The most interesting two graphs in Mort Kondracke’s Roll Call summary of exit polling on the recent election are buried at the bottom:
Possibly the most arresting single statistic in the exit polls was the finding that a plurality of voters – 40 percent – believe that the next generation of Americans will experience a life “worse than today,” while only 30 percent expect it to be better and 28 percent about the same.
This means that voters are discouraged not only about America’s present but also its future. The message of the elections is that the country wants its politicians to stop squabbling for partisan advantage and restore the American dream.
I don’t know how these stats compare with previous generations, but even so I wonder about the causes of these dark views. The Democrats were elected with no discernible program other than Not Bush. But if they pursue that program – endless hearings under the “wise” tutelage of Conyers, Dingell, Wachsman, et al – they will succeed in running themselves into the ground in nothing flat. We are on Internet time now. Politics as usual won’t cut it. The Republicans may find themselves back in power before they know it. But to inherit what? The system itself is broken and needs over-haul. But that’s not really surprising, is it? It’s been running much the same way for quite a long time. The gears are grinding down to nothing.