Former President Bill Clinton told a gathering at the University of Mississippi Thursday that they would be “committing malpractice” if they sat out the midterm elections and simply allowed the Republicans to win in November. Appealing to their civic duty and a higher mindedness, Clinton told the 2,000 students in attendance that Republicans were running on anger and fear and unbridled emotion, blaming Democrats for everything wrong with the U. S. and its government. “Right now, it’s not a thinking election,” he said, according to the Associated Press. And judging from many of the races going on around the nation, he is absolutely correct — about it not being a “thinking” election.
Rand Paul, who is running as a Tea Party Republican senatorial candidate in Kentucky, wants to repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which gives automatic citizenship to those born in the U. S., to help curb illegal immigration and suggested to stop illegal immigration an electrified conduit be run underground all along the border with Mexico.
Republican Christine O’Donnell, running for senator in Delaware with the backing of the Tea Party and little else, offered only platitudes as solutions for the economy she says she can help fix in her debate with her rival this past week, then went on a one-minute rant that he was a “bearded Marxist.” Just three years ago in another campaign, she claimed she was privy to classified intelligence information that the nation of China was planning on taking over the U. S.
Republican Jan Brewer, incumbent governor of Arizona, made claims in an attempt to cast a dark shadow over America’s illegal immigration issue that there had been headless bodies found in the Arizona desert. She later said she misspoke.
Tea Party favorite in Nevada, Sharron Angle, leads in the polls against incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. She recently spoke with conviction that there were two cities in the U. S. currently operating on Shariah Law, the fundamentalist religious law and moral code of Islam, drawing on a prevalent American fear of Muslims in general. Her claims were unfounded and untrue, and she later said she got her information from something she had read.
Every one of these candidates and many others are using terms like “socialism” and “big government” and “Obamacare” and “socialized medicine” to attack Democrats without actually combatting the issues themselves. Republicans and Tea Party candidates point at jobless figures, rail about a stagnant economy and it worsening, but offer no real solutions to making the jobless rate lower. They simply point and say Democrats are doing nothing. It took over a decade of various economic prompts and a second World War to end the last Depression, yet the Democrats, according to their opponents, were expected to fix the problems of the world’s largest economy in two-to-four years.
Some make the attempt to actually speak to the issues (mostly on their websites, relying on fear tactics and jingoism during speeches and interviews) but many do not bother. Why? Because they aren’t appealing to the thinking voter.
They don’t have to…
Democrats aren’t immune to the fearmongering and appeals to emotion, either. Calling up images of the Bush administration and the free-wheeling, deregulated economics championed by former President Bush, Newt Gingrich, and Republican leaders of the past are attempts to get voters to fear a return to policies that caused the worst recesssion/depression since the Great Depression.
President Bill Clinton was absolutely right. The 2010 midterm election cycle is not a thinking election. Like all elections before it and those that will follow, it is a reactionary election, reacting in many ways to ones that came before it. But his sentiments and appeals to the thinking voter, if history serves, will most likely go for naught.
Thinking and voting seem to be mutually exclusive acts for most around Election Day. It is why candidates ultimately appeal to the visceral, the emotional, and potential fears. They appeal to tradition, patriotism, nationalism, local needs, local wants, and abstract ideals. Why go that route? Because most might not be able to explain it, but they do know what they don’t like and fear.
And fear is primarily caused by ignorance.
Just how much bliss will the 2010 non-thinking midterm elections garner for the American electorate? Tune in around the first week of November 2012.
Associated Press via WashingtonPost.com