03 November 2014

Vote tomorrow

There's probably never been an election for which the saying "every vote counts" was so true.  In theory, the Republicans should have an unbeatable advantage -- every factor favors them.  It's a midterm, which usually means low turnout, which helps them.  The midterm of a President's sixth year in office historically tends to go against his party.  And most of the Senate seats up for election are held by Democrats, many of them in red states.  Our position should be hopeless.

But in fact, the polling has been all over the place, and several critical races are within a percentage point or two -- exactly the situation where a determined GOTV effort could tip the balance.  Two of the most unspeakable Governors in the country, Sam Brownback and Scott Walker, are struggling.  Our Senate candidates have a chance -- not a really good one, but still a chance -- in some surprising places like Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Alaska, and even Kansas (where independent Orman would at least be an improvement over incumbent Republican Roberts).  If the Republicans have a fight on their hands in those states, in a year when the fundamentals say they should be steamrolling us everywhere, then this is a battle worth waging.  What if your vote helped take down McConnell or Brownback, or helped keep some crazed extremist like Joni Ernst from a Senate seat?

That's not to say voting is any less important in "our" states.  The Senate race in New Hampshire, for example, is closer than it should be.  There, too, turnout will be decisive.

I live in Oregon, whose Senator Jeff Merkley is as safe as any Democrat can be this year, but I still voted (we have vote-by-mail here, in advance of election day).  The margin of victory matters psychologically, and we have ballot initiatives on legal marijuana and GMO food labeling whose fate is less certain.

Remember -- if voting didn't matter or had no impact, as some people claim, the Republicans wouldn't be putting so much effort into discouraging people from doing it.

If you're still in need of motivation, please acquaint yourself with one of my favorite political blogs, PCTC (it stands for "Please Cut the Crap"), which makes a point of addressing the attitudes which sometimes lead liberals to neglect voting or to waste their votes on a third candidate.  Recent posts explain why midterms are not less important, the dangerous nihilism of the Republicans, the vast differences between the parties, and why pragmatism is better than ideological purity.  PCTC is a refreshing blast of common sense against the self-destructive muddled thinking to which some on our side fall prey.

Those who claim to see no real difference between the parties must be able to look at the Bush years and believe things would have been basically the same with Gore as President; must believe a Republican would have appointed Supreme Court justices like Sotomayor and Kagan instead of more Scalias; must believe the Republicans who fought like mad dogs against the ACA would have passed something as good or better.  I simply can't fathom that depth of stupidity.

Finally, even if tomorrow brings disaster as some pundits expect, you'll know you at least did what you could.  Those who can't be bothered to do something as basic as voting can never say that.  They chose the role of passive victims, and facilitated the victimization of others.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Excellent essay--and great for you to mention Milt Shook's PCTC site, which has done a fantastic job in really getting to the heart of the issues this coming election.

And yes, there really is a vast difference--say a few hundred light years--between the two parties.

I will vote because as a person of color, and as a naturalized citizen, I'm well aware of the heavy price that was paid by people to guarantee my right right to vote. Now that right is under attack by the Roberts Supreme Court and by GOP-led legislatures in certain states. What is so frustrating is seeing many on the Left ignore this very important issue in favor of turning attention to the NSA, Edward Snowden, and complaining for the umpteenth time how President Obama has disappointed them. Oh, and that's why they're not going to vote. To send a "message".

Of course they can do that--you think anyone is going to take away Michael Moore's right to vote?

03 November, 2014 07:43  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Marc: Thank you -- and thanks for the reminder that making the perfect the enemy of the good, letting the bad guys win because the good guys aren't quite good enough, is a self-indulgent luxury that some people don't have.

The Republicans' efforts at vote suppression target people of color the most -- likely they know well that those voters are the least likely to indulge in this silly "why bother, both parties are the same" posturing and are therefore a real threat to their power.

And you'd think by now that this form of "sending a message" doesn't work. Does anyone know or care what "message" Nader's voters in 2000 were trying to send? No, we remember what matters -- that those people helped stick us with Bush for eight years.

04 November, 2014 03:31  

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