The midterm elections have come and gone. Predictably, the Republicans retook the Senate, profiting off a feeling of general unease with the Obama Administration. The commentariat class was abuzz with speculation over the meaning of the election and what it portends for the pomp and decadence show known as the presidential election. Nick Gillespie of the libertarian Reason magazine naively believes the election results mean nothing because both parties are “going extinct.” Politics is a team sport with intense loyalties. The jackass and elephant aren’t leaving American life any time soon.
As journalists debate over how a Mitch McConnell-run Senate will govern, they all agree on one thing: the sanctity of the process that brought Republicans to power. Progressives, in particular, love the voting process. They revere it like a religion, and treat casting ballots as no different than worshiping at the altar. Every Election Day brings columns and blog posts about the importance of “making your voice heard.” These puff pieces laud democracy as the god that brought simpletons to the promised land.
Likewise, the writers often play a cunning game of pretending to be open-minded and independent, while simultaneously hacking for their preferred political party. No other media outlet wears this veil better than Vox. Run by former Washington Post blogger and self-styled “wonk” Ezra Klein (and financed heavily by the corporatist giant General Electric), Vox is supposed to be a home of objective analysis for plebes too busy to read stacks of white papers. It’s just a coincidence that every conclusion Klein and crew come to happens to be über progressive. Vox is the journalistic embodiment of the hack Stephen Colbert trope “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Such ideological motives should arouse suspicion in conservative-minded observers.
This past Election Day, Klein decided it would be a good idea to give a bias-free list of reasons to cast a ballot at your local middle school. Calling the piece “9 Damn Good Reasons to Vote Today,” Klein succeeded at his virtuous task: he definitely made me want to vote. But it was for none of the reasons he listed. In fact, I railed against Klein’s list when I stepped into the voting booth, to my delight and what I hope was the disgust of leftists everywhere.
Klein’s reasons to vote had nothing to do with public duty or civic participation. He said that every election “matters,” but meant that they are only important insofar as they are used to further progressive ends. The 9 totally important and crucial reasons to vote he listed are nothing but a grab bag of lefty-flavored candy for his fellow liberals to munch on.
Klein’s first reason is the dream of idealistic statists: government health care for the poor. Expanding Medicaid was a huge issue in various state-level elections. Klein implores readers to vote to give medicine to 4.8 million adults not currently addicted to the federal health entitlement program. A vote against Medicaid is a vote against healing the poor, he attests. So voting is only good if you perpetuate an already bankrupt boondoggle. I suppose there is some science out there that backs the idea of further bankrupting the national government.
The Vox wonk’s second reason is another policy that makes lefties salivate: boosting the minimum wage. At least 5 states had measures on the ballot to forcefully raised the pay of workers. Klein actually wrote the elections “will literally decide their livelihoods.” He’s not wrong about that. If you’re looking to lift up the working class, hiking the minimum wage is a profoundly asinine idea. Outlawing cheap wages doesn’t force management to pay the unskilled more. Cashiers end up left in the cold, replaced with automated machines.
The third reason is the precarious age of certain Supreme Court judges. The Senate confirms judicial nominees. Control of the chamber determines how easy of a job President Obama has of putting someone on the high court’s bench. Klein notes, “if Democrats hold the Senate and, say, Antonin Scalia unexpectedly retires, then the 2014 election might end up swinging control of one of America’s three branches of government…” Well we all know how that turned out. Even so, Klein came off as desperate to preserve the Democrat-controlled Senate so that the Catholic stalwart could be replaced with an abortion-loving, contraceptive-mandating incorrigible progressive.
Klein wastes the fourth and sixth reasons telling us that control of both Congress and state legislatures are up for grabs. Gee, you think? The whole point of elections is to determine control of legislative bodies. Has there ever been an election where congressional control was not contested? Thank goodness Klein is wise enough to remind the country that elections determine who writes the laws. The kind of objective, clear-mindedness he exudes must boggle the mind of slower readers.
As for the fifth reason, Klein points out that marijuana legalization was on the ballot in three states and Washington D.C. The measures were largely approved by voters – with the exception of Florida – and their passage shows a general trend of increasingly libertine social policy advancing in America. Klein doesn’t explicitly endorse pot legalization, but he neglects to mention anything about public health concerns. His is a tacit endorsement. The left’s embrace of legal weed has more to do with promoting hedonism than actual freedom. It’s puritan garbage to make smoking a plant illegal – and I write that as someone who strives to be as puritan as John Calvin.
Klein’s seventh and eight reasons are as biased and predictable as the rest. In both, Klein urges people to vote since midterm elections often have low turnout and future congressional makeup will be determined by this year’s results. Why does this matter so much? Klein says that whichever party controls Congress will help pass President Hillary Clinton’s or Mike Pence’s agenda. Again, why such a thing needs to be explained, the geniuses at Vox never bother to say. It’s assumed the reader is dumber than a rock.
Lastly, Klein ends with the mindless and overused saying “you can’t complain if you don’t vote.” He even finds it clever to crudely throw in the f-word for emphasis. But the fact is, non-voters aren’t to blame for bad government. George Carlin refuted the “you can’t bitch” saying decades ago. Klein and his bunch of smug, know-it-alls are chief proponents of civic pride and democracy. They not only encourage the vote; they champion leftist politicians who are as corrupt and incompetent as the day is long. They endorse welfare, warfare, endless government spending and debt, and the whole federal bureaucracy. They are more to blame for political harm than the working guy who can’t bother to drive to the voting booth.
In many ways, voting remains this country’s civil religion. In the recent issue of Modern Age, University of Pennsylvania professor Walter McDougall points out that America’s shining promise was built upon a conception of exceptionalism infused in the nation’s founding philosophy. The civil religion entails active participation in politics, the grand result being the voting booth. Progressives like Klein have hijacked this ethos and largely succeeded at transforming the conception “public duty” into a mechanism to vote themselves more welfare benefits.
Whatever superior philosophy was embedded in the American founding has long floundered into a “gimme gimme” dependence on government theft. Klein knows this. His journalistic comrades know it. The only thing left to do is fool everyone else into using democracy as a holy practice of wealth redistribution. For now, they succeeded. The lamps will eventually go out all over the welfare state though. Onerous government regulation will decimate private initiative. Enthusiasm over recreational drug use will degrade ethics even further. And so-called objective journalists will be to blame for all of it.