Tuesday, November 06, 2012

On voting

doug mills photo

That's Doug Mills' soon to be iconic photo of Barack in Iowa last night.  (I'm assuming Doug Mills took the photo.  He's certainly the one popularizing it.)

In yesterday's snapshot we talked about the election today in terms of voting.  Some have wrongly assumed, "You endorsed Barack!"  I did no such thing.  I note in the snapshot -- as I have for months -- that I wouldn't be voting for president.  (Prior to Jill Stein's last six weeks, it usually read:  I don't plan on voting but if I did it would most likely be for Jill Stein.)  I'm not endorsing him or anyone.

If you want to vote for someone, you should, that's your business.  If you don't, that's your business as well.  You can share your decision or be silent about it.

My concern yesterday was about voters.

I don't like anyone trying to trick voters.  Yesterday's news cycle -- news -- was that Barack will win election day.  Not one vote had been counted but that's what the news outlets were saying.

That's not only wrong (no one knows a winner until ballots are counted), it decreases voter turnout.

If Barack supporters are okay with that, fine.  But don't say I didn't play fair and didn't raise alarms.

If you want to vote for someone, you should.  You shouldn't be tricked or lied to.

While still in high school (yes, dinosaurs were roaming the earth back then) but not yet able to vote, I did my first political thing.  Supporters of the Democratic presidential nominee had to debate supporters of the Republican nominee at various nursing homes in an effort by local parties to engage the elderly.  It was three on each side.  My night was a rainy night and maybe that's why no one else showed up on the Democratic side.  So it was me against three supporters of the Republican candidate (all were men).  I looked like a drowned rat due to the rain (actually, as a photo that ran in the paper made clear, few probably noted my hair, the rain made my blouse semi-see through) but I couldn't vote (wasn't old enough) but I was trying to do my part.  And I won the debate (possibly due to the semi-see through blouse).  And there was talk about how the seniors would be voting for the Democrat.  Then, as we were leaving, a woman (head nurse?) with the facility was walking us out and told me I did a very nice job but it didn't make any difference because she filled out the seniors' ballots and she was a Republican.

I was outraged then, the first time I ever realized how our own votes can be taken from us.

I'm bothered today by what I hope was a misreport on NPR: Ballots being "dropped off" at emergency shelters.  I have no problem with people being allowed to vote in emergency centers due to Hurricane Sandy as long as trained staff is present.  I have a real problem if the report wasn't careless and the ballots truly were just "dropped off."

We have to put our faith in poll workers, fine.  They are generally the same group of people each election and they have some training.  But I'm not comfortable with ballots "dropped off" without trained poll workers.  And I also do not believe that retirement homes should be allowed to 'absentee vote.'  I'm fine with sending out a poll worker with ballots to speak to them but since those decades ago when the woman bragged about how all of the absentee votes would be for Republicans because she filled them out, I do not support the mass delivery of any ballots without poll workers to monitor.

And all of that is to say, if you have a feeling (strong or weak) on voting for president, you should do so.  (And if your feeling is like mine -- no one earned your vote -- then skip that election and vote in other races, if you'd like.  Or don't vote at all.  Those are all valid choices.)  But if you vote, your vote should be counted.  And if you're pulling for someone, they should be competing on an even playing field.

When the press calls the election for someone while the election is ongoing, we realize that is wrong.  Mainly because those of us on the West Coast have long complained about how this leads to people (largely Democrats) deciding not to vote (the polls close on the East Coast three hours before they do on the West Coast).  What happened yesterday was that the day before the election, the press was calling it.

We don't need "Jimmy The Greek" in politics.  Campaigns are not sports.  I grasp that many men in campaigns couldn't play sports (usually out of concerns over changing in the locker room).  But that doesn't mean that they get to play later in life.  These are not games.  They have consequences.  We don't need to handicap the races, we need to discuss issues.

Yesterday's prediction?

That drives down the vote.

