I was accused of promoting rape because I don’t like a certain video game”. Clicking through to the links the gamers posted showed similar sentiments.

                People are growing tired of PC bullshit.

                1. I think Gamergate and the campus rape nonsense might also portend a general awakening among men how much the Progressives hate them and how much against their interests it is to vote for them. This should hopefully turn off a few women as well. How could any woman with a son vote for these assholes? What, do you want your son to be a second class citizen who is by virtue of his genes blamed for every wrong in society?

                2. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. But I think you may be right. A lot of people who have just thought of themselves as “progressive” because that is just the cultural default for cool young people are going to realize how nuts these people really are. Let’s hope so.

          3. The culture wars are over.

            Don’t worry. It’s only a temporary lull.

        3. “The reason I say this is that it’s looking more and more like the race baiting and war on wiminz, really the entire PC bag of shit, is wearing out it’s welcome with the US public. ”

          Hence the elite’s ongoing effort to replace us with the Mexican, Indian, and Filipino publics.

          1. That handle – nice band name.

          2. Hence the elite’s ongoing effort to replace us with the Mexican, Indian, and Filipino publics.

            While I don’t doubt some lefty idiots are so stupid as to believe that to be a winning plan, anyone who has actually interacted with immigrant populations will quickly realize that they are not the New Soviet Men to inaugurate the Great Progressive Era. Insofar as the Democrats have their votes, it is only because they dole out free shit. The rest of the agenda doesn’t sell so well. The same is true of the Democratic core in the inner cities, regardless of how recently they immigrated here.

            1. What is it about nonwhite people that makes them so easily duped and won over by free shit?

              1. The same is true of the Democratic core in the inner cities, regardless of how recently they immigrated here.

                You should finish reading before you start talking.

              2. What is it about nonwhite people that makes them so easily duped and won over by free shit?

                What is it about practically all-white Scotland that turned it from a hub of innovation and thriftiness in the 19th Century to the worthless social welfare state beholden to monetary union with England today? Must be all those nonwhites.

              3. They come from socialist countries with no tradition of limited government and an emphasis on racial/tribal identity?

        4. I think the Dems aren’t worrying about this year’s elections because they know, in the long run, demographics are going to overwhelm the GOP. The Republicans will will this year and probably even the Presidency in 2016, and then people will get sick of their crap and trend back towards to Democrats, and as the demographic ships continues, it will be harder and harder for Republicans to regain power even as people get tired of Democrats as they are now.

      3. My guess is that the focus will be on the money that is being spent. They really hate CU.

  13. I found this by Prof. Schanzer:

    “Don’t Forget: Leakers of Classified Information are Criminals”

    http://fds.duke.edu/db/attachment/2344

    1. They are criminals only if what they are leaking embarrasses a Democrat. If it embarrasses a Republican, they are national heroes acting on the conscience.

      1. They are criminals only if what they are leaking embarrasses a Democrat. If it embarrasses a Republican, they are national heroes acting on the conscience

        So what you’re saying is that Snowden may only have to wait a couple more years to go from terrorist to hero status.

        1. Yes. As soon as a Republican wins the White House, NSA spying will become a huge moral issue that all right thinking people want to end. Snowden is likely to see his standing immediately improve since NSA spying will now be a Republican policy that Democrats have always fought against.

          1. Rand could squash that very quickly by just giving Snowden a full pardon and welcoming him back to the USA.

            1. That would be a good thing. But it would ensure that the media and the left will forever hate Snowden and see him as a traitor. The only way Snowden can get back in good graces is for a Republican to win in 2016, not pardon him, and then a Democrat win in 2020 and pardon him.

    2. Must be hard to teach classes in a gimp suit.

  14. The realities of the modern election cycle are that we spend almost two years selecting a president with a well-developed agenda, but then, less than two years after the inauguration, the midterm election cripples that same president’s ability to advance that agenda.

    A view of presidential politics and elections so naive and wrong it could only have come out of academia. Or a 5-year-old who has run in to the corner of the coffeetable a few too many times.

    1. It is funny how the evil genius George Bush managed to get Congress to agree to the Iraq war after the midterms. He didn’t seem to be paralyzed by them.

