The key to getting elected in America is to raise lots of money. And you can’t do that by talking about poor people or the prospects for peace in the world.
Poor people have no powerful lobby or armies of lobbyists. With no access to the political game, they can be easily ignored. Those who advocate for peace also lack armies of lobbyists; they lack money as well compared to Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and similar giant weapons contractors. They can also be easily ignored.
When you look at Democrats and Republicans, both parties serve the privileged elites. Neither party is on the side of Aurora, a woman working two part-time jobs cleaning motel rooms while also cleaning houses on the side for affluent clients. She has no health care (she can’t afford it, and it doesn’t come with her part-time jobs) and she barely makes $30K a year despite working 70+ hours a week while trying to raise two kids.
Which political party is fighting (truly fighting, not just paying lip service) for higher pay for her? Which is fighting for single-payer health care for her that’s truly affordable? Child-care benefits? Anything at all? The answer is neither.
To America’s political establishment, Aurora doesn’t exist. She doesn’t count. She doesn’t matter.
This point was reinforced as I read an article by Chris Hedges on Father Michael Doyle. In Doyle’s words:
“There is a meanness that has raised its ugly head in the soul of America. Bobby Kennedy, even Lyndon Johnson, spoke about the poor. Now you can’t say the word poor and get elected. Let the poor suffer. They’re not important. Let the train roll over them.”
This is the crux. America, we’re told, is incredibly rich and noble and good. Yet we export wars and weapons and treat the most vulnerable among us like trash.
Speaking of wars and weapons, the Biden administration is asking for nearly $38 billion more in aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia. If approved, this will bring U.S. aid to Ukraine, mainly in the form of weapons, ammunition, and the like, to almost $100 billion in less than a year. People tell me this is because America cares about the Ukrainian people. But the U.S. government doesn’t care about Americans living on the streets: do you really think it cares about Ukrainians?
Aid to Ukraine gets approved with alacrity by Congress because most of the money goes to weapons contractors like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. To those and similar corporations, war is profitable, peace isn’t. Talk of a new cold war with Russia and China drives war-based profits higher still. Few in Congress have the temerity to suggest that peace is ultimately better for Americans (and indeed Ukrainians, Russians, and all other life on earth) than incessant wars and preparations for the same.
Imagine what $100 billion could do for the homeless in America. Imagine the shelters that could be built, the aid that could be provided, the hope that could be instilled. I’m not saying government aid is the solution to homelessness, but it sure would help.
Perhaps we need to declare war on homelessness while creating an army of well-heeled lobbyists to attack Congress with the magic bullet that always gets attention: campaign contributions. Money. At the same time, let’s eliminate the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and replace them with a Department of Peace with an equivalent budgetary authority of roughly a trillion dollars a year.
Barring that, the poor will continue to suffer and wars and weapons will continue to find a way.
Don’t tell me I voted for the very bad guy when I voted for a very good one
Let’s look at a political ballot with three candidates. (I use “guy” without a specific gender in mind.)
Candidate (R): Very Bad Guy
Candidate (D): Bad Guy
Candidate (G): Very Good Guy
I only have one vote. I choose Candidate (G).
But wait, the critics scream. (G) doesn’t have a chance. Only (D) can win against (R). You must vote for (D) or children and democracy will die!
As Mr. Spock would say, this is highly illogical.
If (R) wins the election, the voters who cast their ballots for the Very Bad Guy are responsible. Not me.
If (D) loses, i.e. failed to win enough votes, then Party (D) should have nominated a better, more attractive, candidate, instead of a Bad Guy.
If (D) does win, and remember he’s a Bad Guy, his party will feel vindicated and will likely keep nominating bad guys. Why change a winning formula?
Logically, if I want a Very Good Guy to win, I have to vote for him. And if I want to drive Party (D) to nominate better candidates, I can’t do that by giving their bad guys my vote. I have to incentivize Party (D) to change, and they won’t change if I just roll over and vote for them because Party (R) is allegedly even worse.
