As the mid-term elections approach in the United States, speculation about the outcome is increasing. The smart money seems to be on a pretty substantial defeat for the Democrats – probably losing their majority in the House of Representatives, but probably hanging on in the Senate (where only 1/3 of members face election this year).
To some extent, the probable Democratic defeat is the product of disappointment with the Obama administration. If so, it strikes me as deeply irrational. While you can certainly argue that the Obama administration should have been more ambitious in areas like climate change policy or financial regulation, it seems inconceivable that a Republican victory would aid progress on either front. Rather, it would serve primarily to further castrate a once-promising administration.
Hopefully, the infighting between Tea Party sorts and the rest of the Republican Party will somewhat diminish the strength of the resurgence of the right. Similarly, it is to be hoped that supporters of a progressive agenda will be willing to set aside their self-righteousness for long enough to pull a lever or two in a booth somewhere.
I say that not because I think the Democrats are an especially good party, but rather because it seems nearly certain that a Republican controlled Congress would produce even worse outcomes, both for those living within the United States and for those around the world who are affected by its politics.