The results of mid-term elections in America generally track the national mood. Certainly, each race involves individual candidates of greater or lesser degrees of sanity, presentability, committment to personal hygiene, etc. And the way things play out in individual races does matter to some extent.
The results of a close election can change depending on, for example, how many previously unacknowledged children you have, or how often you do, or do not, lurk in a trench coat outside of a nunnery. But generally speaking, races tend to break disproportionately for one party or the other as the voting begins.
Swing voters, who can tip the very close races, usually react to perceived conditions in the country at the time they vote. People look at conditions as they exist almost literally as they drive to the polls. There is occasionally some stopping at Starbucks on the way, but there is typically very little analysis of how things came to be the way that they are, or what the future might hold. This phenomenon is best described, almost literally, as “It’s raining out now. I don’t like rain. I’m voting to throw all of the rain-causing bastards out!”
This is manifesting itself in the 2023 election on the issue of inflation. Inflation is high. It is not low. People like low more than high. Joe Biden is President now. “Now” is when inflation is high. So they are telling pollsters they will vote against Biden’s party to register their unhappiness that inflation, as we’ve discussed, is currently higher than it is low. With all due respect to the surface appeal of such a calculation, this is really dumb.
The first reason it is dumb is because it is based on a logical fallacy. “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc”. This means “after this, therefore because of this.” And NOT, as I put on my Latin exam “Kitten innards make for a spicy pie”. I really should have studied more back in college. In any event, the point is that voting against Joe Biden or Democrats in general because of inflation (again, to recap, high, not low) only makes sense if Joe Biden and/or the Democrats are the cause of high inflation. They aren’t.
I didn’t study much more for economics than I did for Latin. I’m not even sure I took economics, which gives you a sense of how much I studied for it. But since college I’ve read a a lot about it. I’ve spoken with a good number of experts on fiscal and monetary policy about the causes of inflation. I’ve…