      That Bush guy really was a force of nature. Was there nothing that man couldn’t do as President?

      1. He was simultaneously an evil genius who fooled everyone and a complete moron who was totally incompetent.

        1. He was very talented like that.

      2. I heard that even some Democrats voted for that. I know it can’t be true, but I did hear that.

        1. It can’t be true, and even if it were True, surely they would be hiding out of public site for the rest of their lives:

          https://www.readyforhillary.com

      3. He had the skill to actually get credit for the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history, you have to give him that.

        1. So, in your mind, it’s reasonable to blame Bush for an out of the blue terrorist attack, that nobody else considered very likely?

          So, is Clinton to blame for the 1992 attack on the World Trade Center?

          Is Obama to blame for the 2012 Benghazi attack?

          Or is this just a one way street, where Republican’s are to blame for events outside of their control, because you don’t personally like them?

          1. Or he’s just a piece of shit trying to get people to respond to him.

          2. They’re to blame to the extent that they had intelligence that they ignored and one might reasonably conclude could have led to prevention of the attack. I’ll let you be the judge of that with respect to Bush.

            I’m just saying let’s not give them credit for it, like somehow Bush became a national hero for having had 9/11 happen, for a time. That’s a large part of the story for why so many turned their brains off and let him start his phony war.

            I guess we should be grateful that presidents can’t get away with that kind of shit anymore? Obama’s got more hysterical criticism for 3 deaths in an overseas hellhole than Bush ever did for 3,000 in New York.

            1. I guess we should be grateful that presidents can’t get away with that kind of shit anymore?

              What have you been smoking for the past 6 years?

          3. The only real difference, and probably the reason why terrorist attacks helped Bush and not Obama, is that Bush immediately came out and put the blame on the terrorists, not tried to pass the blame off on some lame youtube video.

  15. This is like saying dental checkups are terrible because they prevent cavities. They are terrible for obvious reasons related to high pitched screeching and the sense that one is being violated with probes.

    1. one is being violated with probes

      enough of Warty’s dungeon.

  16. No surprises here:

    Prior to his academic appointments, Schanzer was the Democratic Staff Director for the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security from 2003-2005. He served as the legislative director for Senator Jean Carnahan (2001-2002), counsel to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (1996-1998), and counsel to Senator William S. Cohen (1994-1996). His positions in the executive branch include Special Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Department of Defense (1998-2001) and Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice (1992-94). Schanzer was a clerk for United States District Judge Norma L. Shapiro and in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States.

    1. And in all these positions, he no doubt urged his bosses to work with President Bush in implementing his mandate from the people!

  17. allow the public a chance to express their opinion about that agenda by voting at the midpoint of a presidential term

    The point is that two years is not enough time to enact, implement, and submit for public scrutiny many important types of policy. If you’re constantly throwing the bums out because something didn’t get done in an artificial two-year time limit, then much long-term or large-scale policy ideas are simply off the table. I think there’s plenty of evidence of that being true, even if a short House term isn’t the only cause.

    The other point is that nobody elected in a midterm is elected by the country as a whole. So it’s not the same electorate expressing an opinion on the choice they made two years ago. The fact that you might get more politicians you like out of a midterm does not make it automatically a good idea. It is sufficient to argue that the drop in voter participation and skewed demographics make the outcome of midterms less reflective of the country’s democratic will. There is no virtue in that just because it’s the status quo.

    1. Tony weighs in for ochlocracy once again.

    2. Re: Tony,

      The point is that two years is not enough time to enact, implement, and submit for public scrutiny many important types of policy.

      This “important” qualifier sounds subjective enough to call your argument “bullshit.”

      1. ‘xactly – who decides it is important?

      2. And before Tony has a chance to respond with some sort of equivocation or his usual obfuscations, let me remind him of what it means to posit cogent arguments and why his is just pure bullshit.

        If these policies are important for them, they’ll get them done between the two-year cycle. If these policies happen to be important to you only, then your argument is bullshit because nobody cares about you. You’re nobody.

      3. Fine, then go with my other adjectives, long-term and large-scale. Do you think two years is enough time for the public to judge whether a 10-year project is working?

