Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grow the Hell Up

I've been seeing a lot of people on Facebook indignantly posting -- and heard them saying -- that if Bernie doesn't get the nomination, they will just sit out the election.

What a bunch of morons.

Never mind that there are a hell of a lot more races on the ballot, and every one of them will have the potential to impact their lives in far more dramatic ways than a President can. I've said it before, and I will say it again...the farther down the ballot someone's name appears, the more direct the impact that person is capable of having on your life. A sheriff with a grudge has the means and the power to fuck up your world in ways a President can't.

I especially find this kind of sentiment troubling in Missouri, where we will be selecting a new Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. Currently, Democrats hold those positions and have been able to keep the wingnuts in the legislature -- where republicans have supermajorities -- from ruining our lives thoroughly.

The fact of the matter is, we live in a political duopoly, and if you withhold your vote from one party you are, in essence, affirmatively casting your vote for the other party. Not only that, but in any democracy, withholding your vote entirely allows everyone to write you and your interests off. You think when you write your state or federal representatives they don't check to see whether you vote or not? Trust me. They do. If you don't cast a vote that counts, you don't count. (Nor should you.)

Here is the bottom line: your tender sensibilities aside, a President will still be elected, even if the turnout is only 1% since there is no minimum required ballot count to win any national elective office... all you need is half-plus-one of the actual vote (or, in the case of the president, half-plus-one of the electoral college.)

Throwing a tantrum like a two-year-old and withholding your vote simply means you are hurting yourself. Which wouldn't bother me if you only brought hell down on your own head, but me and mine are standing next to you.

It was true when Ben Franklin said it, and it's true now: "Politics is the art of the possible." Nobody gets everything they want, and I can read polls, including the cross-tabs and the internals -- and this was not a poll. Polls have a much smaller sample size, are conducted over a shorter window of time, and people are only contacted one time. This was an online survey and people could vote more than once, from each device they have access to, over a three month period. I know people vote for things they believe in every day for as long as they can. (I myself voted 35 times for the Royals in the All-Star game to unlock the badge and put it on my Facebook page.) Bernie isn't going to get the nomination, and that's the tale of the real polls. But he is providing a vital service by dragging the Overton Window back to the left, thereby forcing Hillary to move left, and that's all beyond good -- it's wonderful.

But ultimately, Bernie is like another Jewish fellow I know, love and respect, and I'm quite fond of both of them. It's their ardent fans who scare me spitless.

1 comment:

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