Midterm Depression, Twelve-Point Advantage, Responsibly Urbane New Hampshirites, Not Just White People Like Trump, Democratic Impasse, Fear What Happens Next

[So, the midterms are just around the corner. Are you feeling cautiously optimistic, or incurably depressed?]

If those are my only options, I’m incurably depressed. All of the positive energy I felt in August—

[Excuse me? You are capable of feeling positive energy? And towards something as grueling as a political vote, no less?]

Apparently so. I’ll admit it: I was truly interested in forcing a changing of the guard in the House of Representatives—not because I was enchanted with anything proposed by the Democratic Party, but because I have grown repulsively fatigued with the melodrama rolling out of Washington each day. This political culture needs a change of scenery, almost as badly as New Hampshire needs a day without rain.

[Yes, it’s been pouring for almost two weeks, hasn’t it? It’s hard to remember what day it is, they all look so gloomily alike.]

Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, but then again, we have three soggy days forecast for next week.

[One of them being Tuesday, correct?]

Wouldn’t you know it. I wonder what effect, if any, that will have on the turnout. But, then again, I don’t know what effect the turnout will have on the result, here in New Hampshire’s 2nd District. Ann Kuster has a twelve-point advantage on Steve Negron, and as she is a Democratic incumbent, her race is almost lethally boring.

[New Hampshire, in general, is a pretty tough sell, even for committed political junkies. Even the presidential primary is coming into question: in September, David Siders of Politico wrote a very interesting article, wherein he argued that the Democratic presidential candidates should skip the Granite State, as well as Iowa, in favor of South Carolina. Apparently, the province that brought you Lindsey Graham is a reliable crucible wherein a Democrat’s national appeal, or lack thereof, is made truly apparent.]

That is interesting, and not just for the reasons Siders cites. Let’s link to his article, and then we’ll pick this back up after the jump.


All right. I was about to say, I don’t understand why New Hampshire has had made so many bad bets on the Democratic candidates as of late, especially considering the state’s success in choosing among Republicans. We favored Trump and Romney overwhelmingly in the last two primaries, and we were ahead of the game with McCain in 2008. And yet, none of those men took this state in the general election.

[Is this significant, somehow?]

Well, some of the so-called “moderate conservatives”, also known as “the conservatives who hate Trump”, fancy the New Hampshire electorate so responsibly urbane that a hard-right candidate is incapable of winning in the general election. It’s puzzling, then, that so many of these down-the-line Republicans do so well here in the primaries.

[And all it would take is a single victory of one of Trump’s minions to prove the moderates wrong.]

I’ve been thinking about that quite a bit. I don’t think that Kuster has to worry about Negron, but I do suspect that, in the 1st District, Eddie Edwards, who believes that Trump is not conservative enough on gun rights, could give Chris Pappas a little bit of trouble.

[Didn’t Eddie Edwards win his own primary in a bit of an upset?]

Yeah, the learned money had Andy Sanborn winning the Republican nomination comfortably. I’m not convinced that the hard-liners thought that Sanborn was too liberal, or anything, not when he was threatening to take private action against a college student for smoking marijuana, but a lot of people think that Edwards has some kind of off-the-grid charm, the same kind of rogue appeal that made Trump so interesting in the first place. In any case, Pappas seems to have been outspending him by a wide margin, though probably not by the same clip that Kuster has been surpassing Negron.

[What do the polls say?]

The last one I read showed a dead heat. It’s definitely not the fiat accompli that we’re seeing here in the 2nd District. I think that Edwards has really benefited from the underdog status in a way that some of the other “Trump impersonators” haven’t. Trump definitely endorsed Edwards, but he has been conspicuously quiet about his contest through the last few months. I’m not sure why this race hasn’t been catching fire in the national media. At the very least, you have the angle of identity politics to work with, as New Hampshire will, apparently, elect either its first gay, or its first black, Congressman.

[You’re uninterested in that element, I take it?]

