Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

Elections, a Mandate for Apathy

Most of you who have read this article over the years would be able to discern that by and large in elections we vote Democrat. That is not because we have an overriding and abiding conviction towards the Democratic party, but rather because of our fears of many of the Republican parties candidates and agendas. Certainly we have crossed over party lines when the issues or the candidates calls for that response.

Having stated the above disclaimer, we do try our best to be as fair and impartial when we write our various issues. However we all take our biases with us wherever we go and ours probably show up in our writings and in our analysis.

Approximately a month has transpired since the proverbial mid-term elections were held. The outcome of those elections, certainly on a nationwide basis, put the Republican party in a position of power that they haven’t been in for the last 6 years. Some commentators have now called this a trend, while others over analyze, hailing this a great victory for the Republican party and then speak to the demise of the Democratic party. Many in the Republican party have called this a mandate for their rule, while others have championed the results as repudiation of President Obama and everything he stands for. None of these analyses are correct. They are more hyperbole than fact and wishful thinking rather than a scrutiny of the numbers.

The truth be told, the midterm elections of 2014 show what midterm elections basically always show. Republicans can turn out their base better than Democrats can turn out theirs. The party not controlling the Presidency has added incentives to go to the polls because they feel a contempt for the status quo. American people are by and large apathetic to politics unless it’s the Superbowl of politics, the Presidency, up for grabs.

There was no mandate for the Republican party. Only one-third of those eligible to vote, voted throughout the country. With few exceptions, the difference between victory and defeat in most races comes down to 4 or 5 percentage points. Doing the math, if only a third of the electorate goes out to vote and the difference between winning and losing is 4 or 5 percentage points, then the Republican mandate equals approximately 19 percent of the Populus. In essence, what has been called this overriding mandate is 19 percent of the people voting a certain way.

Another way of looking at the midterm election would be that 66 percent of the American people are so turned off by American politics that they just don’t care. Of course, this is does not factor in that many Americans take their voting rights for granted and just are too lazy to mail in that vote or stand in that 15 minute line. In any event, if there was any mandate, the mandate would be that something needs to be done on when and how we have election day. Possibly making a national holiday where everyone is expected to vote is the answer. Certainly we are not for compulsory voting and every American has the right to not vote. Just as every American has the right not to vote, every American has the right to vote.

Yet, some elections just make you scratch your head. This years election that by far was the most bizarre was the Governor’s race in Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback took office 4 years ago under the pledge to revive the Kansas economy. His idea was to basically cut all corporate taxes and do away with them, give incentive for corporations to come in to Kansas; reduce taxes of the wealthy; and to cause the State to flourish by the added jobs and revenues through those jobs.

Governor Brownback’s policy was such a failure that when he took office there was hundreds of millions of dollars in the State’s treasury and then after 4 years, the State was hundreds of millions of dollars in deficit. Nearly a one billion dollar swing in the State’s treasury.

Neither large businesses nor small businesses used their added wealth due to not paying taxes, to hire more people, but rather pocketed the money. Jobs were not created, the economy did not boom, and many of the basic services of the State had to be curtailed or discontinued.

Governor Brownback’s policies were so unpopular and so faulty that a State that almost considers being a Democrat a crime, was favoring Mr. Brownback’s Democratic opponent by up to 17 percentage points. However, all good things must come to an end.

With just weeks left to go in the election, a scandal erupted. Apparently, some 20 years ago or more Governor Brownback’s opponent had gone to a Kansas strip club. He did not rape, rob or pillage. He did not leave DUI. He did nothing other than go to a strip club. Yet, in the conservative heartland of this Country, such a transgression apparently makes one unfit to be Governor. Although Governor Brownback virtually destroyed the Kansas economy, affecting almost every Kansan, the people of Kansas would rather have their lives, and those of their children, affected negatively than they would allow somebody who had seen a naked woman dance, sit in the Governor’s mansion.

One may think that an election like this is the anomaly. However, one cannot forget that in the Senate race in Iowa, Joni Ernst won election. Her great claim to fame and why she should be sitting in the U.S. Senate apparently was that when she was young, she learned how to castrate pigs. That made her a “good ol’ girl” and suitable for the Senate.

Some of you may say well that’s Iowa and that’s Kansas and it really doesn’t affect me. However, these same people do effect you. These same type of people who voted for Ernst and Brownback are the ones that control the State of Texas education system. They are the ones who now are responsible for inserting 20 religious events or beliefs into the curriculum in the Texas history books. Because Texas is the second largest state in population, and because publishers of books are by and large lazy, as the Texas history books go, so do the history books throughout this country. Therefore, your children and ours, in the near future, will be reading history as determined by those who are similar to the electorate that voted in Sam Brownback and Joni Ernst.

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