So, if lots of Very Bad Guys win on Tuesday, blame those who voted for them. Prod those voters who stayed home and didn’t vote (perhaps by fielding better candidates in the future). Ponder why the big “choice” was between Very Bad Guy and Bad Guy. Just don’t blame me for voting for the Very Good Guy.
Tuesday’s elections won’t be kind to the aimless Democrats
President Joe Biden is not a message guy. Nor is Nancy Pelosi. Nor is Chuck Schumer. The senior leaders of the Democratic Party lack charisma, lack communication skills, and seemingly have no compelling core principles except the usual ones for politicians (raise money, stay in power). I’ve seen plenty of political ads, heard plenty of speeches, read plenty of articles, and what I’ve gathered is that I should vote Democrat because the Republicans are dangerous to democracy and beholden to Trump. And that’s about it for a “message.”
Oh, there is one thing. Biden promised he’d attempt to codify Roe v Wade into law if the Democrats can somehow keep control of the House and Senate, which at this point is unlikely for the House and dodgy as well for the Senate. Here’s the problem with that “promise.” In 2007, Barack Obama promised to codify Roe v Wade if he won the presidency, saying it would be his top priority. After he was elected, he changed his mind and did nothing. In 2020, Joe Biden made a similar promise; he has also done nothing in the last two years. Yet now we’re supposed to believe Biden’s new “promise,” even though it’s an obvious and desperate ploy to rally pro-choice forces to vote blue no matter who on Tuesday.
That Democrats are not Republicans is enough for more than a few voters, and I get that. What’s truly shocking is that’s pretty much the Democrats’ message. And it simply isn’t persuasive enough to appeal to undecided voters. More and more voters, fed up with both parties, are “independents” or otherwise unaffiliated, and you have to give them a reason to vote for you other than “the other guy (or gal) is worse.”
Consider, for example, the Democrats and war. Democrats fully support massive budgets for the Pentagon; Democrats fully support $100 billion or more for Ukraine in its war against Russia; Democrats fully embrace the “new Cold War” and aggressive support of Taiwan. Recall that Biden suggested “Putin must go” as a goal of the Ukraine war, and that Nancy Pelosi, that skilled and deft diplomat, traveled to Taiwan to stir up anti-American sentiment in China. If you’re at all interested in slightly downsizing the Pentagon budget, of ratcheting down tensions with Russia and China, of pursuing diplomacy with words instead of weapons, of occasionally fostering the idea of “peace,” today’s Democratic Party is not for you.
As inflation continues to rise, hollowing out the working and middle classes even more, the Democrats have no solutions except higher interest rates and a bit more government aid here and there so that you can keep making (barely) your rent or mortgage payments while putting food on the table and paying for heat. Forget about a higher federal minimum wage. Forget about single-payer health care. Even student loan debt relief is very limited (it may go away completely if the courts rule Biden exceeded his executive authority).
As Democrats lecture people about saving democracy, Americans wonder where democracy went. Obviously, both political parties are beholden to big money, the owners and the donors, and ordinary people have no say, except on Tuesday when we’re each allowed to cast one vote.
I will be voting, of course. As the saying goes, my vote must have some value or the powers that be wouldn’t be spending so much money to buy it. Where possible, I’ll be voting for candidates whose values most closely align with mine. That often means I’ll be voting third party, which my critics tell me is a vote for Trump and his evil minions. Sure, keep on scolding me for wanting honest and principled candidates like Matt Hoh, who’s running for the Senate in North Carolina for the Green Party. It’s all my fault for wanting candidates who truly offer hope and change, instead of more of the same.
Blame the voters, Democrats! It’s a surefire way to victory, if “victory” means another shellacking at the midterms by the Party of Trump. Sigh.
Whatever else is true, it’s not morning again in America.
