Apparently the issue that may decide whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate after next month’s midterm elections isn’t ISIL, immigration, global warming or the economy, but hens.
Specifically, four hens that wandered into the yard of Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley. Braley threatened litigation if the four “therapeutic hens” (that’s how the owner described them) weren’t properly restrained. A reporter portrayed Braley as an elitist who didn’t do things the “Iowa way” by working things out with a neighborly chat over the fence, and before you could crow “Cock-a-doodle doo” Braley’s underdog Republican opponent, Joni Ernst, catapulted into the lead.
Thus possibly giving birth to the electoral equivalent of the mythical butterfly that flutters its wings in the Amazon and causes a typhoon in the Philippines. “Iowa” is one of a handful of pivotal races that will determine who rules the Senate for the last two years of President Obama’s term and maybe beyond, thus affecting budget battles, federal court appointments, possible Supreme Court nominees and even our military strategy against ISIL, meaning that we may literally be “hen” pecked to death!
Yes, as a nation, we’ve gone from political rallying cries of “A chicken in every pot!” to “Free-range chickens in your neighbor’s yard!”
There is no race so momentous that it can’t be debased by embarrassingly silly “issues.”
In Kentucky, Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are dueling over who best wields a rifle. In Alaska, the race may be determined over the incredibly pertinent question as to whether Democratic Senator Mark Begich can really ride a snowmobile, or is a sad pretender.
Find me a gun-totin’, snow-mobile ridin’ chicken-lover and we are talking someone with presidential timbre, here!
A recent Pew Research Poll concluded that only 15% of Americans are closely following the midterm elections, but amazingly, that’s roughly triple the percentage of voters in the 18-25 age range who are paying close attention. It’s conventional wisdom to lament that, if past patterns persist, only 40% of eligible registered voters will cast ballots in November’s midterm elections. But if you ask me, given the aforementioned levels of interest, that’s too many! Yes, you have a “duty” to vote – but if you’re gleefully uninformed and don’t give a &%^% and still aren’t even aware there’s an election in four weeks, as other polls suggest, you have as much business voting as I do picking the Romanian Women’s All-Star Football team. I really don’t want your vote cancelling out mine!
Just as bad, the 40% that do manage to haul their butts to the polls are disproportionately on the fringes of their party, like the Tea Party, or are “one-issue” voters, like gun-owners galvanized by the non-existent threat that Obama is planning to take away all their firearms. Meaning that many of our most reliable voters are both motivated and ignorant!
The public barely needs help maintaining their ignorance, but just in case, a bevy of “concerned citizen” sounding groups, with patriotic and grassroots-sounding names like Americans For Prosperity, but really funded by the likes of the Koch Brothers, pour billions into various local races, not to clarify issues, but to obfuscate and confuse.
It’s kind of sad when the best argument to “get out the vote” among the apathetic and ill-informed on your side is to offset the rabid and ignorant on their side.
Some pundits explain the low interest among voters by saying that voters don’t pay much attention until after Labor Day, or even until after the World Series, which might play out this year till the end of October, but I think America is the only country that doesn’t start paying attention to elections until after they’re over, when millions of Americans bitterly gripe and grouse and complain about the idiots that got elected.
But at least they’re idiots who know how to shoot rifles, ride snowmobiles, and don’t go suing chickens.