        1. I think that, in the majority of situations, a 10-year project is a terrible idea.

          1. Much better to stick with the 5 year ones. They always work out great.

            1. You should always initiate your plans to be completed immediately after you leave office so you have a built-in-scape goat.

        2. If you believe in representative government, yes, absolutely.

        3. “10-year project” = “We postpone the parts people won’t like until my two terms are up and let the next guy deal with it”

    3. Basically what Tony is arguing for here is to just empty congress, replace all of them with libertarians, and then suspend elections for 50 years while libertarians get to work.

      Tony could be right for the first time in his life.

      1. I think you forgot the point where Tony wants a God Emperor ruling America during the interim.

    4. Two years was enough time to get Obamacare enacted. It’s hard to think of a longer-term, larger-scale policy than that.

      1. But not long enough the outcomes of even its planned implementation to be fairly judged. The 2010 midterms were about making voters scared of a policy that hadn’t happened yet. A pretty clear illustration of the point.

        1. Then maybe don’t write scary legislation? Just a thought.

        2. So, if the electorate changes its mind mid-stream, that’s bad and shouldn’t be allowed?

          What if it turns out that, as in the case of Obamacare promises were made that turned out to be lies? That seems like a good reason to change course, does it not?

          At least, if you believe in representative government?

          1. Even if the electorate doesn’t change it’s mind, reality might. Given how difficult it is to repeal even laws that are widely believed to be bad, it seems like a good idea to limit big, long-term policies.

            1. Yes, that too.

              You need look no further than all the very-long-term freeshit projects that were promised but won’t be forthcoming.

          2. Going against the main point of the article, even when backlash happens, the President is still in power and has the veto. Unless the backlash is so huge that the opposition party gains 2/3 of the house and senate, then the midterms really don’t reverse course. They may put on the brakes somewhat, but that’s all.

            1. They may put on the brakes somewhat, but that’s all.

              Indeed but even this is unacceptable to authoritarian progressives like Tony. ‘Braking’ just means it will take longer for the State to reach it’s true destiny and fulfill it’s true purpose.

        3. I suppose you have a point. If Obama wasn’t so worried about midterms, re-election, and another set of mid-terms, he would have been able to set much more of ObamaCare into motion–as it is, he’s currently afraid that if major portions of ObamaCare is implemented, he’ll lose all these elections.

          Either that, or he would have postponed the implementation of key ObamaCare policies to four years, rather than two, in an attempt to keep people voting for him.

          If you think about it, though, this *isn’t* a bad thing, to some extent. Obama is postponing the implimentation of ObamaCare because *he knows it’s going to hurt people*, which is why *it’s going to hurt Democrats in the various elections*. Ultimately, this probably means that, to protect Americans, ObamaCare needs to be repealed…but this means that, in an alternative world, Tony would be happy that this destructive monstrosity could be forced upon us, because of a lack of elections…

    5. The other point is that nobody elected in a midterm is elected by the country as a whole.

      Neither is the president. The States elect the president of the States via the electoral college.

  18. I would argue that this is all intended by the founders to prevent the federal gov. from accomplishing all but the most desperate and popular tasks. It’s almost like they thought having a heavily centralized federal gov that was unaccountable was and would be a bad thing. Also I look forward to the stories of how Obama pocket vetoing everything piece of legislation that get’s to his desk is the most presidential and american thing ever done, after berating the republicans to being terrorists for doing the same thing 6 months previously.

    1. The idea was to give the public an immediate way to object to the government doing bad things. People like the guy writing the article and Tony only don’t like that when it involves the public rejecting their policies. If there were a Republican in office, they would think this is great.

      It is amazing that they think no one can see that.

      1. It’s amazing that you think that anyone here thinks that you aren’t so blindly partisan as to have no credibility when you lament others’ alleged partisan bias.

        I hadn’t thought of this idea till I read this piece, and I have much more sweeping changes in mind for how government works in this country. You can bitch all you want that I’d only be advocating for changes that help Democrats. Luckily even if I were incapable of having principles beyond blind tribalism, my reforms would have the benefit of eliminating institutional disadvantages for my preferred tribe while also being good for democracy. Must be tough being on the other side of that.

