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Saturday, 15 March 2014 11:25

William Rivers Pitt | The Answer Is Turnout: Vote, You Jackass

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WILLIAM RIVERS PITT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaaVote(Photo: Tom Arthur)My mother is an official for a town nearby, and this past week was a voting week on what are called "Warrant Articles," which is New Hampshire-ese for ballot initiatives and budget proposals. The town she works for has a small but very vocal and very active contingent of Free Staters who believe in conspiracy theories like the UN is seeking to take over the town by way of Agenda 21. They show up at every town meeting, and always always always always vote.

...and they win, more often than not, because the people with their heads screwed on right don't bother to summon the energy to raise their hand once a year. The Agenda 21 people are a small segment of the populace, but they always show up.

Bill Clinton, in his first inauguration speech, said, "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America." One of the things that is right with America is your right to vote, and when I hear people say voting does not matter, does not make a difference, it makes me want to tear my teeth out.

Math: the coocoobirds who think dinosaurs don't exist because they aren't mentioned in the Bible comprise, give or take, about 12% of the voting population in America. They are a small minority within a minority party. When only 50% of the voting population shows up to vote in a presidential election year, that 12% doubles to 25%, because those 12%-ers go to the polls even if it is raining live jaguars outside...which means any right-wing candidate who says the right things about Jesus, fetuses and guns is halfway to the 50.1% needed for victory before they put their pants on come election day. To call that an enormous advantage is to devalue the definition of "enormous."

...and in midterm elections - the ones that decide the entire House and a third of the Senate - turnout tends to sit somewhere around 35%, which means that 12% dead-bang guaranteed turnout actually flexes to about 40%. Which explains the current House of Representatives pretty succinctly.

So don't don't don't don't just don't you dare tell me that voting doesn't matter. That is a heaping crock of lazy crap. In point of fact, the decline this nation has endured over the last fifty years, the empowerment of the moneyed few over the many, and the rise in power of Taliban Christianity, exactly and precisely matches the dwindling turnout numbers on election day...which, by the bye, has a direct relationship to the "lesser of two evils" candidates you holier-than-thous refuse to turn out for. If you don't like your choices, it's because you didn't make a choice in the last election, and the one before, and the one before. Nature, and politics, abhor a vacuum. If you don't like what has filled it, non-voter, find a mirror and stare into the eyes of the reason why.

If you don't vote, you are responsible for this. If you vote, you can fix this. I have a fever-dream involving 80-90% turnout across the board in two consecutive elections, midterm and then general. Such a one-two punch event would change the country overnight, and these candidates you can't stomach would scurry back to the dark corners they came from. That kind of turnout would obliterate the power of money in politics in one fell swoop.

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be solved by what is right with America. Voting, every time, is what is right with America, is an incredibly simple solution involving minimal effort expended one Tuesday every two years, and would change everything if enough people did it.

Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation is more often than not the correct one.

What say we give it a try, yes?