In eliding these points, “Cancel the Midterms” is in tune with contemporary political speech that redefines “checks and balances” as “gridlock,” prejudices any attempts to rein in state power, and denies the existence of arguments against what Schanzer and Sullivan call “the ability of their government to address pressing concerns.” But the piece does provide a useful glimpse at how little regard contemporary political science has for the basics of representative democracy.
This article is obviously the sad product of a classroom colloquy (or “rap session,” as the kids say these days) wherein a stupid question (and there are plenty of stupid questions) inspired the teacher to shop a piece to the destination media and include the student in the byline to appeal to hypothetical Millennials. The 2014 election silly season is drawing to a close, so increasingly loony arguments are to be expected. But in the Richelieuesque purity of their case, the professor and the junior reveal something essential about contemporary good-government types. They don’t want government to be more accountable to the people, because they believe the people are the problem.