        1. Sorry, but how is giving people fewer opportunities to influence their elected officials good for democracy?

          1. That will all be explained to you in the camps.

          2. On balance my reforms would result in the makeup of government reflecting the actual will of the majority of the people. This idea, which I’m not necessarily endorsing, is about a separate issue: the ability of government to function at all.

            1. the makeup of government reflecting the actual will of the majority of the people.

              Do you admit the possibility of the majority of people being wrong? Or even being in favor of things that some would consider immoral?

              In short, are you advocating a pure democracy? Or do you at least see some of the advantages of a republic – limiting the will of the majority?

              1. The majority can be wrong but in most cases we have to allow them to be wrong (exemptions for civil rights of minorities, for example, but even then it took congressional majorities to pass the legislation or constitutional amendments that protect minorities). I’ve never advocated pure democracy, but of course “the majority didn’t give me what I wanted on a routine policy matter” is not a valid objection to majority rule.

            2. Or better yet, look at it this way: Currently, midterms may limit a Democratic president in his attempts to implement his agenda. Republicans, and any other party who wins the presidency, will have the exact same problem.

              If you get rid of the two year cycle, so that it will be easier for a president to put things into action – as you argue – then that will also be true for Democrats, Republicans, etc alike.

              So, it’s all a wash. You’ll be happier that Obama can enact his agenda easier, but you’ll be just as unhappy when someone else is pushing an agenda you don’t agree with.

              And this will make government even more unpredictable. Unfortunately, that also makes large sections of the economy unpredictable as well.

              1. I just think very little of our system of elections is defensible. There’s no need to be protective of them just because they’re what we’re stuck with.

                It was important to put in place barriers to majority tyranny and to make legislating somewhat difficult to limit extremes. But those barriers can be taken too far, and have. The Senate was already absurdly undemocratic before filibuster abuse became the norm, for example. I think it’s pretty clear we need to steer things back toward democracy.

                1. That was the point of having the Senate. It was the founders attempts to balance Periclean Athenian democracy against the Roman Senate – and vise versa

                  1. Oh, and who is the ‘we’ you speak of? Is it you and your progressive buddies, or is it, you know, an actual majority of people that want to steer things in your direction of ‘democracy’?

                    1. Oh, and who is the ‘we’ you speak of?

                      I was wondering the same thing, but just attributed it to Tony showing his true colors. “We” should allow the majority to be wrong. The first explanation that comes to mind is that Tony is part of an elite group that “allows” the majority to have a say in how things are done – but only with the trivial things. The important things will be decided by Tony’s “We”.

                      Yeah, that’s much more democratic.

                  2. The Senate is not functioning remotely like intended right now.

                    1. Whether it does or does not is your viewpoint and that only, and is in any case irrelevant.

                    2. The Senate is not functioning remotely like intended right now.

                      It was intended to represent state legislatures.

                2. I just think very little of our system of elections is defensible.

                  That’s fine, no doubt many here would agree with that sentiment were it not coming from an authoritarian progressive like yourself. Why don’t you spell out specifically ten things that are currently indefensible, and specifically what you would do to change them.

              2. I think it would make it closer to a parliamentary system which is something that the progtards would prefer. It would be easier, once you get a majority coalition, to make radical changes that would then be much harder reverse. The fact that there are elections would put a nice ‘democratic’ veneer on the whole thing.

                1. I would like to see runoff elections so that each winner actually gets 50% of the vote, an end to gerrymandering (strict oversight by courts or nonpartisan panels or whatever it takes to make redistricting less of a farce). I’d triple the size of the House and abolish the Senate and, of course, abolish the electoral college. I’d make a national standard for elections and let people vote online, by mail, and by whatever other convenient and securable means possible. Technically I’m against mandatory voting on principle, so I’d leave that out. I’d keep the presidency for the sake of tradition.

                  It’s indefensible that Montanans get the same number of senators as Californians. It’s indefensible that political parties can carve up perpetually safe election districts that distort representation. And that a president can get elected despite losing the popular vote. And that the (obscenely undemocratic) Senate requires a supermajority to do anything. And that how much money you can raise is a primary factor in whether you get elected. I could probably go on.

