One of the most frustrating reasons I hear for not voting is “Politicians are all alike so why should I bother voting? It doesn’t make any difference anyway.” Anyone who says that is terribly wrong on both points and simply enables bad people to get into and stay in office. Let’s explore.
I was swapping messages with a friend the other day who commented that we may see 50% turnout in our state this mid-term. That is a very high mid-term turnout which simultaneously illustrates a major problem: the couch elects our government officials. With the exception of presidential general elections the majority of registered voters do not vote. The people that sit home could determine the outcome of every election (including presidential). It is simple arithmetic and a sad commentary on America!
I am among the many that rail against voter suppression (and will in this article) yet the biggest factor holding down the turnout is self-suppression.
I am in the fortunate position to be my own boss with this website. I have complete discretion when it comes to content and subject. That does not mean I am free of frustration. I have often stated that the challenge is not finding what to write about but what to omit covering. That includes the area of endorsements. To date I have made 13 endorsements for this cycle; 12 in the U.S. Senate and one Governor. Since North Carolina has neither a U.S. Senate nor Governor’s race in 2018 that means I didn’t endorse a single person I voted for. There are many candidates I would have endorsed but time was simply the enemy. There are also several that I certainly voted for (or would have if I lived in their district or state) but they didn’t rise to what I consider endorsement level.
I picked seven races almost off the top of my head to illustrate the huge difference that exists between the Democratic and Republican nominees, especially in 2018. Here they are:
Democrat Linda Coleman vs. Republican George Holding in North Carolina 2
Democrat Stacey Abrams vs. Republican Brian Kemp for Georgia Governor
Democrat Andrew Gillum vs. Republican Ron DeSantis for Florida Governor
Democrat Abigail Spanberger vs. Republican David Brat in Virginia 7
Democrat Perry Gershon vs. Republican Lee Zeldin in New York 1
Democrat Nathan McMurray vs. Republican Chris Collins in New York 27
Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar vs. Republican Duncan Hunter in California 50
There is an extremely clear difference in all seven cases! Coleman is a practical progressive Democrat. Holding literally was caught dozing in the speaker’s chair on C-SPAN plus he has a radical right voting record. Abrams is a smart, well-spoken progressive. Kemp is famous (or should I say infamous) for his history of voter suppression. Gillum may be the surprise Democratic rising star of 2018. (It’s him or Beto O’Rourke at this point and Gillum has a better chance of winning in 2018.) DeSantis is just a Trump “brown nose”; the last thing we need another of. Brat is a Tea Party favorite who upset then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Republican Primary and has been a reliable radical right House vote ever since. If you are far right of Eric Cantor, you are bad for America. Zeldin is a repeat dirty trickster who is recycling his voter suppression tactics and then claiming they were just mistakes. If you keep doing the same deceptive and immoral thing it’s difficult to believe it is a mistake every time. If you believe him it is time to adjust your MAGA hat before you buy that swamp land. Collins and Hunter are proof that the Republicans are corrupt from coast to coast. They are both currently under indictment for multiple felonies (and extremely likely to be convicted) yet are still running. In fact they are both favored to win, which just proves how effective gerrymandering can be and how politically polarized much of the electorate is.
Here is one thing all seven races have in common; if there is a huge turnout of voters who have done even cursory research before they cast their votes all seven Democrats will win by comfortable margins. The problem is too many people will sit home and often because they feel there is no difference.
The no real difference thing actually was somewhat valid several decades ago. I am old enough to remember liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Those creatures no longer exist; at least not in high profile public office. In fact I have to apologize to many non-office holding Republicans who are still real Republicans, certainly more conservative than me, but still loyal, courageous, patriotic Americans. Today the Republican Party is controlled by “Teapublicans” who in many cases have morphed into “Trumpublicans”. You can easily “decode” my coined words. They have hijacked the word “conservative” to make themselves appear legitimate. They are not. They are radicals who border on anarchists led by prejudice and ignorance, not principle.
Many Republican office holders still want to be legitimate conservatives but are afraid of a Tea Party challenge in a primary and/or Trump. So they have become Trump enablers who simply go along to get along. In the process America and the world are being hurt!
The bottom lines are that especially in 2018, perhaps like no election in my lifetime, there is a difference and it is a huge one! My readers are very likely voters so I am preaching to the choir but here is my challenge to you. Use these arguments to get one person off the couch and into the voting booth. Don’t let the couch select your elected representatives.
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