The case for not voting

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    This article found it’s way into my inbox this morning and i thought it was important enough to discuss here..

    I have heard the case for not voting before…

    or the case for a symbolic vote to a third party candidate who had no chance of winning

    and i have seen the results of that symbolic gesture

    I understand the argument. There are days when I even feel that way although my personal answer is to go find someplace else to live. But ultimately I believe this argument to be self defeating.

    And dangerous. Especially in this election when the next president is likely to appoint at least one if not 4 new supreme court justices.

    These justices determine our law.. and as we have already seen, partisan decisions by our court can determine who sits in the White House and can open the floodgates to corporate purchase of our elected leaders.

    Recovering from poor appointments takes literally generations because although the wheels of justice grind slowly, there are already cases in the pipeline that could change American law significantly enough to erode our basic rights.

    I agree that our democratic process is broken.

    In fact, I don’t think you will find many who disagree with that. This is the anger that fuels the tea party… though their targets are in my opinion misdirected.

    If you withdraw, you let that misdirected anger form our national policy…

    Too many people see the election as the endpoint of the process instead of the beginning. If we want our government to move towards being more responsive to the people it represents, withdrawing from the democratic process is not the answer.

    Helping those who want to make a mockery of our democracy destroy it isn’t exactly the way to make the point that our democracy needs revitalizing.



    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Jo.

    So who’s making a mockery of democracy anyway? The only people who can do that are the ones who don’t take advantage of their birthright as Americans. That would include people who fail to do all of the following:

    ♪ Participate in the civic and cultural life of their community according to their abilities

    ♪ Engage in civil discourse (emphasis on “civil”)

    ♪ Vote

    And of those the three things, voting is by far the least important.

    As I’ve said before, I have more respect for a Tea Partier who goes to political rallies, votes, and gets involved in his community than I have for someone who thinks politics means hating on the Tea Party and whose only other “contribution” to democracy is to vote.

    I feel like I’ve got at least a chance to connect with the Tea Partier on a human level through our common involvement in civic life. Conversely, I don’t feel like I have any chance (or desire) to connect with the Internet hater.




    And then he said: “[BLEEP] prison! I’m a party rapper. That’s how I am.”



    from the linked article:

    What’s worse is that these leaders are bought. Corporations can now pump unlimited amounts of money into campaigns, and with the candidate who spends the most money almost always winning, elections are purchased by the elite. Surely they wouldn’t invest millions of dollars in the outcomes if they didn’t expect something in return.

    there are two ways to defeat big money in politics and elections. one way – voting and overwhelming the monied opposition with sheer numbers – can actually lead to the structural changes we need to fix the electoral system in america. but it’s a grueling process, and it may take decades or generations. there is no instant gratification, no matter how active you are in your community. however, that’s no reason to quit or give up or to avoid what i feel is your duty to vote.

    the second way is to buy your own candidate and opposition, which is essentially what the tea party is.

    now, i also understand the author’s frustration that both of the major parties are owned by big money.

    again, there are a couple of ways to counter that money: get involved in local party politics, be informed, and take the party over by voting in every election and for every office from dog catcher on up – which may mean running for office yourself.

    or you could get actively involved with existing “third” parties, like the greens or libertarians, or start a viable third, fourth, or fifth party.

    and here’s the problem with that last solution: do we want to have elections where a race among four parties, for example, could lead to the election of a candidate who only receives 26% of the popular vote?

    if we want to fix that, say with instant runoff voting, we’re looking at structural changes to the electoral system. and the only way to get those changes, at this point, is to use the existing system.

    i think that not voting is the easiest way out, and it’s tantamount to burying your head in the sand. and it’s a guarantee that your interests will not be represented, that money will continue to win elections, and that you will have zero ability to affect any meaningful changes.



    >>one way [to defeat big money is by] – voting and overwhelming the monied opposition with sheer numbers

    –I just can’t see it, because by the time the vote rolls around, Big Money has already done its damage. Even by the time of the caucuses, Big Money has pretty much determined who you get to choose from. At least on the national level.

    For the most part, voting doesn’t lead to structural changes and never will. As the old anarchist maxim goes: “If voting could really change anything, it would be illegal.”

    I’m not an anarchist, and I don’t think it’s a BAD thing that voting can’t change “the system.” In fact, I wouldn’t WANT the system to change every time we had a vote, because then the system would be lurching all over the place.


    >>the second way is to buy your own candidate and opposition, which is essentially what the tea party is

    –I think you’re misreading the Tea Party here. They’re essentially an anti-establishment movement on the right, just like Occupy was on the left. They may field candidates, but to the extent that they end up “buying” their own candidate, they will have forsaken their own first principle, which was to make the Republican Party more responsive to voters and less responsive to money.


    >>i think that not voting is the easiest way out, and it’s tantamount to burying your head in the sand. and it’s a guarantee that your interests will not be represented, that money will continue to win elections, and that you will have zero ability to affect any meaningful changes.

    If you vote and do NOTHING else then you will still have almost zero influence.

    If you don’t vote but DO get involved in your community and DO put pressure on your elected represenatives (even the ones you don’t like) you will have MORE influence than if you merely voted and didn’t do anything else.

    Voting can just as easily be used as an excuse (for doing nothing) as NOT voting can be. In the final analysis, you gotta get off your butts and really holler if you want politicians to hear you. In other words, you gotta WORK for it.

    Sorry if that’s not the answer some people wanted to hear . . .



    now, i’m not talking about voting on every nicety here. i’m talking about affecting party leadership and electing people who are members of your community whose interests align most closely with yours. so, in the larger context, you’re right, DP. i don’t want the system lurching all over the place, either. a good example was the $30 car tab initiative, which should have been tossed out.




