Nate Silver over at fiveThirtyEight has a new article entitled The 2014 Election Is the Least Important in Years. Now I have a lot of respect for most of the work Nate Silver does, but I find this article rather peculiar. I even have more respect for him since he stopped publishing those, don't worry be happy, articles about Climate Change.
Nate Silver has a very good reputation for taking a hard numbers approach to everything from politics to sports. So I was bit curious as to how you could show hard numbers to demonstrate something so subjective as the importance of an election.
He starts out with this:
It would be easy to blame voters for their apathy, but perhaps they could use a breather. The past 14 years have featured a number of exceptionally exciting elections with control of the federal government at stake. This year, it probably isn’t.So the basis of his argument is that because the Republicans hold the house and will probably keep it, control of the Senate for the next 2 years just isn't that important. He goes on to talk about the importance of the checks and balances of the congress and the White House.
The table below documents the disposition of the federal government after each election since 1980: which party controlled the White House, and whether the opposition party exercised a check on power by holding at least one branch of Congress.Nate understand the role the Senate plays in confirming Supreme Court justices, but control of the Supreme Court just doesn't seem that important to him since he only mentions it once.
Furthermore, the Senate has the sole authority in Congress to approve Supreme Court nominations, along with Cabinet appointments and treaties. There’s the prospect of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or another justice retiring within the next two-and-a-half years.I'm sorry Nate, but if you don't think control of the Supreme Court isn't every bit as important as control of the congress and the White House, you haven't been paying much attention lately.
Conservative courts have, Appointed a president, dismantled the Voting Rights Act, and all but legalized bribery to undercut our very democracy, just to mention a few of the pathetic rulings they've made lately. I think you can easily argue that Conservative Supreme Courts have done more lasting damage to our country than the conservative congress.
If the Republicans take control of the Senate, they will deny President Obama the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, if the need arises. They will hold BS hearings and drag them on until the Presidents term is over, if he nominates anyone other than another Roberts or Kennedy.
What else will a Republican victory do?
Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! It'll be the Republican Benghazi show 24/7 as the Senate nuts team up with the house crazies and the right wing propaganda machine to attack Hillary and the Democrats for the next 2 years. And the main stream media will go along and report on the hearings no matter how ridiculous they become or how big the lies are. And it will have an impact on the general public and the 2016 elections.
Climate change! How loud do the constant warnings from scientists have to get? How many Katrinas and super storms and 1000 year floods, and biblical droughts do we need before we take action? Will a Republican Senate take action to save a future for us and our children? No! Every action President Obama takes to try and mitigate the effects of the train wreck we're heading for, will be met with legislation from a conservative group of scientific liars who's dishonesty is only trumped by their extreme greed and selfishness.
The ACA. No, the Republicans aren't going to repeal the ACA, that's not how they do the bidding of their Oligarch masters. A death by a thousand cuts. They'll cripple it by cutting the administrative budget, or by cutting into the subsidies for policies, or by cutting the coverage requirements of insurance companies. They'll cripple it until it breaks, then they'll say, AH HA! We told you it wouldn't work. And one day when they gain full power, they'll transform the ACA and probably Medicaid and Medicare, into a wealth transfer program that transfer wealth from poor and middle class sick people to powerful giant insurance companies.
Local and state elections. The Koch brothers, through their mega Pacs and their private governmental arm ALEC, have been corrupting local and state governments to change the very rules of democracy so the Oligarchs can hold power without the annoying bother of the little people trying to vote their minions out of office. And remember that it's the Republican governors and state legislatures that have denied Medicaid coverage to millions of Americans, that will result in the deaths of thousands.
So NO Nate, you're wrong! Not only is this election important, it is literally a matter of life or death to some people living in Republican controlled states. And it may determine the future lives and deaths of our children as they face a climate as radical as the Republicans that left it to them.
As long as the Oligarchs own an irrational, greedy, and heartless political party that undermines our very democracy, EVERY election is not only important, it's critical!