Why Are The Midterms So Meh?

Nate Cohn declares that “this is a great election. It’s way better than 2012. All around, it might be the best general election in a decade.”

There are a dozen competitive and close Senate contests and, for good measure, there are another dozen competitive governors’ contests. Better still, these close Senate races add up to something meaningful and important: control of the Senate.

But Americans are nevertheless losing interest in the midterms. How Suderman explains the lack of enthusiasm:

With just two weeks until election day, the most striking thing about the 2014 midterm may be how petty and substance-free it is. No major policy issue has defined this election; no major legislation is immediately at stake. It is possible to find candidates talking about a variety of policy issues—Obamacare, the minimum wage, immigration, the Export-Import bank, and more—but the implications are described almost entirely in political terms. For the most part, the focus for both parties is not on what they would do, but what they wouldn’t, not who they are, but who they aren’t. It’s an election about nothing, except, perhaps, who one hates the most. …

The result is an election in which Democrats cannot run on what they have done, and Republicans cannot run on what they will do. So petty squabbles and Twitter-friendly soundbites dominate the news as each side attempts to drive turnout by campaigning the notion that the other party is worse—for women or for struggling workers, for the economy or for America’s place in the world. It’s not an election about which side to vote for. It’s an election about which side to vote against.