    “the second way is to buy your own candidate and opposition, which is essentially what the tea party is.”

    isn’t that the other way around.. money buying the tea party ?



    The $30 car tab was the majority… it was the democratic process, the “vote for those aligned with your interests”… it was a great piece of grassroots dissension to an Olympia that felt safely immune from the citizens and their disdain for the car tabs process. Trouble is, you can’t live with the results of democracy..Democracy is a great thing.. when your agenda is being catered to..not so good when it is not eh? . the TEA Party you would like to believe has been “bought”… by big money. Nope.. go to a TEA Party rally. You might just be surprised. But then again… big unions buy off the democratic party. The TEA Party does not even endorse a candidate!!!! The agenda is simple… taxed enough already. Reduce the size and scope of government… have you seen or heard one TEA Party chapter endorse Romney? How many unions have endorsed Obama? The Supreme Court should probably hear 12 cases a year, max… the reason it is so busy busy busy… is it has become a referee to the political process. This administration has had far too many challenges to its extraconstitutional expansions into realms where it does not belong. You may not like the TEA Party… I suspect envy… while all the left was a dither and swooning in the WSB … it accomplished .. nothing. The TEA Party on the other hand has forced the Republican Party to return to its limited governance role. The TEA Party turned congress upside down. The TEA Party changed state and local governments in ways unimaginable 5 years ago. Yea, they must be bought… how else could so many million joined the movement? I mean, heck we all know the left is only holder of enlightenment. We put elected officials in office… Occupy left poop on the steps and trashed a lot of parks. Regardless, any legal voter should vote. Say what you will about the TEA Party… they do vote and they are winning hearts and minds,




    what’s to envy?

    a lot of angry people carrying someone else’s water?

    winning hearts and minds?

    i don’t think so.

    it takes heart and reason to win hearts and minds.



    . the TEA Party you would like to believe has been “bought”… by big money. Nope.. go to a TEA Party rally. You might just be surprised

    i didn’t say that. what i said is that the “tea party” was astroturfed. there was no “tea party” until big money decided to start filling up tour buses to protest in front of the capitol.

    now, i admit that their 15 minutes of fame allowed them to take quite a few seats in congress in an off-year election. dems were stupid and lazy for sitting that one out and allowing them to do that.

    and, uh… maybe i would go to a “tea party” rally… if there were any. besides, they’d likely turn their anger on me for being pro-labor, while ignoring the fact that their interests are perfectly aligned with david koch’s.

    it just goes to show you that when the big money abandoned them, the “tea party” kind of shrinkled up and disappeared from the national stage.



    Surprise. New voter registration rates are down since 2008.

    Sure, you can blame the masses for being apathetic – and I DO blame them. But you can blame the politicians, too, for being such duds.

    Obama got young people and minorities fired up about his first run, and they voted in record numbers. But then he turned out to be a business-as-usual candidate, rallying to the defense of Wall Street, caving in to the insurance companies and Republicans on health care, staying the course in Trashcanistan . . .


    It’s simple cause and effect. Give people something to vote for, and they’ll vote. Give them business as usual, and they’ll keep tuning you out.



    redblack… do you have a filter that just ignores the obvious? who did all the busing, who threw 30 million into a state recall? Who trotted out with the big check books in Wisconsin? That would be big union money… they cost the state tens of millions… and you boo hoo hoo when others respond in kind. Ya got a Prez who has taken Aƒ-1 on over 200 fund raising junkets in the last year… raising a billion. Big Bird? That’s the best he can do? The Tea Party is very very alive… they are delivering state governments… count the states that are now republican controlled. Count the state legislatures that are now Republican controlled. The myopia of living in a lynchpin blue county. It shows.



    i ain’t boo hooing, kootch. because now it’s patently obvious that unions are not the big, rich thugs that you all have been feigning outrage over for decades.

    unions wrote some big checks, sure, but corporate money buried them. nonetheless, labor ran a tight race and democrats gained congressional seats in wisconsin. can’t say it was all bad…

    i don’t know why i bother talking to you, though. you obviously don’t understand what unions are for.

    you all vote to take public sector unions’ power away, then you complain when they fight back and ask private sector unions to help out. like they’re just supposed to roll over and take pay and benefit cuts because a few teabaggers don’t like their tax bills.

    why don’t you go bother comcast about how much you pay them and the value of their service and leave working people alone?



    Remember redblack, it’s often the ones that complain that the other side is “boo hooing”, or whatever, that are often the most whiney themselves.

    There’s probably some Freudian term for that….




    when the political bill comes due from unions

    their stakeholders… members… benefit

    and since their goals are workplace goals.. non-union members benefit too

    when the political bill comes dues from big business

    investors benefit

    whether everyone else benefits depends on what they invest their money in.. and where

    who are you going to count on to take care of your interests ?




    whether the lack of voting comes from apathy or from making a point..

    the result is the same :(

    We pay the price for our lack of participation for decades




    i don’t know if it’s freudian, but the word that comes to mind is “cuckoldry.”




    i can understand why people feel that federal elected office and the election thereto are corruptible, and i can see the logic behind staying home.

    but please don’t.

    because the other thing about not voting is that it allows people who are interested in taking over the judiciary on the state and local levels to just waltz right into office. allowing that to happen means that it’s more likely that we see draconian state or local laws that govern abortion or same sex marriage or taxes or whatever else people feel strongly about.

    now fill out that ballot and get it in the mail. the “down ballot” races are highly important.




    not voting is not protesting, or apathy…it’s surrender…and doesn’t cut it with me…it’s excuses…voting takes what? 15 minutes if you’ve read about the issues? It’s your life…care about it !

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