Joe Biden versus Donald Trump in 2024 is a grim “choice” indeed for most Americans. America’s duopoly gives us candidates who promise that “nothing will fundamentally change” in power relations in America, meaning your voice will never be heard in the halls of power. How do we change that? Jeffrey Moebus has a dramatic proposal worthy of careful consideration. Read on! W.J. Astore
The NOTC Way, by Jeffrey Moebus
As it stands right now, in every federal election to be held in 2022 and 2024, Americans will have five choices. They will be able to:
1. Vote for the Democrat.
2. Vote for the Republican.
3. Vote Third Party.
5. Not Vote.
What if there was a sixth choice?
What if on every ballot for every federal election there was also a designated spot for “None Of These Candidates,” or NOTC?
This presents the argument that “None Of These Candidates” should be on every ballot of every federal election, and proposes a nation-wide campaign to give the American Voters a real Alternative to ~ and an actual Antidote for ~ what America’s Ruling Political Class will give them for choices in 2022 and 2024: To make “None Of These Candidates” a mandatory choice on every ballot in every federal election held in the United States for Election2022 and Election2024.
Its ultimate purpose is to give a meaningful vote to that cohort of Totally Forgotten Voters who have been disenfranchised since the beginning of elections in America, and to offer a very quick, simple, easy, and low cost solution to that problem.
ASSUMPTIONS. It is assumed, first of all, that there will indeed be elections in those years; which, face it folks, at this point, no one can honestly, realistically, absolutely, positively guarantee. And second, that the choices presented to the American Voters will be, at most, some subtle but suitable variation of the present, as follows:
1. The corporatist, crony “democratic capitalist,” neoconservative/neoliberal, post-modern “liberalism” and “conservativism” of the Carter-Reagan-Bush I-Clinton-Cheney/Bush II-Obama-Biden breed [which includes any “anti-Trump” Republicans intent on maintaining some semblance of a non-Trumped GOP].
2. The populist, nativist, neo-mercantilist, protectionist, proto-national socialism [with its attendant racist, sexist, xenophobic, patriotist wrapped-in the-Flag-mouthing-the-Bible noise while wiping their butts with the Constitution] of Trump, Trumpatismo, the Trumpatistas, and its inevitable gaggle of Greenes, Proud Boys, and Apprentice Emperor-Wannabe Spawns.
3. The noisy but intellectually, ideologically, and politically bankrupt and bereft neo-progressive, proto-democratic socialism of the “socialistic democrats” of the Sandersista/Warrenite, “Squad,” Green New Dealer ilk, and their Spawn.
BACKGROUND. The seed for all this was planted back in the first week of November 2016, as that Presidential Campaign began to finally, mercifully grind its way to its conclusion. It suddenly became painfully obvious that if Clinton and/or Trump were the very best that our Ruling Political Class [RPC] could come up with to be America’s next President, then this Nation, this Country and Land, and, above all, this “We, the People” were in deeply serious, seriously deep trouble.
And it wasn’t just that – from the headlines, polls, blogosphere, and social media – that it was easy to conclude that Donald Trump was the patsy in a conspiracy to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. Because, at the same time, it was just as easily concluded that The Hillary was part of a plot to ensconce The Donald. Take your pick.
But what was far, far more to the point was that it grew increasingly evident that, less than a couple of days to the election, more people wanted neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States, than wanted either of them to sit in the Oval Office come January 20, 2017.
That, on the one hand, many people will vote for Clinton – because, and only because, they don’t want Trump as President – rather than because they actually do want her to be President. And that, on the other hand, many people will similarly vote for Trump – because, and only because, they don’t want Clinton as President – rather than because they actually do want him to be President.
Which raised the immediate question: So who does somebody vote For if they want neither Trump nor Clinton ~ nor any of the Third Party candidates ~ as their next President? Stated differently: How do these people vote Against all the candidates that the Ruling Political Class has deigned to gift them?
This becomes more relevant when the results of Trump v Clinton are explored:
In 2016, 38.6% of all Eligible Voters [EVs] did not vote for anybody to be President.
Of the 61.4% of EVs who did vote for President, Hillary Clinton got 48.2% of the votes, and Donald Trump took 46.1%. Which means that only 29.6% of all EVs in 2016 voted for Clinton, and but 28.3% of them voted for Trump. Which means that only 57.9% wanted Either of them in the Oval Office, and that between 70.4% and 71.7% of eligible Voters wanted Neither of them, respectively.
