We have an election in California next week. I offer two gloomy premises about voting:
- My vote doesn’t matter.
- The outcome doesn’t matter.
As to premise #1, have you ever voted in an election that was decided by one vote? The odds favoring that outcome are somewhere in the lottery-winning range. The standard objection is, “what if everyone felt that way?” My answer is, I don’t control everyone, just myself.
As to premise #2, I should say the outcome matters very little. For many years I deluded myself that Republicans would hold back the tide of collectivism. What was I thinking? George Bush, who I would concede was a decent man, made a lot of mistakes and did a great deal of harm. Must I elaborate? The wars, the Patriot Act (an Orwellian name if there every was one), torture of “detainees,” the social security drug benefit, and worst of all, setting the stage by his failures for the current White House occupant who I take to be hell-bent for fascist dictatorship. Notwithstanding these premises, I’m going to vote as I always do. I’ll tell you why at the end. First a little about next week’s ballot.
I registered Republican in 2008 so I could vote for Ron Paul but then switched back to Libertarian. I find that in the Presidential primary, I can choose from no fewer than nine candidates on the Libertarian ticket. I thought Gary Johnson already got the nomination at the convention. What’s this vote all about?
This year California’s new “jungle primary” system takes effect. Now anyone can vote for candidates of any party in the primary (excepting Presidential choices), and the top two vote-getters, even if they are of the same party, will appear on the general election ballot. This is supposed to make races more competitive but I think it will do the opposite – move us closer to a one-party state. We’ll see how many of the general election races offer a choice of two Democrats (or in a few districts, perhaps two Republicans).
Leafing through the voter information pamphlet, I find a stew of 24 Senate candidates: six Democrats, 14 Republicans, two Peace & Freedom, and one each American Independent and Libertarian. Incumbent Dianne Feinstein will win the primary and the general election without mussing a hair of her signature coiffure, and with so many Republicans competing with one another, it’s likely a Democrat will come in second and appear on the general election ballot along with Senator F (who can be quite sensible at times, for a Democrat).
I’ll vote for the Libertarian, the perennial Gail Lightfoot. The Libertarian Party needs to draw enough votes in each election to keep its status as a qualified party, and it knows that a female name always draws a certain number of votes, and an American Indian name adds a few more.
Not much choice for Congress: the Democratic incumbent, another Democrat, and a Republican. The other Democrat is a bit of a nut case, so it might be fun voting for him. On second thought, I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my whole life, so why start now? The Republican shows a faint libertarian spark. I suppose I’ll vote for her.
Ours is the only county in California whose supervisors (county legislators) are elected by districts. Yet every county voter gets to vote in all the districts. Bizarre. I did notice that one candidate opposed building a new jail. I’ll vote for him and leave the rest blank. I don’t want to become confused or discouraged by learning any of his other positions.
There are two state propositions, a dumb one about term limits and a $1 per pack cigarette tax. Why not just send all the smokers to the gas chambers? On second thought, we need to keep them alive so we can work them as slaves.
Three county tax measures are automatic noes.
So why will I vote? I can only muster two reasons:
- With so many people voting by mail, they have consolidated the voting places. Mine is now a mile away. I like that because if the weather is good I’ll have a nice hike through the open space to get there.
- I feel some sort of emotive satisfaction in voting. We all like to believe we are having our say when voting, preposterous as that notion is. For many young people, voting for Barack Hussein in 2008 was a positive expression of hope, which one hopes has been wrung out of all but the densest of them by now. I felt that same youthful enthusiasm when casting my first-ever vote, for Barry Goldwater in 1964, so I understand. But now the satisfaction, as you can tell, is thoroughly sardonic.
Not only will I vote, but I have actually contributed to candidates: Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and Art Robinson who is running for Congress in Oregon. I offer no excuse for this behavior. I herewith publicly resolve to make no further donations this year.
It gets worse. I twice ran for office, once coming perilously close to winning. That memory is too painful so I won’t elaborate.
In November I will vote for Gary Johnson. Knowing that B.O. will carry California I needn’t worry about whether Mr. Romney might make a slightly less evil President. There will be nasty state tax increases to vote against as well.