I vote absentee as I’m an election judge next Tuesday.
This morning I was looking at my absentee ballot for November 2. There are 109 candidates for 42 positions. It is a daunting, impossible task to know everything about everyone. A group of us are collaborating to find out who might know something about some of the more obscure races in our area, like for city council. One can’t research everything. But being as well-informed as possible IS everything. Few take the time to be informed, and it is a danger to our democracy.
There are candidate names that “play” better than others: they are short, have warmth to them, like the name of somebody’s nice little boy or little girl. In our area, if they have a Scandinavian-sounding name, they have a head start on candidates with suspicious names, like obviously foreign names that are hard to pronounce. One prominent politician, with a Norwegian maiden name, was married to somebody who had a Middle Eastern-sounding name. When she ran for office, she dropped the Middle East married name like a hot potato. It didn’t change her, but for the lazy voter the name was important.
She’s running again, as a Norwegian.
When I send in my ballot, probably today, I’ll have a pretty good notion of who I voted for – and what they stand for.
I hope I’m typical.
The people that have the greatest and most selfish interest in the outcome next Tuesday will be looking for power and control.
These power brokers – prime players in this and all major elections – are only interested in the top of the ticket people: President, Governor, Congress and Senate, State Legislature. Get the proper people in place – I’ll vote for four candidates in those races – and you can effectively control the national and state policy agenda.
I happen to have an incumbent Congresswoman who could care less about her own district, but will be hard to beat – she is extremely well-funded and a darling of the national radical right wing. She is fervently anti-anything Obama. Some people like that. Some people will vote for her because she’s cute, or mouthy…some people like that, too.
Going by the ads, our three candidates for Governor are really a half-dozen people: you wouldn’t recognize the person as he is viewed by the oppositions ads. Political ads these days are more intended to disrupt and confuse than to enlighten. Everybody hates them, but they work, and “pigs will fly” before the industry that is political campaign advertising is called to heel. There’s a lot of money to be made by the media in advertising.
What is at issue in this election is very simple, and well worth noting by anybody who casts a vote based on simple emotion, or chooses to vote “holding their nose,” or not to vote at all.
In my opinion, the only positions that matter in next Tuesday’s election are the people who will end up as the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States. And the Governors. Control these offices and you can control the agenda. (Yes, the Presidency is crucial too, but that is not in play this year.) The bewildered freshmen and women who win office will be manipulated and controlled by hand-picked staff advisers in DC. They will learn rapidly that their only value was to have been elected to serve the interests of those more powerful than they.
There has never been as clear a distinction between the Democrat and Republican “sides” of the aisle as there is in this year’s election.
We choose one of two directions next Tuesday: to go back to the olden days of the early 2000s; or we choose to slog ahead, making necessary changes so that we can survive, and more importantly that our children and grandchildren can survive. I choose working towards positive change, rather than a repeat of the disastrous years of 2001-2009.
Vote, and vote informed, next Tuesday.