Please vote – if you do not you still have made a choice

As I pondered what to write about today, the answer presented itself to me as an old post was getting more than a few looks, not only this day but throughout 2020. Based on the lyrics from a famous Rush song “Free will,” “when you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

American voters, please vote if you have not done so already. To frame it simply, one party has gone out of its way to limit voting opportunities and counting, while the other party is encouraging the vote. The president has gone out of his way to call attention to unsubstantiated mail-in voter fraud (which some in his own party have frowned on) as well as hamstringing the postal service. Why?

Why is the president of the United States not encouraging people to vote? Why has he not gone out of his way to make sure the process safe and secure? Why has he consistently denied that Russians interfered in the election in open disagreement with his intelligence people? Why do people who disagree get reassigned, removed, forced out or fired?

Coming full circle, the president does not want you to vote if you plan not to vote for him. It cannot be said any plainer than that. Rather than be presidential, this president has consistently chosen a path of misinformation to manage perception.

So, please vote. It is obvious I am asking you to vote for Biden, but know this. Getting people to not vote in 2016 was a key effective strategy for the president. So, not voting is what the president wants you to do unless you have a fervor for him.

https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/when-you-choose-not-to-decide-you-still-have-made-a-choice/

You don’t want to win the argument, you want to get your way

The title is a quote I read this week in Readers Digest, where famous people noted the best advice they ever received. It was offered by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. This quote resonated with me as it sums up the objective of politicians. “You don’t want to win the argument, you want to get your way.” And, this is one of the problems.

With it taking so much money to get elected, politicians are beholden to an oligarchy of donors whose influence is significant. They are the kinds of people who want their calls answered or returned immediately. When you shell out tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars, you want the representative to represent your interests.

Being right or winning an argument is irrelevant. These folks just want to get their way. This is a key reason non-sensical arguments continue in the public vernacular. The oligarchy wants its way. They want to perpetuate their business model at all costs, even if the model is dangerous to people or the environment. They want to be protected if the market starts to buy fewer of their product, as free market capitalism to them is only I can get help, not you.

If you think about major issues, be it doing something about climate change, paying people better, governing gun use and sales better, protecting the financial interests of consumers, making sure people have access to health care, etc., the oligarchy does not want anything standing in their way. They want their economic engine firing on all cylinders.

Being right matters little. It is even more true today, when these folks can spin-doctor and influence pseudo news sources to make folks believe that their revenue generation is more apple pie than getting all people a square deal. This is why it is critical to advocate for change in our voting and campaign laws. They do not want to change the laws, as their influence has been enhanced by recent changes. This is why it is also critical to stay informed from good sources of news and information.

We can win arguments, but it takes effort. We win by knowing, understanding, repeating and advocating the right thing. It is already an uphill climb, so we better get our mountain boots on and start. That is the only way the right way will be the winning way.

Primary Tuesday in America – Where is everybody?

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but there is primary voting going on today in parts of the country. Never mind, be as loud as you want because there is no one there. I just voted in my local primary at 1 pm EST. I was the only customer in the place and my number for the day was 75. That meant at 1 pm in the day, I was the 75th voter at that precinct. The sad part in our gerry-mandered redistricting, several candidates are running against only their fellow party members. If they win the primary, they win the seat as no one from the opposite party is running against them. I don’t know about you, but that is extremely poor form for our country.

It also means we end up with more extreme views and less collaborative people representing us. That is highly unfortunate as we have more than a few of the lunatic fringe in Congress and my state’s General Assembly. And, if you happen to be one of the more reasonable people who sees the other party’s point of view and tries to work together, the extremists in your party will threaten a “primary” against you with money backing a more severe form of the party’s views personified in a person beyond two standard deviations from the norm. Primary has now become a verb with an awful meaning in an awful context with an awful result.

Living in North Carolina which passed earlier this year a Jim Crow like Voter ID bill, which people like Colin Powell and David Brooks, both Republicans, have labeled as something that will be harmful to both minorities and the Republican party, I see today as prima facie evidence of what Powell said at a recent speech in Raleigh, North Carolina. The problem in America is not the wrong people voting, it is not enough people voting. Again, I was the 75th voter in my precinct at 1 pm in the day. And, last month, New Jersey picked a replacement senator after the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg with very few voters making their election.

But even in November elections, not many people vote, unless there is a Presidential election, in which we have a non-substantive majority voting. When you look at statistics around the globe, we average less than 50% with almost every other democratic country in the 70s, 80s and 90s in percentage of voters. Folks, we need to figure out a way to get more people voting. We need to get non-partisan people to look at voting precincts and overhaul them. We need candidates from more than one party. Most of the gerry-mandering the past few years has been at the hands of the GOP, but the Democrats have done this in the past, so they have fingerprints on past misdeeds.

We also need to have automatic run-off voting where you pick second and third candidates, so if one does not get a majority, the run-off can be automatically calculated and save money and have more people with a voice in a run-off decision. Note run-offs are typically as poorly attended as primary elections, so by doing an automatic run-off, everyone who voted the first time has a voice in the run-off election.

Finally, we need to get the money out of voting, shorten the process and make funders and candidates accountable to voters. The Supreme Court made one of its worst decisions to make a bad problem worse. The Koch Brothers should not be deciding elections for us, e.g., but the way things are set up, they and people like them, are the great puppeteers and many voters have no idea who and how powerful they are. We need more Americans with a say in this process. We need the funders to have a less say, or at the very least, have a transparent say in who they are backing. Maybe we need to follow NASCAR or professional golf and have the candidates where patches or logos of their backers. That would be the most honest thing for them to do.

So, please recite with me. The problem is not the wrong people voting. The problem is not enough people voting. Let’s fix the real problem and stop the political posturing.