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Fox, Biden guilty of inflating midterm election results

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OPINION AND COMMENTARY

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Leave it to Fox News to find a way to take Election Day 2022 hype to a whole new level.

“This one night can change the course of history,” says the host in an ad for network covered Tuesday’s vote count.

Of course, Fox is not alone. Talk show hosts, candidates and activists want you to think that the fate of the universe depends on which party wins 51 or 49 Senate seats and who wins the Oregon governor’s race.

President Joe Biden, never one to miss an opportunity to exaggerate, delivered a classic line over the weekend: “Two days until the most important election of our lives.”

This one is as old and tired as it looks and sounds. As the president likes to say: Come on, man.

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President Joe Biden, speaking at a campaign event for New York Governor Kathy Hachul on November 6 at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, called Tuesday “the most important election of our lifetime.” (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky AP

It’s only natural for someone who invests so much time, energy and money into a company to portray it this way. But it’s bad for our politics and our mental health when every election is painted as the train’s last stop before Armageddon.

Whatever happens on Tuesday night, everyday life will continue much the same on Wednesday and Thursday. In two years, we will have more elections, despite the fact that the president scares with “democracy”. (This is a strange definition of democracy only counts if one party winsbut both our sides have gone into this corner.)

And whether it’s Democrat Chuck Schumer or Republican Mitch McConnell running the Senate, it won’t affect your life either way. A divided government means that some things get done a little less, others get a little compromised. And in any case, everyone starts looking immediately before the next electioneven if they tried to scare you that it might be canceled.

I was also guilty of this hype. Somewhere in a box in my garage, there’s probably more than one election news coverage plan in which I’ve written all sorts of grandiose words about the Majesty of Democracy and the Destiny of the Republic. But I just can’t remember how the 2006 midterm elections changed the course of history.

I don’t want to downplay the importance of the vote or the seriousness of our problems. We desperately need progress on fighting inflation, creating a sensible immigration system, reducing crime and improving schools. It matters who makes policy at each level.

But progress in our system is slow, and that is on purpose. Elections alone should not change the trajectory of humanity. When leaders and pundits keep declaring that one outcome will be glory and the other the apocalypse, and neither happens, you get even more cynicism.

And that we have a surplus.

Structural crises in our politics are real. Congress is performing poorly, every party is disproportionately influenced by extremists, and the risk of increasing political violence is terrifying. But the answers are not in this election or any other.

No, it’s becoming increasingly clear that our broken politics are simply a reflection of something cracking in our society. We are divided and afraid of each other.

Consider this data. In 2021, the bipartisan Battleground Poll asked respondents whether they believed that “compromise and common language should be a target for political leaders,” and 66% said yes.

The pollsters then asked whether voters are “tired of leaders who compromise my values ​​and ideals” and whether they “want leaders who will stand up to the other side.” Again, 66% agreed.

If you were a member of Congress, what would you do about it?

The good news is that recent polls have shown that more voters are forced to choose prioritize to compromise, approximately 2:1. But last month, four out of five members of either party told NBC News pollsters that the other party’s agenda is threatened destroy the country.

This is more than politics. While good leaders could help us avoid this, with numbers like these we will continue to elect those who feed anger and mistrust.

So, go ahead. Such a vote is either the final election or the most important, or both.

But take a second and ask yourself: Is this true? And if not, why are so many politicians trying so hard to convince you that it is?

Ryan J. Rusak, opinion editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He grew up in Benbrook and is a graduate of TCU. He spent more than 15 years as a political journalist, covering four presidential elections and several sessions of the Texas Legislature. He lives in East Fort Worth.

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