What Happened to the Angry Voters?

Voting today in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Voting today in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images) Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Back in the June when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in the Republican Primary by Dave Brat, a narrative about this election emerged. It was supposed to be the year of rejecting Washington in favor of outsiders. There is nothing particularly unusual about that, as many, perhaps most, American elections are described that way.

As Election Day winds down, it is now reasonably apparent that narrative was wrong. This was not the year of the outside or of angry voters rejecting Washington. Frustration and resignation, frustration with both parties in Washington and resignation to the idea of needing to support their party by both Democrats and Republicans, are probably better ways to describe the election that is happening. The turnover in the House of Representative is likely to be relatively minimal given it is the sixth year of the President’s time in office. Most incumbent governors, regardless of party, will be reelected. Several big-state governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo and California’s Jerry Brown will do so with weak opposition. Several incumbent Senators in states like Arkansas, Louisiana and perhaps Alaska may lose, but their opponents are not running angry outsider crusades.

There is a great deal of anger in the American system, one only needs to peruse the internet or listen to a few minutes of talk radio to see that, but to a great extent this anger is heavily partisan and aimed at the perceived failures of government, rather than at government itself. Republican are angry at President Obama while Democrats are angry at Republicans, but that has been the case for much of this century.

Lincoln Mitchell is the national political correspondent for the Observer. Follow him on Twitter @LincolnMitchell. What Happened to the Angry Voters?