Op-Ed: No one really has any clue about what’s going to happen in the midterms
The midterms are over, the polls are closed, and we have a long list of questions to answer.
This is all a good thing. We are entering a new era of civic life, where the political system in this country is moving from one that’s heavily tilted to one that’s more representative of who is actually voting. We’ve been waiting for this, and now it’s here. There’s no doubt that the upcoming elections will shape the political conversation for the next year and beyond. But it’s also true that no one really has any idea what that conversation will look like, and how it will shape the country.
In the early part of the week, a number of news outlets, including Vox, NPR, and Yahoo, published pieces arguing that midterms are coming to be viewed as a referendum on Trump, specifically. The idea that the midterms will either validate or undermine the president is a popular one, particularly given the way that Trump had so many different policies that he could have backed and then chosen not to.
But that argument didn’t hold up particularly well, and now it’s been knocked down repeatedly.
One problem is that midterms are never a referendum on any single president. They’re a referendum on the way the parties are running their elections, and most importantly (because this is where it becomes really important) their voters. Midterms are a way of deciding who comes out to vote, and then getting a representative to sit in the government — like most Americans already do.
But Trump and his supporters and their allies don’t just want to get rid of all of the Democrats (a goal that they know is impossible), they are looking to end all of the Democrats’ supporters.
Midterms are also a referendum on the parties, and the two parties are already moving away from their own identities.
A year ago, Democrats were the party of Obama and the Affordable Care Act. Then, they became the party of the progressive wing of the party and Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Now, Republicans, like Donald Trump, are the party of “America is great and