In other words, 7 out of 10 Americans eligible to choose the next President of the United States four and a half years ago actively voted Against both The Donald and The Hillary; or, said another, kinder, gentler way, did not actually vote For either of the two.
So the actual final tally for the 2016 Presidential race was:
One thing the Exit Pollsters missed that day was asking voters: “Did You vote for Trump [or Clinton, as the case may be] because You don’t want Clinton [Trump] to be President? Or because You actually, really, and sincerely want him [her] to be in the Oval Office? Or something else?”
That would have given a clue as to how many people in 2016 voted not For Trump, but Against Clinton; and vice versa. And perhaps explained, particularly, just exactly what happened in all those “swing States” that everybody just knew was Clinton Country, but turned out to be not quite.
Fast forward to Election2020: 66.7% of Eligible Voters [EVs] cast their vote for President: Joseph Biden received 51.3% of the popular vote, and Donald Trump received 46.9% of that vote.
Which means that only 34.2% of all eligible American voters in 2020 voted for Biden, and but 31.3% of all EVs voted for Trump.
Which means that only 65.5% wanted Either of them in the Oval Office, and that between 65.8% and 68.7% of eligible Voters wanted Neither of them, respectively.
So the final popular vote percentages for 2020 were:
Which, not merely incidentally, but very emphatically and categorically BELIES ANY CLAIM BY ANYBODY OR ANY PARTY, PERSPECTIVE, OR IDEOLOGY ~ BIDEN’S AND HIS, TRUMP’S AND HIS, OR ANYBODY ELSE’S AND THEIRS ~ HAS ANY KIND OF A “MANDATE” FROM ANYBODY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY. It also indicates that Biden’s plans and pleas for “Strength Through Unity” are going to be a very tough sell; and not just out in the hinterlands of Flyover Country.
In any event, if “Not Voting” won in a landslide in 2016, it was a bit closer in 2020: With 270 the magic number, “Not Voting” would have taken 278 Electoral College votes to Biden’s 162 and Trump’s 98.
Again, there were no Exit Pollsters asking voters: “Did You vote for Biden [or Trump, as the case may be] because You don’t want Trump [Biden] to be President? Or because You actually, really, and sincerely want him to be in the Oval Office? Or something else?”
And that would have given a clue as to how many people in 2020 voted not For Biden, but Against Trump; and vice versa. And perhaps explained, particularly, just exactly what happened in all those “swing States” that at least some folks just knew was Trump Territory, but turned out to be not quite.
#NOTC22/24: The Real Alternative and Antidote for Americans in 2022 and 2024
Another poll that has never been taken but needs to be is one that asks voters who did not vote for President, “Why didn’t You vote for President?”; with the possible answers being:
1. I didn’t vote, period. [An obvious follow-on question being “Why?”]
2. I didn’t have anybody that I could vote FOR.
3. I didn’t want to give my vote to anybody because I was equally AGAINST all the candidates, as well.
4. Other: ____________________ .
Such a poll would have provided some interesting details as to what at least some Americans believed, or thought, or thought they knew, or actually, really understood about American politics, elections, government, and governance at that time. After all, in 2016 at 38.6%, those non-Voters were a significant plurality; and in 2020, within a percentage point of the winner.
Does that fact not tell us something about the American system of choosing who its supreme political leaders shall be, and, by extension, about America’s system of government and governance? And what the American people think about it? At least when it comes to choosing a President?
People don’t vote for lots of reasons. There are those who share Emma Goldman’s sentiment that “If voting could actually, really change anything, it would be illegal.” Or they remember Papa Joe Stalin’s timeless admonition that “It’s not who votes that counts; it’s who counts the votes.” Or, they can only concur 100% with George Carlin’s “Don’t vote. It only encourages the mother-fuckers.”
