The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.

If Republicans now try to spin their election victories as a repudiation of Democratic policies as implemented by President Obama, which policies did voters repudiate?

Indeed, there were a number of progressive victories in last night’s election:

  • In Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC, possession of limited quantities of marijuana for personal use was legalized.
  • In Colorado and North Dakota, voters rejected so-called “fetal personhood” ballot measures, which essentially would have declared fetuses “persons” under the law, with the result that all abortions could have been outlawed as murder.
  • In Washington state, voters approved a gun safety initiative requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, including at gun shows and in private sales.
  • Minimum wage increases were passed in all five states where they were on the ballot — Nebraska, Arkansas, Alaska, South Dakota and Illinois.

On many of these issues, and others, such as marriage equality, the polls favor the Democratic or Progressive position, often heavily.

Perhaps because of their weakness on so many real issues, the Republicans, aided by the corporate mainstream media, distracted voters again and again with other overblown stories, from Benghazi to Ebola, and tried to claim that each of these phony issues reflected some flaw in President Obama and the Democrats.

So the question remains: What to make of last night’s election? Perhaps the answer is that most Americans pay little attention to the issues, and therefore the side that has the most money (unleashed by the Republican majority U.S. Supreme Court) to spend, believes in nothing except winning, suppresses the most opposition votes and does the better job of lying, will win. Many U.S. voters may find out starting today that they have lost something very important.

Photo by John Yossarian, used under Creative Commons license.

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