Scary Masks: Midterm Elections and Halloween

The midterm elections and Halloween are similar: both events highlight tricks and treats

Hey everybody. The Midterms Are Coming! Or rather: the midterms are coming. To be most precise; themidtermsarecoming. Because the general response of the vast majority of Americans who aren’t stifling yawns is “yeah, whatever. Isn’t there a baseball game on?”

The suspense is … non-existent. Passion is totally absent. Color the gusto gone. Even Fox News seems disinterested. The midterm elections may be less than a month away but to call the anticipation underwhelming is to engage in the height of hyperbole. Like referring to the number of living dinosaurs roaming the streets of San Francisco as less than plenty. Yours truly, notwithstanding.

The country is abuzz with the same kind of anticipation normally reserved for marathon sock sorting. Using a broom to sweep cobwebs out of closet corners. Cleaning mud from the tread of your boots with a stick. Mud being a euphemism for stuff deposited by dogs that resembles wet dirt while maintaining a much higher olfactory component. Think: compostable.

Midterm elections have always been the runt of the balloting litter. Not the letter-jacket-wearing, honor-roll listed, Presidential quadrennial brother that all the boys emulate and all the girls want to go to the prom with. When the light is right, his teeth actually sparkle.

More like the wearing all black, hanging out behind the football field scoreboard, smells like smoke, little brother that the school nurse suspects is bi-polar but won’t say anything because Mom looks that close to a nervous breakdown. Constantly followed by that geeky girl in braces who writes poetry in a rubber-banded notebook that nobody reads.

The turnouts in 2006 and 2010 were minuscule but this year’s forecasts are putting the Pea You in puny. Borne out by Pew Research research, which says 15 percent of potential voters are following the election closely. Which could mean 15 percent of us are related to a politician. You can cut the apathy with a soggy bar coaster.

Multiple reasons are cited for such gloomy prospects. Obamacare seems to be working. It’s hard to tell one middle aged white guy from the other. And not even the terrifying prognostications of Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid can compete with Ebola and ISIS.

The midterm elections situation looms especially dire for the Democrats who have two major problems. An even lower score on the fervor scale. Compared to them, Republicans look downright English soccer fanny.

Then there’s the President of the United States, whose coattails have frayed all the way up to his sleeves. If Barack Obama were up for election, the only votes he could count on would be Michelle, Malia and Sasha. And rumor has it not even Malia is a dead solid lock.

It’s gotten to where candidates from his own party are offering to arrange photo-ops of him hugging their opponents. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear savvy managers dig into campaign coffers to gift the President with rounds of golf on Martha’s Vineyard during October.

If this bout of electoral lethargy continues we might be forced to merge the midterms with Halloween. Why not? Same week. Besides, they have a lot in common. Both events highlight tricks and treats. Everyone wears costumes to disguise their true identity. All the real action occurs in the dark. John Boehner looks like a pumpkin. And not infrequently, the face under the mask is the scary one.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to for more about the documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances such as his hit one-man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG.”

Will Durst
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