Why the 2014 Election Matters

ambulance times;”>EditorialBy Gregory J. Welborn

case times;”>Election predictions are always dangerous, buy and I can only remember a couple of instances when I’ve made them. But here, I’m going to make two more. This election is about something, and this election will matter significantly. Two sides of the same coin, but both sides are important to understand.

In the last several weeks leading up to this election, the Democratic line has shifted from: “we’re confident we’re going to retain the Senate” to “even if we lose, it’s not really a significant event; the voters are just angry again and apt to do something stupid.” Sadly for Democrats, this election really is about something: the mishandling of the economy, governmental corruption and intrusiveness, and incompetence on the world stage.

It is about the economy! All elections have some component driven by the economy. In good times – even fair times – that component is minimal. But we’re not in good or fair times. We are experiencing the weakest recovery in two generations. The 1 percenters are doing just fine, but it is those in the middle, where median income has fallen, who aren’t doing very well at all. Making it all the more unpalatable, this is the president who proclaims that reducing income inequality is the great purpose to which his administration is dedicated. But income inequality has worsened under his watch because of his policies. The voters noticed.

It is about governmental corruption and intrusiveness! It is difficult to know where to start here, but a fair guess would be with the two institutions which should be above politics: the IRS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This administration has politicized both to the point where their credibility is damaged, perhaps unrepairable. Add to this the Veterans Affairs Department and the Secret Service, subpoenaing and wiretapping journalists, and you have a level of corruption which weakens the core of what all Americans thought were sacrosanct institutions or principles of fair governance. The voters noticed.

It is about massive incompetence on the world stage! Most voters don’t take in the details of foreign policy, but they do take in the results of foreign policy. So, the details of Libya, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan may just be punctuation marks, but the outcomes are noticed. When ISIS takes the territory we spent blood and treasure to win and secure, when a county is cannibalized and the cannibals mocks us, when our ambassador is targeted and murdered, we notice. And those were just the early innings. They were enough to demonstrate American weakness, and the bad guys noticed. Videotaped beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff weren’t just savagery; they were demonstrations of the contempt shown by the savages for America – for our power, resolve and place in the world. The J.V. team defied us, dared us, and all we can do is fly a few meaningless sorties for press releases and photo ops.

But it is Ebola which has crystallized the collapse of American strength. We contradict ourselves at every turn and can’t even muster common sense responses. We tell the world and our own people that quarantines don’t work – except for our own military personnel who have been in West Africa. Our protocols have more holes in them than Swiss cheese, more exceptions than the rules of English spelling. We are a laughing stock of the world. The voters noticed.

So, the election is about something – and something significant – after all. But it is also a deeply important election. My prediction is the Republicans will gain seats in the House and will take control of the Senate. Assuming that’s true, this election will set the stage for Republicans to demonstrate what they stand for, not just what they stand against. And that will be deeply important.

When you’re the minority party, you really don’t have much of an option other than to be the party of “no”. I might even add that it is your responsibility to be the party of “no”. You represent an electorate which voted for you and wants you to stand up to the majority. This is a time-honored and deeply valuable service to the

The Polls

The Polls

nation. You’re not supposed to just roll over and rubber stamp the policies of the party in the majority. You’re supposed to say “no” and then seek the compromises which make sense.

But when/if you become the party in the majority in the legislature – as I believe this election will deliver – your obligation and opportunity shifts. The Republicans will have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to collectively vote through bills in the House and the Senate which reflect their positive view of what policy should be. Republicans will shift to become the party of alternative answers. Whether the President agrees, compromises or flatly refuses and uses his veto power is beside the point. The exercise will be clarifying for the nation, and there is great value in that because we’ll have another, more important, election in 2016.

So this election will matter greatly. America will have two years (2014 to 2016) to witness, contemplate and judge the competing visions for America’s future – both domestic and foreign. That is not insignificant in the annals of history or politics.

Don’t be misled when you hear the Democratic talking points. The electorate may be angry, but they aren’t stupid. They’re paying attention; this election is about something, and this election will matter significantly.

Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 3 children and is active in the community. He can be reached [email protected]/5l.com

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