It’s election time again, and the Get Out The Vote drives have begun. Rock The Vote is observing isolation protocols, presumably having raves on Zoom. Michelle Obama has brought the cast of The West Wing together for a reunion tour — virtually, but still. And the memes blaming non-voters for our terrible times have gone (heh!) viral, popping up on every page but mine.
See, I don’t think we really need to get out the vote, folks. I think if we do, it’s actually a bad thing. Let me tell you why.
Roll back to the turn of the year. Iowa is holding their caucuses, and it’s split evenly between Bernie and Mayor Pete. Everyone showed up, and everyone voted, and the results were obvious: Bernie lost, and it was time for him to drop out. Except of course he refused to, because he actually won by a fair margin. But the state party machinery dug in and fought, sometimes going so far as to cheat to make sure the Socialist couldn’t get a ratings bump.
It wasn’t until South Carolina (which is almost certainly voting Trump) picked Biden that anyone gave the man any credence. And why did he win? Get Out The Vote.
Don’t get me wrong: in both Iowa and New Hampshire, there were record turnouts. People drove clear across the state to get a chance to meet the candidates, and they met them all. Then they got together and talked it over, made their decisions, and went and voted.
But in South Carolina, there was none of that. Biden didn’t hold mass events; he went to a couple of places. Steyer danced onstage at a Get Out The Vote concert, and Liz Warren met Colbert for boiled peanuts at Husk. But politics in South Carolina isn’t retail; it’s wholesale, and the Machine picked Biden. The Machine went and Got Out The Vote. And that was all she wrote.
Don’t get me wrong: Biden was a popular choice. He was happy to play second fiddle to a black man for eight years, and that sells well to Democrats in the South. Sanders-style Socialism, not so much — which is why the Machine refused to back him. Socialism would lose the down-ticket, and it’s more important to the Machine to win the Senate than it is to take back the Oval.
…You’re looking at me funny; I can tell. Never heard of political machines before? Maybe you think they don’t exist today?
It’s possible I’m overthinking this for you. Lord knows you aren’t. Here’s some proof: In the age of COVID-19, when two thirds of the country is ready to embrace universal healthcare and people are even coming around to the idea of UBI, a candidate like Andrew Yang or Bernie Sanders should be a shoo-in. Instead, the Democrats chose Joe Biden, a man chained to the idea of preventing insurance companies from taking a financial hit.
And who have the Republicans chosen as their champion? For some reason I’m unable to fathom, they’ve propped up the bloviating rotting corpse of Donald Trump, the most odious man to enter American politics since George Wallace and the most despised since Richard Nixon.
And why? Because people like you chose them. Not, I might add, in the responsible way that New Hampshire did; you didn’t go out and meet the candidates. You never studied their records or their platforms. At best, you listened to the talking heads on TV and read the party political pieces online, and then, mindlessly, you voted for who you were told to vote for.
So why, in God’s name WHY, should we want to get out the vote? If this is the best the voters can come up with, I want no part of it.
Go home, America. Sleep it off. You’re clearly drunk.
Normally, this is where I’d beg for your money. But clearly you drank it up and what you really need right now is cab fare. So… yeah, keep your change. Tomorrow, when you sober up, come back and drop a dime in the can. Today, go home and sleep it off.