Couldn’t be more uninterested, friend-o. Actually, no one wants to talk about identity politics in this race: liberals, by and large, must exercise caution when they disparage the president’s black supporters. The excessive and unwarranted fascination with Kanye West’s visit to the White House put a lot of moderate observers ill at ease, especially when Don Lemon referred to the sit-down as a minstrel show. I’m not saying that the label was misleading, but I do question whether the Left really wants to get into the murky implications of black support for Trump. Better just to leave this one be, and, if Pappas wins, to celebrate the diversification of Congress later.

[But, then why doesn’t Trump get more involved in the race? Couldn’t he force liberals to put their money where their mouths are and express, in plain English, what they think about Edwards?]

Eh, it probably isn’t worth the effort, not when the outgoing incumbent, Carol Shea-Porter, is a Democrat, as well. It’s not like the Republicans are looking to retain a seat, here. The stakes aren’t as high as we would like to believe, no matter how much we would love to watch CNN rush into the state. We haven’t seen that group since Jeff Sessions toured the federal courthouse earlier this summer.

[So, do you have any interest in voting on Tuesday?]

Admittedly, I was looking forward to voting straight-Democratic, but then the Kavanaugh hearings occurred and, well, I’ve been battling debilitating nausea ever since.

[Do you believe that the Democrats looked worse than the Republicans by the end of that saga?]

I think the Democrats were given the faintest hope when the allegations broke, but they fumbled the ball almost every time they picked it up. None of the Democratic senators on that Judiciary Committee should even think about running in 2020: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren all looked like activists with nothing to lose. Interestingly, one senator who did not get swept up in the hysteria was Bernie Sanders, who, I believe, is still the Democrats’ best chance to take back the presidency.

[What action of the Democrats’ was so distasteful that you cannot enthusiastically vote for any of them on Tuesday?]

I don’t know that it was a distasteful action, so much as it was made painfully obvious that none of the Democrats are going to make a beneficial contribution, should they be elected. It’s clear that the Democrats are politicians, too, bound by their commitment to prolong this stupid game of party politics. Part of me suspects that many Democrats, and almost everyone within left-wing media, are hoping to see Republicans prevail, for this will give them something relevant to complain about for the next two years.

[So, you don’t believe that things would improve, even if the Democrats were to reclaim both the House and the Senate?]

No, I think that they would just lock horns with Trump and treat us all to yet another round of the petty stalemate that has been the order of the day in Washington since the Tea Party scored its first symbolic victory in 2010. Trump will make demands, the Democrats will smirk and shake their heads, and we’ll all be sitting here, waiting for the next predictable episode in 2020. Politicians are typecast so easily these days. There’s never any mystery or ambiguity anymore—which really shouldn’t be a bad thing, but, inexplicably, it is! Will we ever see another David Souter, or is Brett Kavanaugh really as interesting as we can be?

[Is that what you’re voting for, then? Interest?]

More like, something convincing in the people running. I just don’t see anything credible in any of these people. I always want to ask, “What’s your motivation? What do you stand to gain from this electioneering?”

[If you don’t have any confidence in the Democrats, and if you’re even more inflexibly opposed to the Republicans, then how do you intend to vote on Tuesday?]

I’ll probably write in somebody’s name—possibly my own, which may be the most tasteless insult I could ever deliver.

[And how would you like to see the American population vote? For write-in candidates, as well? Would that they don the blindfold and vote for Democrats?]

The only reason I wouldn’t want to see a Democratic takeover is because I fear what would come down the pike. Right now, the Republicans are, for the most part, in an awkward situation wherein they must stand behind Trump without embracing him openly. They’re playing defense, basically. But, if large numbers of them are tossed from Congress, and if the Democrats take over, then the Republicans who run in 2020 won’t be quite so wishy-washy. They will play offense. They will be unambiguously and unapologetically pro-Trump. This will set the stage for the climactic battle that is both endlessly intriguing and terrifying to the point of inducing paralysis. Is that the way to make it all right, or is that setting the table for a very bloody feast?

[Only time will tell. So, are you saying we should fear Tuesday’s results?]

No: fear what happens next.

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