                  1. I don’t see anything in your proposals that address specific remedies to specific problems.

                    Try thinking and writing a little more clearly and give specific reasons and examples including the reasoning behind those remedies.

                  2. It’s indefensible that Montanans get the same number of senators as Californians.

                    No, no, no, no, no no, no. The Senate exists in the form it does both to act as a check on unrestrained minority rule and to recognize that the states themselves are sovereign entities, equal to each other, with an equal say in how a confederation of them is run; it’s the logic of democracy being applied to groups of individual groups. Taken in a manner outside the US Gov’t, you’re arguing that China should have 5x the security council votes as the US because it as quintuple the population, or that Ohio State should have a greater say in the affairs of the NCAA than Stanford because they have a larger student body. It’s stupid logic.

                    This is all so much more obvious when the government admits it’s a separate entity. I really wish the Feds would call themselves “the Crown” or something similar rather than “the People.” We are not the government, any government, and no government is us. We merely get a say in how the institution is run.

                    1. unrestrained minority majority rule

                      In case it wasn’t obvious.

                    2. The Senate exists as it does because low-population slave states wanted more say in national government than they deserved, and that was the only way to get them to sign on. There is no practical utility here (but plenty of rationalizations).

                      Of course you can’t eliminate borders and the distortions they cause for democracy, but I don’t think you should hold those distortions up as some kind of a virtue. There is no defense for why a resident in a low-population state should have so much more of a say over national policy than one in a high-population state.

                    3. There is no defense for why a resident in a low-population state should have so much more of a say over national policy than one in a high-population state.

                      By national policy, you mean laws that people in low population states are forced to follow that have been enacted by majority rule, where the majority lives 2000 miles away.

                    4. Well they have less cause to bitch than someone in California considering they get many times the representation.

                    5. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it. It exists as it was created – to act as a check against the power of the House, slave state or not (though nice try at injecting a racism angle where it doesn’t exist).

                    6. The Senate exists because smaller states – Delaware, New Jersey, etc – didn’t want to be railroaded on every single issue regardless of whether or not those issues had anything to do with slavery.

                      How exactly do you determine how much say a particular state deserves in national government? Who the hell makes that decision? And on what grounds?

                      Also, remember that Senators used to be selected by the state’s Congress, not directly elected by the people. Can’t remember exactly why that was done away with, but Senators should not be a direct representative of the people.

                      So your argument that a single person in low population state has more say in national matters is BS. If the Senators were still selected by the state Congress, then the say would be exactly proportional.

                    7. Contrary to what Tony thinks, the government is not a mechanism for social or economic change that should be streamlined so that any group or person, no matter of what ideology, can gain power and wield it over any other group.

                      Whatever happened to being ruled by law, instead of by men?

                    8. Okay, let’s keep the senate but redraw state lines so that all states have roughly equivalent populations. They are just arbitrary lines on a map, are they not? What do they have to do with government by the people?

                    9. Okay, let’s keep the senate but redraw state lines so that all states have roughly equivalent populations.

                      You want to eliminate gerrymandering for the House, but then provide a golden opportunity to gerrymander on state lines?

                      Your proposal effectively eliminates the states’ sovereignty. Populations move, so you’ll be redrawing the lines every few years making it impossible for the states to govern.

                    10. Okay, let’s keep the senate but redraw state lines so that all states have roughly equivalent populations. They are just arbitrary lines on a map, are they not? What do they have to do with government by the people?

                      Yes because the existence of the states themselves both individually and as a group prior to that of the Federation has no bearing on this whatsoever.

                      If you were the king of Britain you’d redraw Scotland’s border to include the whole of Northern England and Wales’s to include the Midlands. You know, for equality’s sake. Who cares that those are separate polities with histories, cultures, and values separate from the overarching crown? They’re a nation now and need to be equal in all ways, dammit.

                    11. They’re just lines on a map drawn for reasons that no longer matter. Yeah, we’d have to redraw the lines with every census. Wouldn’t it be easier just abolishing the Senate and making the House three times bigger with no gerrymandering allowed?

                    12. Can’t remember exactly why that was done away with, but Senators should not be a direct representative of the people.

