"I doubt much hangs on the result of next week's nationwide elections. This is the great unspeakable fact of American politics: it doesn't matter all that much who wins. That's not to say it doesn't matter at all. It does matter. It just matters in ways rather different from the ways we are encouraged to think it matters by politicians and the press. I'm glad my wise co-blogger warned us the other day against neglecting zero-sum thinking in politics. Democratic politics is to a great extent a war of coalitions over what the great political economist James M. Buchanan called 'the fiscal commons'. Think of government as a huge pool of money. Control of government means control over that pool of money. Parties gain control by putting together winning coalitions of interest groups."