|The West Wing episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Alex Graves|
|Written by||Aaron Sorkin|
|Original air date||October 18 2000|
|Season 2 episodes|
"The Midterms" is the 25th episode of The West Wing and the third episode of the second season.
This episode is fast-paced, taking place over the course of 12 weeks at the end of the 106th Congress, and focusing primarily on the run-up to the midterm elections. Josh is out of the office for the entire time, but communicates over the phone with the staff. Sam persuades an old law school friend to run in his home district for the House, but when the friend is accused of racism (due to picking white juries for black suspects during his tenure as District Attorney, and membership in an all-white fraternity while he attended college), Leo pulls the plug, cutting off money and cancelling a visit by the President. Sam, powerless to offer the support that he promised, must watch as his friend's campaign is destroyed.
Toby is obsessed with finding a new way to lean on terrorist groups. Specifically, he wants groups like the KKK to have to register with the FBI. Bartlet consoles Toby by saying that the shooting has frustrated both of them because it was not merely an assassination attempt; it was a lynching attempt against Charlie. Charlie has been having a hard time coping as well, which strains his relationship with Zoey until the end of the episode.
President Bartlet becomes obsessed with an old political foe — a Republican opponent in his first race for the House — who is running for a seat on a local school board in Manchester. The President focuses more on the school board race than on the Democrats' attempt to win back the House, in part because the attempt on Charlie's life has brought his former opponent's bigotry to the forefront of his mind. The President admits to Toby that he cannot remember how he beat the foe in the long-ago election.
On the night of the election, the White House hosts a reception for talk radio hosts. Amongst them is a conservative advice show host, Dr. Jenna Jacobs (a caricature of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, played by Claire Yarlett). When the President joins the reception, Jacobs remains seated, and the President notices her. He attacks Jacobs' position on homosexuality by listing off other Scriptural taboos — touching a pig's skin, wearing clothing woven of two different threads, etc. He ends with the admonishment, "In this building, when the President stands, nobody sits." The embarrassed Jacobs hesitantly rises, and the President tells Toby that this is how he beat his old foe. Sam takes some of her appetizers.
At the end of the night, some of the staffers visit Josh at his home. The results of the election come in: Twelve incumbents all lost their elections, resulting in the Republicans maintaining control of Congress.
Apparently turning their attention to the rights of hate groups, such as the one responsible for Josh's shooting, the staffers marvel at the notion that a democracy protects the rights of those who would destroy it. They consider the notion then respond with the refrain, "God bless America."
Real-life connections 
The fictional "Dr. Jenna Jacobs" is scolded by President Bartlet, who criticizes her views on homosexuality, and points out she is not a doctor in any field related to morality, ethics, or theology. He quotes from the Bible to point out the inconsistency of condemning certain sins but not others. Show creator Aaron Sorkin admitted to modeling Bartlet's diatribe on an anonymous "Letter to Dr. Laura," which was a popular viral email at the time relating to Dr. Laura Schlessinger's daily radio show "The Dr. Laura Program".
- The West Wing Episode Guide
- Letter to Dr. Laura — Many of the president's biblical references in his comments to Dr. Jacobs are thought to have come from a letter circulated online in early May 2000.
- Johnson, Tricia (October 2000). "Farrah Heir". Entertainment Weekly.
- "Dr. Laura-Like Character Mocked". Denver Rocky Mountain News. December 17, 2000.
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