Politics: 20 October 2010

Democratic Surge?

Last night I reported on Russ Feingold’s recent surge in the polls, and DailyKos reports this morning that in three of the last four polls, Joe Sestak is ahead of Paul Toomey. This is happening all over in Senate and House races. It doesn’t mean that these Democrats will win (Feingold is still behind, for example), but it is indicative of something. It is probably as simple as the fact that Republicans are more comfortable being closed minded than Democrats are. Before there are any candidates, Republicans know that they will vote Republican. Democrats want to think about about it. Sure, we will almost certainly vote Democratic, but you never know. So as the election gets closer, Democrats moves from “undecided” (defined as, “might over the course of a lifetime vote for a Republican”) to, “Hell yes, I’m voting for Joe Sestak!”

There is another issue. For the last ten months Democrats have been told that there is a crushing defeat looming, that Republicans have a great enthusiasm edge, that the teabaggers are some new political group that is sweeping across the nation (rather that what it actually was: the most conservative Republicans doing and saying what they always do and say). At least among the Democrats I know, there is great gloom, but also great motivation.

Democrats Set to Lose Big Says The Onion

According to American’s Finest News Source, “Democrats Could Lose Up To 8,000 Seats In Upcoming Midterm Election.” In addition, “Experts also predicted the one-sided election results would cause Barack Obama to die on the spot, at which point the nation’s leading conservative talk-radio host would be sworn in as president of the United States forever.”

Realizing We Suck

One of the biggest problems in America is that we don’t realize how much and where we suck. We are used to hearing that we are the “richest country in the world!” Okay. But by per capita GDP, we are about sixth. By median “purchasing power parity” we are about third. After China becomes the “richest county in the world!” I suspect that we won’t be hearing a lot of, “America is the second richest country in the world!” (BTW: China’s per capita GDP is about 100th, even though it is the, “Second richest country in the world!”)

The issue isn’t money, of course. It just seems that people all over the place have better lives than we do here in America. My quality of life, for example, is greatly reduced knowing that I will not have healthcare in the foreseeable future; as I look towards our reform, I suspect I will just take the tax hit and continue on without healthcare. But as with most things, Americans have been sold this idea that healthcare for all will make us less rich. This may well be true, but it would make us happier and healthier. What’s more, if healthcare reform were done correctly, it could have been used to lower the enormous economic inequality in this country.

Conservatives are fond of saying (implausibly) that businesses are not hiring because of uncertainty about the future regulations and taxes. The truth is that I am almost paralyzed by thoughts about my financial future. I am very worried that the Republicans will get in and legislate me out onto the streets or into a job where I have to buy all my food at the company store. I look at a country like Canada and I think, “How do I get in on that?” Not only does Canada have a higher median income than the USA, but their economic inequality is much lower (half by some estimates). How do I get in on that?

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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