Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Spite Vote

I’m probably going to vote for Obama in 2012. I only say probably, even though my interest in the Republican Party is solely as an endless source of things to laugh at. There’s no way I would vote for any of Republican in this day and age, even if you had a gun to my head.

Now, you might be thinking, “But what about a third party?” Well, I’m not saying you’re stupid… but I am thinking it. I’d like third, fourth, and fifth parties in America more than anyone, but I would also like a summer cottage on my own private island made of solid gold (both the cottage and the island are gold, or no deal). In fact, if I had three wishes, extra political parties in America wouldn’t even be one of them. It’s not even in my top one hundred.

We don’t need third parties so much as we need two parties that work. In fact, I’m willing to settle for one that works, and even that seems to be setting the bar awfully high for America. Regardless, there’s really no contest on which party is better.

People try to equate the parties as being equally bad, but they aren’t. Republicans politicians are all either retards or whores, while Democrats are all either traitors or pussies. There’s a big difference there. Only some Republicans (the whores) know any better, while Democrats all know better, they’re just either paid off or too cowardly to do the right thing.

In case you’re wondering the difference between a whore and a traitor, the whore says what they’re told to say, even though they don’t believe it, while the traitor says what they know is right, then does the opposite. Both are paid off, both know what they should have done, but the traitor breaks their promises, while the whore lies from the outset in order to get naïve fools to like them.

I actually have a bit more respect for the whores, because they at least honestly tell you upfront how they’re going to fuck you.

The problem here is money, if you break it down. When people say, “Both parties are equally corrupt/bad/whatever,” what they should be saying is, “Both parties are equally paid off.” While that isn’t even entirely true, it’s much closer to reality, and it’s true enough. Both parties are bought and paid for, both parties are beholden to wealthy interests that don’t care one bit about the good of the country.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We can take away the mechanisms by which wealthy interests fund the campaigns of politicians, and we can take away the means by which politicians benefit financially from decisions they make in Congress.

As much money as is being thrown around, elections are still not purchased (yet). They are decided based on votes. The money problem is not, “The one with the most money always wins,” it’s that no matter who wins, both have been paid off, and both will cater to their donors.

Which brings me to 2012…

I’m very confident Obama will win in 2012. I’m confident he will be facing Romney, and that Mitt will not have the kind of voter turnout needed to beat Obama. It’s not Obama’s election to lose, it’s Obama’s election, period.

A lot of liberals and Democrats (never confuse the two…) are not so sure. I understand their trepidation. They can, after all, point to certifiably unqualified Republicans who got elected and ran the country into the ground, despite facing much more qualified Democrats. Namely, I’m talking about Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Bill Maher recently donated $1 million to an Obama SuperPAC, because he said that liberals need to take this election seriously. I love Bill Maher, but this is no election to take seriously. He, of all people, should see what a joke this contest is.

There are two historically comparable elections I would point to that assure me of the outcome of this election. The first election I see as being very similar came recently, in 2004.

Here we have an incumbent president, hated by the opposition to the point of comparing him to Hitler, facing off against a non-Protestant, wealthy Massachusetts politician with no charisma, who is known for being a flip-flopper. Bush/Kerry was more or less identical to an Obama/Romney showdown, and it didn’t bode well for the salt-and-pepper haired challenger.

But those are just convenient comparisons that I find amusing. The really comparable election happened in 1948, when Truman faced off against Dewey.

Dewey was unpopular in his party. He ran a campaign that was notable for being particularly vague and platitudinous. He famously said, “You know that your future is still ahead of you.” An editorial at the time wrote:

No presidential candidate in the future will be so inept that four of his major speeches can be boiled down to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. Our future lies ahead.

The remark about rivers being full of fish seems eerily reminiscent to me of, “The trees are the right height.”

Part of why Dewey runs such a dumbed-down campaign is from his experience in past failed attempts at the presidency. He ran as the most moderate Republican in a close race for the nomination.

Dewey’s primary opposition came in the form of ultra-conservative Ohio Senator Robert Taft, whose supporters primarily came from the South and Midwest, while Dewey was strong in the Northeast (he was New York’s Governor). Taft railed against the New Deal’s social welfare programs as being too expensive and damaging to businesses, but was seen by the party establishment as unelectable in the general election.

Interestingly, while there were no televised debates, this election saw (or rather, heard) the first radio debate, between Dewey and an upstart rival who rose out of obscurity in the middle of the nomination process, Harold Stassen of Minnesota. The entire debate focused on whether or not to outlaw the Communist Party in the United States. The debate went out over Oregon airwaves, and Dewey’s decisive rhetorical victory catapulted him to a win in that state.

The Republican National Convention that year was televised, the first ever to be broadcast. Delegate voting went two rounds without deciding a nominee, and after Taft delivered a concession speech immediately before the third round of voting, Dewey was selected through verbal acclamation by the assembled delegates. Dewey chose voter favorite Earl Warren of California to compliment the ticket.