                      It was procedural. But they should have left it alone; the rate of growth of Federal power vs. the States’ (and the People’s) increased dramatically following the mandatory direct election of Senators. We’d be much better off with appointed Senators and vastly more Congressmen, IMO. Representatives should be as common as high school principals, and no less accessible.

                    13. The Senate exists as it does because low-population slave states wanted more say in national government than they deserved

                      CT and NJ are slave states? Jesus, you can’t even demagogue properly.

                    14. *The Senate exists as it does because low-population slave states wanted more say in national government than they deserved, and that was the only way to get them to sign on*

                      Actually, dolt, the Senate exists the way it does today because some stupid progressives made it directly elected by the people rather than by the States themselves.

                      Go back to high school and actually finish this time.

                    15. You mean, slave states like Rhode Island and Connecticut? Because, if I recall correctly, these states were just as eager to call quits on the Constitutional Convention as any other state, on the point of solely population-based representation.

                      For what it’s worth, I happen to live in a rather unpopulated State myself, and I’m personally glad that my State has as much power in one of the legislative bodies as any other State.

                      Not that it’s been a fantastically great benefit, mind you: our land is still controlled by 66% of the federal government (which, incidentally, is in direct and clear violation of the plain words of the Constitution, but hey, what are we going to do? Secede, perhaps?).

                    16. But KDN, it’s that kind of thinking and those kinds of structures that are getting in the way of progress, of the State reaching its ultimate expression and purpose as the living, unified will of the people.

                    17. If you see the states as now no more than extensions of the federal government, it would make sense to oppose the 2-Senators-per-state rule. If you see the states as having some significant degree of autonomy that should be retained, you’d be in favor of maintaining it.

            3. This is straight up Hegelian bullshit.

            4. Ok, new drinking game. Hitler Stalin or Tony.

              1. Ok, new drinking game. Hitler Stalin or Tony.”

                “”I have sympathy for Mr. Roosevelt, because he marches straight toward his objectives over Congress, lobbies and bureaucracy.””

            5. What Tony believes is that actual, true Democracy is when the will of the people is united and in perfect alignment with the interests of the State.

              Until the State reaches the point where the will of the people is uniform, there can be no True Democracy.

        2. Have you ever voted for someone that wasn’t a democrat?

          1. I am a Democrat and I abhor pretty much everything Republicans stand for, so no, why would I?

            1. Well you might if you were able to think outside the party dogma.

              1. I would if a Republican candidate ever campaigned on something that wasn’t batshit theocratic insanity.

                1. So, you can’t think outside your own orthodoxy. That’s fine, just admit it. However, your inability to understand, and more importantly tolerate, views other than your own doesn’t lend a lot of confidence in your government reforms that would strengthen the majority.

                  1. But I do understand Republican views.

                    1. Nor do you tolerate them.

                    2. What do you mean by tolerate? Do you tolerate Democrats’ policies? Is Obamacare something you tolerate? I don’t even know what you mean.

                    3. We all know that you are an intolerant individual Tony but thank you for the confirmation.

                2. That’s funny, because I can’t vote Democrat because of their theocratic insistence that State is God, and that if we prostrate ourselves before the State, we will be granted Salvation from all our problems.

                  Republicans at least pay lip service to the idea that we are individuals, and we should worship according to our conscience.

                  The nice thing about Libertarians is that they eschew theocracy altogether.

                  1. So Democrats are bad because [nonsense hyperbole you made up] but Republicans are good because they lie about what they believe?

        3. even if I were incapable of having principles beyond blind tribalism

          What do you mean if? That sums up your entire existence.

          1. It is funny. I am supposed to be the mindless tribalist. Yet I have never said we shouldn’t have elections or that elections don’t count after the Dems have won an election. Tony mysteriously finds the religion of “having fewer election” on the eve of what is expected to be an epic rout for the Democrats and I am just a tribalist for pointing out the irony of him taking that position.

            1. This is actually looking like a pathetic performance by Republicans given the rather large advantages they have on this year’s electoral map. They’re tied in a bunch of red states in a president’s 6th year. Even if they win the Senate it will not be, objectively, an “epic rout.”

