Many pundits are saying that more people will turn out for the November midterm elections this year than any other in decades. There is no question in anyone’s mind that the country is divided and that a major power shift is imminent.
Tea party groups are fracturing the GOP while moderate Democrats, disappointed in the performances of both the White House and congress, are straying from party lines. Independent and undecided voters are wildcard ballots at this point and could push the final tallies in unforeseen directions.
People complain often because there aren’t term limits on more government offices. But, in the American political system, elections are the ultimate term limit.
Millions of people in the United States were inspired in 2008 by talk of change and the hope that things in the country would improve. Now, many of those same people are disillusioned, to say nothing of feeling betrayed.
Instead of correcting a faltering economic course, the Obama-Pelosi gang decided it was best to save the jobs of Wall Street billionaires. After all, it wouldn’t be right to have a bunch of out-of-work CEO’s wandering the streets with nothing to do and nowhere to spend their ill-gotten gains.
Regardless of how the White House may spin the news, the recession is far from over for everyday working people. Jobs are still scarce – and becoming more elusive by the day. The bail out of the Detroit auto industry did little to secure the jobs of those working in their factories. Wholesale downsizing and massive plant and dealership closings put thousands more out of work.
On the other side of the aisle, John Boehner and his Republican chums have done little more than back-pedal and sidestep questions about what they will do to fix the problem should they actually gain control of the United States House of Representatives. Perhaps they should have spent a little more time working on solutions instead of getting on Sunday news programs to blame the Democrats and remind everyone that there actually is a problem.
Here in Ohio a barrage of negative ad campaigns has left voters numb and uninformed. One of the most heated battles is between incumbent gubernatorial candidates Ted Strickland and his GOP opponent John Kasich.
Though popular when he was elected to succeed former Republican Governor Bob Taft, Strickland’s tax increases and extensive budget cuts left a bad taste in the mouths of school administrations and public librarians. At the same time, Kasich is seen as a darling of big business who helped move jobs out of the country at a time when unemployment is at an historic high.
Unfortunately, voters rarely take the time to sort out the facts from the fiction when they choose a candidate or say yes to a new tax levy. People make political choices the same way they define their faith in religious beliefs – by emotion.
With less than a week before the election, emotions are running high. While the economy may have settled down from its throws of agony, it is still in pain and millions continue to look for jobs.
All of the candidates are professional politicians who will say or do whatever it takes to get elected. Once in office, they often forget how they got there and work on their own agenda while giving little or no thought to the good of the constituency.
Before making that final choice on Tuesday, each person needs to consider his or her own situation and choose the candidate they believe can do the best job. Merely removing the incumbent from office may not be the best solution. It’s always possible the replacement could be worse. Voters need to educate themselves and make selections based on facts, not rhetoric.
Gery L. Deer is an independent journalist and Jamestown resident. More at www.gerydeer.com