Turnout in U.S. midterm elections averages a dismal 40%. The lamest excuse not to vote is that there's no one good to vote for. That's chipper talk. As a hardcore voter, I can tell you that some of the deepest democratic pleasures come with voting against people. Let me tell you, 2010 is a great year for voting against incompetent, insane, venal, prejudiced, unqualified candidates and backward ballot initiatives. Try it, you'll like it.
Control of the House, the Senate, and several governorships hang in the balance. The governors' races are especially important because redistricting is coming up and, in many states, the governor oversees the process. So, which party controls the governor's mansion becomes an bigger issue than usual.
Need more reason to vote? Washington and Colorado are flirting with the same ruinous anti-tax measure that put California in seemingly permanent structural debt. California is virtually ungovernable in large part because, thanks to a anti-tax ballot initiative of yesteryear, that requires a 2/3rds majority in the legislature to raise taxes. Of course, spending bills still pass with a simple majority. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the likely effect on a state's finances. The 2/3rds rule is tantamount to permanent veto power for the radical anti-tax minority.
A contingent of true believers in California are backing yet another ballot initiative, Proposition 26, to apply the same 2/3rds standard to government fees (including charges to corporations to offset the costs of pollution and other social ills). If Proposition 25 becomes law, budget and budget related legislation will pass with a simple majority, but tax increases will still require a 2/3rds majority.
Nevadans, please get out and vote against Sharron Angle. She wants to force rape victims to "make lemonade" by bearing their attackers' children. She has proposed privatizing Social Security and eliminating the Department of Education. She's a religious fanatic who believes she's on a mission from God. She thinks autism is a bogus diagnosis that greedy parents make up to cadge more money from health insurers. She doesn't think insurance companies should have to cover autism. Like all the Republicans running this year, she wants to repeal health care reform.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go vote against Carl Paladino for governor of New York.
[Photo credit: Theresa Thompson, Creative Commons.]