Off-year elections rarely garner the attention that votes in congressional and presidential years do.
Voter turnouts in the past have been dismal, usually less than 10 percent. Somehow I think this year will be different.
People are fed up. The list of frustrations sounds like a broken record, but it is nonetheless the list: Recession. Foreclosures. Furloughs. Unemployment. Insurance companies fighting tooth and nail to make sure a minor medical procedure that costs you more than a new car costs them no more than a cup of coffee. Oil companies that apparently think we're distracted enough not to notice gas going up nearly 50 cents a gallon in the past week. And of course, our poor, pitiful runaway federal government.
Add to all that a 500-year flood, and it's no wonder so many people are at the end of their ropes. Desperation and frustration lead to anger, which often leads to action. I predict you'll see the fruits of that anger at the polls this year.
People are tired of politicians coming around with their hands out. The folks who haven't lost their jobs and their homes are paying more to keep the latter and probably doing more for less in the former. And yet politicians seem stunned that their continued calls for more taxes fall on deaf ears.
Government is having to do more with less, just like most people I know. But government is in the unique position of being able to force the taxpayer to help it out. They can't put you in jail for not paying your Visa bill, but try not paying your tax bill.
But the fact is, the well is dry.
If you're a homeowner, you lost a state exemption this year. That made your property taxes go up, which likely means you won't have enough money in escrow, which means your house payment goes up.
Banks are trying desperately to put the screws to you anyway they can before new credit card rules take effect. They're dreaming up all sorts of fees, addendums and fine print that all translates to one thing: Higher payments for you.
I already mentioned gas, but that bears repeating, too. I filled my truck up a week and a half ago and paid $2.19/gallon. A few days ago I paid $2.65/gallon. Can a return to $4/gallon be far away?
And I don't have enough space to list all the things the federal government is doing to make life more expensive. I'll just say this: I minored in history, and one thing I learned was whenever faith is lost in a country's currency some seriously dark days will follow.
People want to retake control of some aspect of their lives. They need it. I predict it will begin Tuesday on the local level by sending a message: You politicians with your hands out can put them right back in your own pocket. Better yet, stick your thumb out and try to hitch a ride.
Because it's time for you to hit the road.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.