Or rather why 2011 won’t be 1995. I was really kinda hopin’ that the 2010 mid-term elections won’t be as disastrous for the Democrats as it was in 1994. It will be in some respects. Dems are projected to keep the Senate but lose the House. However, the main difference being in 1994-1995 the economy was much better. We are in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Only the stimulus, as small as it was, kept the US from imploding into another major depression.
Paul Krugman has a very sobering essay Divided We Fail. He does a good job of explaining what we could look forward to in a likely Republicans takeover of the House.
The other difference is the Tea Party. In the 1990’s we had the militia movement. Well with the 2008 election they’ve gone mainstream and come back as the Tea Party. They are far more radicalized than the last time around. There’s a lot of good decent folks who’ve been convinced to vote against their own interests mixed with a liberal dose of racists, birthers, tenthers, truthers, and deathers. And as we get closer to the election the Tea Partiers are becoming more thuggish at election rallies. It gets even better. They are projecting all of their bad behavior and beliefs on the left: “Hey, you stepped on my head.” “No, your head damaged my boot.”
In times of stress societies become more religious and more violent. This can be seen in the historical and archeological records. Our global civilization is going through some very stressful times. 2010 has seen it’s share of disasters: Haiti earthquake, Pakistani flood, Russian drought, BP Gulf oil spill, just to name a few. Also, this past decade has seen some pretty big disasters, the Boxing Day Tsunami, Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan. Finally, the impacts of global warming are starting to be felt and are only going to get worse.
So the question is not how are you going to vote on Nov 2? The question is how are you going to live in an everchanging world that is under intense and increasing stress? My thoughts were that if the Democrats retain control of Congress things wouldn’t necessarily get better but it would buy us the time to give it a go. With the likelihood of Republicans taking control things are going to get worse in pretty short order. Neither party is addressing the real problems we are facing.