THE PROBLEM. But one other reason folks don’t vote is because there is no candidate that they can, in all honesty and sincerity, actually vote For,even if it is just Against somebody or even Everybody else. So the question becomes: How can these people make that judgment and conviction known in a way that has any actual impact in the real world, which Not Voting does not and can not have? How can these people make a vote of conscience, and thus give voice to their beliefs, desires, and intents? And, more importantly, how can they get their votes to count; Papa Joe’s reminder notwithstanding?
THE SOLUTION. In Election2020 again, Voters had five Choices. They could:
1. Vote for Trump.
2. Vote for Biden.
3. Vote for a Third Party candidate.
4. Write-In their own candidate.
5. Not Vote.
What if there was a sixth Choice? What if on every ballot there was a designated spot for “None Of These Candidates,” NOTC?
This sixth Choice would have been a very real, viable, formal, and forceful alternative to Choice 5 in that it is a way to be very explicit for those who are Against every available candidate that America’s political system and its ruling elites have bequeathed unto us. Against them, and the platforms, programs, promises, platitudes, past and present performances, and social, cultural, economic, legal, and political worldviews, mindsets, operating paradigms, and the systems and structures that come along with them.
And it does that in a way that simply Not Voting simply can not do.
Option 6 would enable those who feel that way to openly express their conviction, and make it actually be counted not simply as just another non-action of another non-Voter, but as one who voted for NOTC, for “None Of These Candidates.”
Note: Voters in Nevada have had the “None Of These Candidates” option in all federal, state, and local elections since 1975; and not by writing it in, but simply by pulling a lever on a voting machine just like every other Candidate.
In 2016, “None Of These Candidates” received 28,863 Nevadan votes, while Clinton took 539,260 and Trump got 512,058, a difference of 26,202. One wonders how those numbers would have changed if “NOTC” wasn’t an option and all [or even some] those NOTCers voted for either one or the other.
In 2020, NOTC-NV took 14,079 votes to Biden’s 703,486 and Trump’s 669,890, a difference of 33,596. Apparently, Nevadans felt they had a bit more of a choice this time than last.
OBJECTIONS TO OPTION 6. There are a number of immediate and obvious objections to NOTC being an option on ballots:
1. The biggest objection will no doubt come from the Ruling Political Class itself with the denunciation of the effort to the effect that “If You don’t like our candidates and the platforms, programs, and promises they are proposing, then do like we did, get organized, find money, and come up with Your own.” Ie, start another Third ~ or is it fourth, fifth, or sixth ~ Party [see Objection 3 below].
To which the rest of us can simply respond:
“Look. We all have neither the interest in, nor the time nor inclination for all that simply because we all have much, much more important things to do besides come up with candidates and their platforms. We are all too busy trying to live our lives, pay our bills, plan for our futures, and deal as best we can with the total mess You people and Your politicians and all their non-elected bureaucrats, appointees, advisers, and other experts have made of this nation, its government, its system of governance, its economy, and civil society. We are particularly busy paying our taxes, for which we Citizens are getting an increasingly less and less of a suitable return on our ‘investment’ in our governments than ever.
“Plus, it is not our job to come up with suitable candidates and platforms. After all, that’s what we have a Ruling Political Class for, isn’t it?”
2. Another objection would be “Well ~ not that it would or could ever possibly happen ~ but what happens if ‘None Of These Candidates’ actually wins an election? Or forces a run-off? Then what?”
“Then come up with a brand new slate of candidates and run the election again, with NOTC remaining a choice. Presumably the fact that NOTC either won the election or forced a run-off would [or at least could] send a very loud and clear message to the RPC that their reign of unbridled power ~ at least when it came to this particular federal election ~ is over. At least for now.”
3. A third ~ and the weakest ~ objection could be from those who would claim that NOTC would undercut efforts by Third Parties to have a real impact in elections, and thus government and governance, by taking support and votes away from them, their candidates, and their agendas.
