In election 2014, the campaign about absolutely nothing, it's unlikely that as high a percentage of eligible voters will cast ballots as watched the last Seinfeld episode, the TV show about absolutely nothing.
The last episode of Seinfeld, in 1998, was was watched by 78.3 million Americans, 41.3 percent of all American TV households and 58 percent of all TVs being watched at that time.
Only 39.9 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2012 midterms and that percentage is likely to drop in 2014.
Generally interest in elections goes up as the election approaches, mostly likely as a result of the increased news coverage and the large number of campaign ads.
According to Wall Street Journal polls, "in 2006 and 2010, interest in the election increased dramatically between June and October of the election years, rising to 61 percent from 55 percent in 2006 and to 61 percent from 51 percent in 2010." Not this year. Despite nearly $4 billion in campaign spending, interest in the 2014 election declined between June and October.
Why? My educated guess is that the avalanche of SuperPac and "dark money" unleashed by the Supreme Court in Citizens United and its progeny have led an increasing number of Americans to conclude that have little meaningful say in government policies, no matter who wins the election. According to a Reason-Rupe poll, 75 percent of Americans think politicians are corrupted by campaign donations and lobbyists. This despite Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in Citizens United that unlimited corporate or individual contributions to "independent" political committees do no create corruption or the appearance of corruption.
Meanwhile, when it comes to the important issues that face the country, most campaign of the $4 billion in campaign ads from both parties this season have been about absolutely nothing.
Republicans are frightened to run on their actual policies of privatizing Medicare, cutting Social Security and protecting tax breaks for the wealthy. So a large proportion of Republican ads simply try to tie their Democratic opponent to Barack Obama, the African American president who's increasingly unpopular among whites who still make up a majority of the off-year electorate.
Here's a typical Republican ad, this one from Crossroads GPS, Karl Roves Dark Money organization whose donors are secret, the sole message of which is that North Carolina Democratic Senator Kay Hagan "Works for Obama":
Meanwhile, Democratic Senate candidates don't seem to want to run on popular policies advocated by progressives like Elizabeth Warren such as increasing the minimum wage, cutting student loan interest, or better regulating the big banks who crashed the economy. Instead, they seem almost as anxious as Republicans to distance themselves from Obama in the futile hope of garnering conservative white votes,
Here's a typical Democratic Senate ad from Kentucky Democrat Allison Grimes who, in her likely futile attempt to unseat unpopular Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has even refused to say whether she voted for her party's President Barack Obama. (As Bill Maher quiped, just ask President Al Gore how well it works to distance yourself from your party's President.)
So there we have it in a nutshell, the $4 billion campaign about absolutely nothing. Republican: "My opponent is just a stand-in for Barack Obama." Democrat: "I don't like Obama much more than you do."
I don't want to engage in false equivalency. I think the country will be slightly worse off with a Republican Senate majority, particularly when it comes to confirming judges who might one day overturn Citizens United and restore a semblance of Democracy to America.
But an almost entirely negative and content-less $4 billion campaign, largely paid for my millionaires, billionaires, and corporations (many of them secret) only plays to Americans' skepticism that the government is out to serve the corporations and special interests and not the average middle class American. And in that regard, they're mostly right.
In fact, the 2016 elections are likely to see an even higher percentage of Dark Money.
So, say a fond farewell to the 2014 Seinfeld campaign. Unfortunately, it probably won't be the last corrupt big money-dominated campaign about absolutely nothing.