I don't believe there was a conspiracy to do that.  If anything, I think the press was continuing their efforts to rescue Barack.  But the impact of that nonsense is people with a ton of things to do -- with demands in the home, demands at work, demands with children, etc -- who would vote for Barack are hearing the press say, "He has won it!"  That means they can mark voting off the things to do list and focus on something else in their busy lives.

Now Republicans turn out regardless of weather, regardless of anything.  The press saying "Barack's won!" is only going to motivate them even more so.

But on the Democratic side, it is going to have impact.  It may be small or it may be large.  It may not be even felt in the presidential race -- which isn't a direct vote, the people don't decide that, the electoral colleg does.  But it may be felt in the Senate or the House or statewide.

It was not smart to do and Barack supporters should have been outraged and screaming at the top of their lungs.

If they didn't get that yesterday maybe the photo above helps them this morning?

As a general rule, sure-thing candidates don't cry at campaign rallies the night before the election.  In addition, as a general rule, sure-thing candidates don't stay home election day.


Big Sandy may effect turnout.  People in New York and New Jersey, for example, have a lot to address and deal with as a result of the hurricane.  Voting may not be top of their lists.  And, if they were a Barack supporter, they might say, "Well the news said Barack's going to win so I don't need to vote.  It's already taken care of."

As someone who's called voters on election day and asked, "Have you voted?" -- and done that over and over (me, someone who rarely answers a phone in her own home), I know the "No, and I don't have time" response.  I cannot believe that the press was stupid enough to call the election yesterday.

If Mitt Romney wins (I don't have any idea who will win in what is expected to be a tight race), Barack supporters better realize the gripe isn't mysterious voter machines, the gripe is the press told people the race was sewn up.

I have no idea who wins and I'm really not vested in it one way or another.  No one wanted to tell the truth about Iraq.  Jill Stein couldn't even speak of it. I've tried to bite my tongue there.  After the election, I will have more to say.  If you're a Jill supporter, you should vote for her by all means -- as you should vote for Virgil Goode, Gary Johnson, Jerry White, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Rocky Anderson or anyone else you're supporting.  (I don't list Roseanne for obvious reasons.)

The White House is negotiating to send more US troops into Iraq.  Tim Arango, New York Times, reported it September 26th.  And where was that in the campaign?  Candy Crowely was apparently too busy grazing in the back forty to register that fact.

Other than Martha Raddatz (who moderated the debate between Joe and Paul Ryan), I didn't feel any of the moderators had a strong grasp of -- or interest in -- foreign policy.

'But the independent and third party candidates were shut out of the debates!'  I watched their debates.  I saw what Larry King did with them and what Amy Goodman did with them.  I listened to Jill's long discussion on The Takeaway.

I have no idea why so many damn cowards ran.  Mitt Romney's not a coward on this issue.  His campaign didn't bring it up because they'd already staked out ground ("Barack was wrong to pull all troops out!") and they painted themselves into a corner.  (Many Republicans in the Senate were furious with Romney over that move.)

But the rest?  Is there a reason I'm-against-the-war Jill Stein couldn't tell voters that Barack was planning to send US troops back into Iraq?

Is there a valid reason?

As I said, no one earned my vote.  I heard sop and empty rhetoric from the duopoly candidates and from the so-called independents and third party candidates.

Jerry White?  WSWS publishes a ton of articles every day.  Find me the one they did about the negotiations with Iraq?  They didn't do one.  Not only did their candidate not speak about it but their publication didn't cover it.

The lies that drove us to war disgusted me.  Now you get Tim Arango -- at the New York Times of all places -- sending up a flare and no one wants to explore it, no one wants to acknowledge it.

So I'm not voting in that race.  I am voting for everything below it.  If you have a desire to vote for anyone running, you should.  If your decision is not to vote at all on anything, that's your call as well.  Your vote is your vote.  No one else owns it.  Don't let anyone bully you and certainly don't let anyone -- especially the media --  trick you.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

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