At this point ~ and with very, very few exceptions as far as actually, really impacting the outcome of any election over the past 120 years ~ any votes for any and all Third Party Candidates are essentially wasted, other than providing the voter with the personal satisfaction of voting her or his conscience, and of, somehow, “sending a message.” That is a principal reason that the PRC would be so quick to recommend it, as noted in Objection 1 above.
And in present day America, no Third Party built on any particular ideology and focused on any specific issues, by itself, is in a position to have any effective impact whatsoever on any election whatsoever, let alone on how the government is run after the election.
If, on the other hand, NOTC was a choice on all ballots; and if all Third Party voters would add their vote to all those Americans who reject both of the major party’s candidates by voting NOTC; and if the RPC had to then go back to the drawing board for another election with different candidates and a different set of promises: If all that happened, Third Partiers would have a much bigger say in how things are run in this country than they do now, or have ever had in the past.
THE PURPOSE RESTATED. The purpose is simply to provide an alternative and antidote in 2022 and 2024 to whatever kept one-third and more of the electorate from voting in federal elections in 2016, 2018, and 2020. It is to provide an option for those who do not have a candidate they can honestly and sincerely vote FOR, by enabling them to specifically and directly vote AGAINST all of the candidates. And it provides a way of doing that that Not Voting, or voting Third Party, can not now and will never do.
NEXT STEPS. There are two possible ways that “None Of These Candidates” can be mandated to be included on all ballots for all federal elections in 2022 and 2024:
1. The ratification by 38 States of an Amendment to the Constitution to that effect. Given that it took less than 10 months for the 21st Amendment ending Prohibition to go from being proposed by Congress to being ratified by the then-required only 34th State, this could happen very easily if a critical mass of conscientious, concerned, and committed Citizens determined to make exactly that happen in plenty of time for Election2024.
2. The mandating by State-established process and procedure [legislative action, voter referendum, etc] that NOTC be available as a choice on all ballots for all federal elections held in that State. This could happen very easily if a critical mass of conscientious, concerned, and committed Citizens determined to make exactly that happen in their State in plenty of time for Election2022; particularly in those states with US Senate elections.
3. If all else fails, organize a nation-wide, state-level, grass roots campaign to encourage voters to write-in “None Of These Candidates” on their ballot on election day. Particularly in those States with U.S. Senate elections in 2022, and then everywhere in 2024.
CONCLUSION. Given the numbers of Registered Voters who didn’t vote for anybody for President in either 2016 or 2020, a very strong argument can be made that, for a significant number of Americans, the RPC had effectively eliminated the last, ultimate, and final refuge of the American voter: the so-called “lesser of two evils.” In those elections, that option was clearly not available.
Instead, we, the Electorate, were bequeathed with a choice between two lessers, and a great deal of evil, no matter which way the elections turned out.
And so, the question remains: How could those folks who wanted none of those three as the next President have made their votes count? And count far more than any Third Party efforts? The answer is: By having “None Of These Candidates” as an official choice on the ballot.
And the way to ensure that Americans have a real Choice in 2022 and 2024 ~ and thus a real Alternative and Antidote to the reality-tv extravaganza that American politics, government, and governance has become ~ is to make #NOTC22/24 happen on a national level on every ballot in every federal election those years. Again, making it happen one State at a time; and again, with a priority on those holding U.S. Senate elections in 2022.
If this makes sense to You, seems worth exploring further, and particularly, if You have any feedback to offer on it, please contact me at email@example.com. Also please share it with anyone You think might find it of interest. Thank You for Your consideration.
Jeffrey Moebus, a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant, spent two years in Vietnam in the 1960s and two years in the pre-Operation Desert Storm Middle East in the 1980s. He lives in Sitka, Alaska on the sailboat he brought up from San Francisco Bay ten years ago this summer, and is the POC for Veterans Against War [Sitka Platoon] at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever I teach Introduction to American Government, a course for freshman, I give a lecture on the notorious Bush v. Gore 2000 presidential election and use the Florida recount story to teach a basic lesson about U.S. politics: elections are not an exact science because vote totals in any given election are always only approximations. In the period leading up to the 2000 fiasco, in typical nationwide elections upwards of a million votes were tossed as uncountable for various reasons.
