Opinion: (Everyone Should) Focus on 2014, not 2016

23 Jan

I have usually thought of Congress as the most powerful branch, but most agree that title belongs to the Executive.  (Also, the Legislative Branch is explained in Article I while the Executive is in Article II.)  I always liked the fact that the aggregation, combination, and/or chaos of the House and the Senate is a good indicator of where the American people, for better or worse.  Unfortunately, our electoral system usually biases/skews that representation due to redistricting, state size, or other factors.  As it stands now, the Republican wave within the state houses and the governors’ mansions allowed them to unilaterally create districts to maximize the amount of Republicans for the upcoming decade, all else equal.  (Look at USC’s Annenberg Center’s ReDistricting Game to get a fuller understanding of that particular process.)  Of course Democrats did the same, but they really only had one state to make that difference in Illinois (Chicago Tribune).  With the 2014 elections coming, no serious political analyst sees Democrats making a gain, especially in the midterm of the 2nd term of a President as evidenced in the below (President Clinton’s 2nd term was an exception to the rule).

Midterm Madness: As a general rule, the president's party does poorly in midterm elections. Especially the second midterm of a two-term administration.

Midterm Madness: As a general rule, the president’s party does poorly in midterm elections. Especially the second midterm of a two-term administration.

Voters should focus their time and energy on whether they want to keep their legislator.  It looks like a lot of people will be looking for their jobs by the time Election Day 2014 hits; however, there are primaries (except for Louisiana) and runoffs (in a few states) which may be even more important then November.  The GOP primary for the U.S. Senate currently filled by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) will be important to determine the direction of the party in that state (and region).  The State of Maine will determine whether they want to keep “America’s Craziest Governor” (POLITICO), go independent with Eliot Cutler – as they did with former Gov. and now Senator Angus King (I-ME) – or the current Democratic frontrunner, Rep. Mike Michaud.  California’s 17th district, currently held by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), will be facing a primary challenge from Ro Khanna which I will term as an ‘establishment vs. upstart’ (POLITICO).  Because of California’s top 2 general election, these 2 will most likely face each other twice in both the primary and general election, much like in the fashion of Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman (Los Angeles Times) in 2012.

There is enough in your local area that you should not even be concerned in the least what is happening on the national state.  In my own state of Indiana, we are currently figuring out whether to ban same-sex marriage (USA Today) and whether school vouchers should be extended to those at the preschool level (WFPL).  I am pretty confident that you will also be able to find enough information to keep yourself occupied until the 2014 election.

P.S. If you want to play around with 2016 presidential electoral vote totals, 270ToWin is the best for general election simulations and The Green Papers during the nomination stage for state and local party rules.

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3 Responses to “Opinion: (Everyone Should) Focus on 2014, not 2016”

  1. E.L. Beck March 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    ProPublica did a great investigate piece on the effects of gerrymandering in 2011:

    http://www.propublica.org/article/hidden-hands-in-redistricting-corporations-special-interests

    Unfortunately, my cynicism has grown far too deep for this. We live in a Plutocracy wherein the very process of the campaign (fundraising) allows the elite to vet the Republicrat candidates, who then run in the fall’s general election. Whoever wins matters little, for both are pre-approved for office. Thus, little change will be realized in the American political landscape.

    Lobbyists are writing our laws in Congress:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/11/11/243973620/when-lobbyists-literally-write-the-bill

    And large donors are now running the Republicrat party:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/us/politics/big-money-donors-demand-larger-say-in-party-strategy.html?smid=tw-share&_r=2

    So what is left to vote on?

    • ronarruejo March 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      I thought that I might be able to come up with an answer to your question, but I don’t think I can come up with an answer to your liking. Other than CA, WA, and LA that have non-partisan primary/general elections, I have to largely agree with you.

      One reason in why I am not jaded (as of yet) is because if I’m not an optimist when it comes to politics, then all I have is hopelessness. What drives me to think the best in politicians is that there are at least a few who are doing the best that they can, and I hope I can find and support them. Voting is the only thing I can think of that I have the most power of.

      Of course, gerrymandering is a problem and I can only hope that all states will move into a nonpartisan redistricting commission much like CA’s. In regards to cash, I can’t think of any solution right now. I feel that it’s a barometer of support, but I definitely don’t like how it’s playing in our current politics.

      What I can say at the present time is that the status quo needs to go and the system needs to be changed. But which way, how that change will come about, and will it be better is the million dollar question.

      • E.L. Beck March 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

        Not hopelessness, but civic engagement. Its the only means to substantive change. Now trying to initiate the spark for broad and educated civic engagement may seem hopeless, but here is where I play the optimist. I want to see civic engagement emerge, however, before the storm. After the storm, it just becomes anger and everything slips sideways.

        As far as money in campaigns, -all- political organizations – even “social welfare” organizations – must be banned. I realize this will take under desirable organizations as well, but if we cannot legally define the desirable from the undesirable, then the only thing that’s left is the blunt instrument of “all.”

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