Hyperbole and hysteria in the midterms. If you don't vote tomorrow, immigrants are going to rape your wives and repopulate Maine. Or maybe democracy as we know it will die and open white supremacy will reign. Take your pick and pull the lever for "R" or "D" accordingly.
Don't think it's quite as dire as all that? Congratulations on maintaining a bit of perspective. You're in increasingly rare company.
With one day before the 2018 midterm elections, supporters of America's ruling parties are ratcheting up the rhetorical alarm to a farcical level.
For instance, here's Donald Trump Jr.:
And here's New York Times columnist Paul Krugman:
Here's the Leonhardt piece Krugman is tweeting about. The thesis is that the U.S. is veering dangerously close to a Hungarian-style retreat from liberalism and democracy. Others have raised similar concerns—never mind that liberal democracy in Hungary is about 213 years younger than ours and that the country has a history of communism.
Meanwhile, everyone from journalists to former president Barack Obama are warning that this is "the most important election" of our collective lives, or perhaps in the history of the country. At Mother Jones, David Corn writes that "Elections are always crucial. But this year, it really, really is the most important contest in decades. Or at least since 2016." Obama recently urged Democrats to vote in what will be the "most important election of our lifetime."
I'm sympathetic to arguments for and against voting, but have no patience for the voting scolds—those people who not only want to act like their gesture is grand and important but also like anyone who fails to find it as imperative is a Very Bad Person who deserves whatever hell their personal lack of voting will surely usher in. As Reason editor-in-chief Katherine Mangu-Ward writes, "if you're in it for the warm fuzzies and the people-watching, that's fine. Maybe your own pleasure in the act of voting is the best you can do with your time to make the world a better place. That's OK. It's good to do things that make you happy! But for goodness' sake, stop looking askance at the stickerless."
Whatever happens, we can count on one thing: an immediate pivot to presidential speculation. As one of the talking heads on CNN chirped today, "There's a presidential race that starts on Wednesday morning."
You can bet that one, too, will be "the most important election of our lives."
see we've entered that stage of the campaign wherein the stakes are no longer about who will win elected office and the power to govern, but rather about which narrative shortcuts we'll spend the next two years using to describe America's soul— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) November 5, 2018
Conditioning gun rights on Twitter civility? That's the future New York Democratic lawmakers want. Last week, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and state Sen. Kevin Palmer announced draft legislation that would require a review of three years of social-media history and one year of internet search history for anyone seeking to legally own a gun.
"A three-year review of a social media profile would give an easy profile of a person who is not suitable to hold and possess a fire arm," Adams says.
Marijuana markets could get a bit more free. Reporter Cady Drell rounds up midterm marijuana initiatives, which will appear on ballots in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah tomorrow. Read more about them here.
"A Libertarian is someone who says you can be as liberal or as conservative as you want to be; just don't force others to be like you."https://t.co/VQeGrx8X0S#Sharpe4Gov #aNewNY #Libertarian #SharpeHollister2018 #BreakTheStatusCuomo #NYGov #SaveMainStreet #GOTV pic.twitter.com/A2OTCBXQoh— Larry Sharpe (@LarrySharpe) November 5, 2018
- The D.C. Libertarian Party is "running an entirely gay slate of candidates."
- How health care factors in to this year's election.
- 1-800-LAW-FIRM and Excolo Law "are responsible for most of the lawsuits we've covered that attempt to hold social media companies responsible for international acts of terrorism." The good news is that they keep losing.
- Australian libertarian Helen Dale on the foolishness of European blasphemy laws.
- "The 'fix your own country' argument implies that the ancestors of most Americans (and also many Canadians, Australians, and others) were wrong to emigrate," argues Ilya Somin. "The Russians should have tried to fix the czar and (later) the communists; the Irish should have stayed home and worked to fix the British Empire. Donald Trump's grandfather should have stayed in Bavaria and worked to fix imperial Germany. And so on."
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Nolan Brown