The reasons for the imprecision of election tallies are several but the three that I highlight to my students are: (1) the wide variation across jurisdictions in the kind, quality and age of voting technology and in the reliable application of procedures and standards (as evidenced in 2000 in the faulty punch hole devices in South Florida that resulted in many thousands of uncounted ballots); (2) the amateur status of poll workers (an hour or two of “training” qualified me to serve at a polling station during my graduate school days); and (3) the partisanship of election officials (as notoriously exemplified in 2018 by Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s contested “oversight” of the close election that resulted in his election as Georgia governor). Since 2000, many states adopted computerized voting systems in what turned out to be the false expectation that precision in voting tallies could be achieved through digitization.
We have gotten past presidential elections only approximately right and we can expect this upcoming one to be no more than approximately right. And given the unprecedented number of requests for absentee ballots, state and county switches to mail-in balloting systems during this pandemic, slow-downs in mail delivery engineered by Trump’s postmaster general, and Trump’s unrelenting campaign to de-legitimize absentee and mail-in ballots, the likelihood is that the tally of uncounted ballots will be higher than ever this November. As a longtime absentee ballot voter, my recent experience with both the local election board and local mail delivery service does not give me confidence.
I mailed my absentee ballot request for the November 3 election in mid-August and was still waiting for a ballot in late September. I emailed the local election board and was told that they couldn’t find my paper ballot request (curiously, my wife’s request, which had been dropped off in a separate envelope with mine, was processed). I was instructed to file another request, this time electronically, which I immediately did. Notified by email that my absentee ballot was mailed October 1, I am still waiting for its arrival two weeks later. Meanwhile, I did receive an absentee ballot by mail but it was my neighbor’s and this botched delivery only increased my unease.
When I think of the many voters across the country who might encounter similar problems and have less time and energy than I have to follow up on undelivered or delayed absentee ballots, I begin to wonder if the imprecision of November’s tallies will be on such a scale as to change the outcome. And, if not change it, then leave it open to dispute, a dispute to be settled by a Supreme Court with justices who are increasingly conservative and in three cases beholden to the man who nominated them. It’s what Trump is counting on for “victory.”
M. Davout, a professor of political science, teaches in the Deep South.
Tom Tomorrow has the perfect comic to sum up America’s recent Democratic primaries for president:
How can Bernie Sanders be electable when he keeps winning elections? A paradox for sure.
Of course, the whole argument against Bernie Sanders is as dishonest as the primary process is long. Let’s imagine Bernie Sanders gains the nomination and then defeats Trump in November. Is Bernie going to become a dictator and enact all his “crazy” socialist ideas by fiat? Surely, mainstream Republicans and Democrats in Congress are just going to roll over and approve all of Bernie’s “radical socialist” agenda. Right?
If Bernie were to win, he’d obviously face strong opposition from establishment elites, who would oppose and try to block everything he’d try to do. That said, the rich and privileged obviously don’t want to bother with such battles; they’d rather just nominate a “safe” centrist, or, even better, a person from their own ranks, like Mike Bloomberg. You can count on Bloomberg acting to protect Wall Street and the 1%. He’s got billions of reasons to do so.
As Bloomberg is foisted upon us by the lapdog media, other centrist candidates continue to fight for whatever money is left to sustain their campaigns. Mayor Pete is flitting from fund raiser to fund raiser (shaking more money trees in wine caves?); Elizabeth Warren is making appeals to party unity (good luck with that); Joe Biden is straining to remain relevant (no more malarkey?); and Amy Klobuchar is seeking any traction she can find in a campaign characterized by market-tested bromides (“I know you, and I will fight for you,” a variant of Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain”).
The best way to judge the candidates is by the enemies they make, which is why I strongly support Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. Yes, Tulsi is still in the running, perhaps only until Super Tuesday on March 3rd, but her message against regime-change wars and the military-industrial complex is much needed.
Go Bernie. Go Tulsi. We need leaders who are unafraid to speak truth.