Truman, the sitting president who had taken over after FDR’s death early in his fourth term, was grossly unpopular with the public and the press. Many in the Democratic Party actually wanted Truman to step aside and let someone else run in his stead (a claim I never hear seriously leveled against Obama). Groups formed within the party with the sole goal of causing Truman to lose at the Democratic Convention, but to no avail.

A third party also began to take shape behind FDR’s former VP, Henry A. Wallace. The group called itself the Progressive Party. Though they had no true ties to Teddy Roosevelt’s Republican movement of the same name earlier in the century, some of the ideology was very similar. One of their primary campaign issues was ending the persecution of labor unions and Communist Party members in the US.

Truman himself remained unpopular in his party, particularly for his stance on civil rights. “States Rights” supporters led by Strom Thurmond (see also: Southern racists) walked out of the convention, and many claimed they would refuse to support Truman and his opposition to Jim Crow laws. They formed their own party, the States Rights’ Democratic Party, or “Dixiecrats.”

So, you have a strong Republican ticket and a sharply divided Democratic Party. In many ways, the experts were right in assuming a Dewey victory, but that isn’t what happened. Truman slowly ate away at Dewey’s double-digit lead in the polls through an effective campaign late in the election cycle.

In some ways, Truman’s presidency is comparable to Obama’s. Truman made a controversial decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan, a decision he did not take lightly, but which was popular. Obama managed to kill Osama bin Laden, which is similar, only without millions of innocent people dying.

Truman’s presidency saw economic turmoil as a result of the transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy, a housing crisis, inflation, and feelings of alienation from his political base, who felt he had betrayed labor interests. During the mid-term elections, Democrats lost their majorities in Congress. Truman tried, and failed, to enact a national health insurance policy.

In fact, in many ways, Truman overcame far more by defeating Dewey than Obama will have to overcome to defeat Romney.

“But Bret, Truman didn’t have to compete with the kind of money that rich Republicans are throwing at Romney.”

Money doesn’t win elections, though. People have this false notion that whoever has the most money wins, but that just isn’t the case. Are you going to be swayed by a commercial you see on TV or in print? Is a radio spot by Romney going to make you change your mind in any way, shape or form?

The truth of the matter is, elections are not won through advertising, they are won through passion. While most people are just voting for who they hate less, the one who people like more is the one who wins. The loser is always the one whose side was not excited about voting for them.

Sure, people are not as excited about Obama as they were in 2008, but it cannot compare to how unexcited Republicans are about Romney. I have a feeling Republicans would vote for anything with a pulse over Romney. Romney has yet to win a state with a vote of over 50%. He barely won his home state. His candidacy has been glowingly referred to by fellow Republicans as “inevitable,” and many speak of how they will “hold their nose” and vote for him (I guess Republicans vote in some sort of outhouse or something).

Romney is not the choice of Republican voters, he’s the choice of the Republican establishment. Romney will win the nomination, not because anyone likes him, but because it’s “his turn.” There has been a mad dash by voters desperate for an alternative to try to find someone else, anyone else, who can get Republicans excited. And yet, every time a non-Romney gets out in front, they start saying things that make you wonder if they know what that little red light on the camera means.

While I see a lot of calls to donate to Obama, and I suppose I don’t much care if you do (though you should know that your money is wasted), the real difference you can make is by ceaselessly calling out the Republicans on their bullshit.

Why do I say this? Quite simply because my mind was changed, and it wasn’t because of big money SuperPACs running slick ad campaigns. Well… it sort of was about that, only they weren’t Obama’s. It has been all this focus on the campaigns of Republicans themselves (and the Republican crowds cheering for atrocities) that have me voting for Obama in 2012, as much as it sickens me to say so.

There are few things more comforting to me than being able to say, “I didn’t vote for Obama,” because I knew from the outset he would be a president I couldn’t get behind. I still don’t like him, both as a politician and as a person (I would rather spend a night alone and hungry than eat dinner with him). However, at this point, I’m willing to vote for him, not because I want to see Obama re-elected, but because I want to piss off Republicans.

It’s not so much that I’m voting against Romney, either, because I am actually quite confident he would be almost indistinguishable from Obama in all matters not pertaining to Supreme Court appointments.

You can disagree if you want, but you’re wrong; Romney’s real record indicates he’s an Obama clone (well… chronologically speaking, Obama would be a Romney clone, but that’s neither here nor there). Rather, at this point, seeing Republicans throw another hissy fit for four years would be more enjoyable to me than the smug satisfaction of knowing I didn’t vote for President Do-Nothing.

I’m not voting for who I support this year, I’m not voting for the lesser of two evils (neither one is “evil,” to be honest). This year, I’m voting to spite Republican voters, because I hate Republicans so much, I’m willing to vote for a horrible president just to watch Republicans throw another tantrum.


  1. Too long didn't read

    1. ... then go back to twitter or tumblr.

    2. I have to say anon. is right. You could have just said "I'm a phony liberal and what few principles I have left I'm gonna sellout like the Democrat Party whore I am."

      Would have saved me time reading your ridiculous excuse for voting for the disgusting criminal in the White House.