              1. Whatever you tell yourself Tony. The people who actually have a personal stake in this, the Democratic politicians, seem to view the prospects of tomorrow a bit differently.

    2. This. The two year cycle and slow moving gears sort of act like an averaging filter. If an issue is serious enough, it’ll be around for more than two years. If it’s just the flavor of the week, then there’s no time to address it and the problem goes away of its own accord – the market can react faster or the president can handle it through legitimate use of executive order.

      Probably most important is that it helps to keep certain interests from becoming entrenched in the government. The more the players in government change, the harder it is for lobbyists, corporations, and political parties to establish bought men/women in the government.

      1. And that’s why, even in this supposed “shake up” year, 90% of the House will be incumbents.

  19. It is only a good argument against midterms if you do not pine for a tyrant.

  20. Every elected official should be limited to one term that last for one year, and once one has served, he is ineligible to serve again in any other political office. To reiterate, if someone is elected to Congress, he cannot serve a second term in Congress, nor can he run for office for the position of Senator or President.

    In addition, all jobs in the Federal Bureaucracy are contract jobs that last for no more than two years, and once one has served his two years, he is ineligible to work for the same or any other Federal Bureacracy.

    In addition, all Federal laws and regulations have an automatic sunset clause. No law shall be in force for more than two years.

    1. Also, Congress can only pass one law per year. A law, if it is good, can be renewed, but it counts for the one law per year.

  21. Ummmm, WTF. It is obvious to this casual observer that the two “individuals” have no idea of any of the founding principles of this great country. A representative republic. It isn’t that tough of an idea to get your head around…unless you are a liberal moron which these two appear to be. It truly saddens me that this type of drivel is coming from supposedly “educated” individuals. Sounds more like Indoctrination to this old Chief. Someone please find these two and use an “Airman Alignment Tool” on them. Thanks.

  22. Ummmm, WTF. It is obvious to this casual observer that the two “individuals” have no idea of any of the founding principles of this great country. A representative republic. It isn’t that tough of an idea to get your head around…unless you are a liberal moron which these two appear to be. It truly saddens me that this type of drivel is coming from supposedly “educated” individuals. Sounds more like Indoctrination to this old Chief. Someone please find these two and use an “Airman Alignment Tool” on them. Thanks.

  23. When I first heard about this in the morning, my reaction was this:

    First, I remembered my idea a few years back that the Senate should have three Senators per State, so that there’s exactly one Senator per State per year subject to re-election. I’d prefer to go back to the era where Senators are appointed by State Legislators, though, so that they’d be representatives of the State governments and not the people, but that’s not tenable, and even so, having at least one Senator every two years accountable to the appointment process (regardless of how it is done) is nonetheless a good idea, I think.

    Second, I came up with a new idea: it would be nice if the President was a little more accountable to the people every two years. During mid-terms, I would propose a “Do we keep him?” vote during mid-terms: if the President fails this vote, then we remove both the President and the Vice President from their offices, and the next session’s Speaker of the House also acts as President; the Senate could appoint an acting Vice President.

    I, for one, want to see *less* power in the Presidency, not *more*!

  24. And they apparently want to scrap more constitutional provisions. How far are these leftists willing to go. Sorry libs, but the Constitution is there to prevent you from establishing the despotism you seek.

    1. Just, reference Tony’s position above. Tony is not that radical of a Liberal. Most of them really do want to abolish as many checks on the State as possible. You would think that after 8 years of George Bush, who they utterly detested, they would be against such actions. But they always seem to genuinely believe that Destiny is on their side and that they will rule forever more. That any Republican win is merely a temporary anomaly and will be ephemeral in nature.

  25. Exactly my reaction when I first read about the ‘reform’. To prevent continuous running for office, we could start ridiculing those who do it and refusing to support them with votes and funds. I never send money to early requests. I believe public opinion is a better alternative to legislation and constitutional tampering.

  26. The left doesn’t want ANY elections. They want a dictator.

  27. The left doesn’t want ANY elections. They want a dictator.

  28. The lose seats because of poor policies, poor governance. You are so right that we need a midterm AND a Congress that punishes Presidents as the the voters have voted. Kill the POTUS’s dumb ideas and govern as the constitution dictates. Our laws are not suggestions.

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