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How Come the Mid-Terms Are So Close?

Either the polls are crazy, or the voters are crazy, or maybe a little of both. Yesterday the latest ABC – WaPo poll shows that a clear majority of registered Democrats – 56 percent - want their party to dump Joe in 2024 and choose someone else. They claim he’s doing a lousy job on inflation and the overall economy as well.

Since 1946, according to this article, when a President’s popularity is less than 50 percent going into the midterms, the party loses an average of 37 seats. So how is it that six weeks before the 2022 midterms, Joe’s positives are way below 50 percent, but all the polls show the upcoming election to be essentially tied?

For what it’s worth, here’s my theory for what’s going on.

What’s going on is that the typical Democrat may not feel all that good about Joe, but the typical Republican feels a lot more pissed off about Trump. And the fact that Trump continues to shoot his mouth off while his legal problems get worse, is the reason why the GOP hasn’t been able to take advantage of the general dislike of Joe.

Now it happens to be true that neither Joe not Trump is on the ballot this year. But both of them will have to announce something about 2024 by the beginning of next year. Because the moment that this year’s midterms are over and done with, the media will begin focusing its attention on 2024. That’s what happens when you have a national election every two years.

And let’s not forget that when I say ‘national’ elections, I’m not just talking about who will be sent to Washington, D.C. There are also 50 state governments that come up for grabs. And with all the talk about how the GOP is trying to change voting rules at the individual state level, the question of who controls state government has also become a big deal.

I happen to think that all this noise about elections and election ‘fraud’ and election this and election that is a very good thing. Because when I was a kid growing up in the 1950’s, believe me when I tell you that the World Series and the Army-Navy game meant a lot more to most Americans than whether or not they remembered to vote.

In 1956, when Eisenhower got 57.4 percent of the popular vote over Stevenson, the overall turnout of eligible voters was just over 60 percent. In 2020, the turnout was 66 percent, still less than what takes place in other democratically run countries, but the highest percentage in any U.S. election since 1908.

Note, by the way, that Trump’s phony argument about 2020 election ‘fraud’ doesn’t rest on the number of people who voted. His toadies are basically saying that GOP votes weren’t counted or that votes for the red team were counted as votes for the blues.

Actually, who knows what he’s really saying? All we do know is that increasingly, mainstream GOPers would like him to shut up.

In the greater scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter whether noisemakers like Sydney Powell or Alex Jones continue to rant about election ‘fraud.’ Nobody’s paying attention to these made-for-YouTube personalities anyway. But when Trump sits down with Hannity and says whatever he says for thirty minutes or so, this performance is treated as ‘news.’

And when Trump says something as stupid as what he said the other night about being able to declassify government secrets by just thinking about what he has read, the net effect is to further erode his ability to sway swing voters in his direction and without swing voters you lose. Period. End of story.

I never thought of MAGA as representing any kind of political ‘movement.’ For me, the people who show up at Trump rallies and cheer no matter how crazy or stupid it is, are behaving like members of a cult. The only thing that matters to members of a cult is to agree with everything the cult leader says.

Now granted, Trump is no Charles Manson, David Koresh, or Jim Jones. But like those cult leaders, Trump is similar in that all he ever does is talk about himself. And at a certain point, if you’re not a member of his cult, hearing the same thing over and over just becomes a bore.

And as my late friend Jimmy Breslin once said, the worst crime that any politician can commit is not fraud, or extortion, or corruption, or even God forbid a violent assault. The worst crime in politics is to become a bore.

Guess what? Trump’s become a bore and that’s why the GOP could lose both ends of the Capitol in the next six weeks.

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