    3. Like how you're a phony Anarchist who loves Ron Paul?

    4. I never said I was voting for anyone.

    5. I assumed you wouldn't. That would require doing something. I'm just saying you never shut the fuck up about Ron Paul.

  2. Replies
    1. I might as well stay home. I'm not voting for someone named "Buddy." I have standards. I might as well vote for a guy named "Newt" or "Mitt."

    2. Mitt's gonna catch a fly ball and send Obama back to the dugout.

      Now that you've injected spite into the equation, the Mormon God is gonna let Mitt win to spite you. He was gonna give it to Obama so a more right-wing Republican could win in 2016, after the country lived through Obama's coming great depression and B.O. became the next Herbert Hoover (the big downturn should arrive sometime in 2013 or so) but no, Mr. Bret Alan had to be cute and provoke the Almighty.

      Sure, the Dems will regain power in 4 years when Romney is thrown out of the White House, but now we have to live through 4 years of President Mitt, all thanks to your stupidity?

  3. We don’t need third parties so much as we need two parties that work. In fact, I’m willing to settle for one that works, and even that seems to be setting the bar awfully high for America. Regardless, there’s really no contest on which party is better.

    Actually, there are fairly good reasons to believe that any system with only two political parties will always end up at one point of any given spectrum, and probably that point will be the opinion held by the very rich. (At the present time, both parties are at the "authoritarian" end of the civil liberties spectrum, for example.)

    Leaving aside examples from history -- the U.S. isn't the only country in history with only two parties -- there is the "Ice Cream Sellers on a Beach" model.

    Suppose there is a mile-long beach with two ice-cream men on it, that people on the beach will go to the nearest ice cream man for ice cream, and that the ice cream men move (if they move) iteratively. The people on the beach are best served if the ice cream men are 1/4 and 3/4 of a mile along the beach, respectively -- this minimizes the average shortest distance to ice cream.

    But if the ice cream men want to maximize their market share, then #1 will move towards #2 at the first opportunity (because this makes him "the closest ice cream" for some extra people on the other side of the half-way mark), and then #2 will move towards #1 in order to push the line back.

    With no other influences, they will eventually meet in the middle. But if there is some other influence -- say, for example, that ice cream man #2 gets paid an independent salary to stick to the end of the beach -- then they will meet at some other point.

    With more ice cream men, there is more of an equilibrium: there is still pressure towards the center, but the ones in the middle will eventually desire to move around the ones crowding them in, and if the ones on the edges are smart they will foresee that staying at least somewhat close to the edge keeps them out of trouble.

  4. The truth of the matter is, elections are not won through advertising, they are won through passion.

    I think you're wrong here. In an ideal world, this would be true, but the world we live in is far from ideal.

    You and I would not be swayed by advertisements. If Mitt Romney says in an ad (or in a debate) that he wants to help the non-rich majority, then you and I will look at his record and say "he's lying". If he says "I will cut benefits to the poor in order to benefit the rich" we will look at his record and say "yes, that's probably true". Similarly, if Obama says "I fought as hard as possible for the best possible health insurance" we will look at his record and say "that's bull paddies" while if he says "I had Osama bin Laden assassinated instead of bringing him to trial" we will say "yes, that's true".

    But we're paying attention. Most Americans aren't. When a candidate comes up on TV and says "I am for the flag, Mom, and apple pie" most people are totally ignorant of the fact that this guy uses the flag as toilet paper, sold his Mom into slavery to buy a hat, and had his local homeowners' association ban baked goods. And if he has any significant money behind him, the news won't report on the contradictions at all -- and most people don't watch the news anyway.

    Most significantly, uninformed people will remember lies and insinuations about other candidates. Go Google "McCain's black love child", for example.

    But most importantly, there is, even now, an awful lot of racism in action in the U.S. An awful lot of people won't need much of an excuse to vote for a white man over Obama -- practically every caucasian in the south and an awful lot of them in the north think this way, although a certain number of them have enough of an overlay of civilization that they sometimes act against their reactionary tribalism.

  5. Now, you might be thinking, “But what about a third party?” Well, I’m not saying you’re stupid… but I am thinking it. I’d like third, fourth, and fifth parties in America more than anyone, but I would also like a summer cottage on my own private island made of solid gold (both the cottage and the island are gold, or no deal). In fact, if I had three wishes, extra political parties in America wouldn’t even be one of them. It’s not even in my top one hundred.

    A further comment: I view voting for a third party as being like voting "present". You aren't necessarily saying "I seriously believe this party will win" but rather "I like this party's message better than what the two major parties are pushing, and I vote", which is very different than "I couldn't be bothered to go to the polls".

    I have no doubt that the Democratic Party could recapture at least 75% of the votes taken by the Green Party (in any given election where both figure), by simply moving back from the increasingly right-wing views they have come to champion. But they won't do that as long as they believe that, with no changes, they will still get the majority of left-leaning people who will bother to vote. If you stay home, or don't vote for a candidate in the Presidential contest, then they will ignore you. If, on the other hand, you vote for someone they could probably steal all the votes from by a change in position, then they will start to think about how to do just that.


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