Beyond the Cusp

September 26, 2012

So Many Meaningless American Voters

Up front we encourage everybody who has strong, honest, compelling feelings about who they desire to win the Presidency to vote in the November United States Presidential Election. Vote in person or make the necessary arrangements to cast an absentee ballot. If you have strong feelings about a Township, City, County, State, Congressional or Ballot Issue that will be on the ballot, go vote and be heard. If nothing else, everyone who votes is heard even if it is simply as a number in a column in some registry that will be recorded for posterity, in this way your vote holds immeasurable value. But let us be rational and honest here. The vast majority of Americans voting in the Presidential race are casting votes which will have absolutely negligible if any impact on the election. If you live in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, or any number of true through and through Democrat bastions and you are voting for anybody other than the reelection of President Obama, you are wasting your time more than likely as these states are not in doubt. On the other hand, if you live in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming or any of the dyed in the wool Republican Strongholds, your voting for anybody other than challenger Mitt Romney is going to be meaningless.  By meaningless is that it will have absolutely no effect upon the final Electoral College vote. Sure, if Romney breaks 45% in Maryland or Obama breaks 45% in Wyoming, that will make news and there will be talk about how no State is truly out of the running and how candidates cannot take any State for granted, but that will be the limit of such a result. Such anomalies will be useful only to those of us writing editorial columns to use to denigrate the victory as being so very close and how the candidate could have lost or does not have such a mandate, but other than such posturing it will not make one whit of a difference.

 

None of this is of any surprise to most of us and is kind of liberating to an even smaller group. Among this small group are those who will be pounding their chests about their brave vote for some third party candidate and how they fought bravely against the two party monopoly. Humor them though I have a feeling there will be a greater number of such people this time around. It will not change the end result but it does mean there is some hope of real change coming. Some of us have felt this coming change for a while though not in sufficient strength to actually matter. Hopefully, that may be in the wind and blowing closer every day. There are two groups in our society who may be on the vanguard of such a change. One group are the true believers who may have thought the Occupy Wall Street Movement was the start of a new vision for the future. The other group is the combination of the Tea Party and the 9/12 Movement who are currently attempting to bring about change through the Republican Party and either will take over the leadership of the Republican Party or we may see the birth of a new political force named The Tea Party. But for this election, that day has yet to arrive. Despite the fact that this election will remain as a choice between the Democrat incumbent candidate and the Republican elite chosen candidate, the first election where a sea change may sweep in and surprise the establishment elite has begun as a small wave, a little swell in the middle of the ocean, but that swell, like its counterpart in nature, will possibly become a tsunami as it comes closer to fruition and crashes onto an election day shorefront in the near future. As many know, the two established parties have rigged the system so as to minimize any challenge to their preeminence and made the successful formation and election of a candidate from outside their ranks extremely difficult. There is evidence that there exists a large and growing number of Americans who have simply had all they are going to take from the corrupt two party system where a small elite cabal controls the path to election victory and power. The masses are growing restless and that can forge a new path to office and a new set of rules where for the time being the people’s will is heard and refuses to remain stifled.

 

In the near future we have the Presidential Election this November and a campaign in full swing. We will hear on the news almost nightly what one candidate or the other said today at some rally or in a press release or in response to questions from the press at a conference or when pressed at an appearance. Of course, depending on which news source you view, the slant will favor one candidate or the other. For most of us everything we hear will simply echo how we feel as most people tend to watch the news reports from people who share their views whenever possible. This trend has grown even more intense with the flood of choices between the internet and cable and satellite news sources providing both a wider range of choices and allowing a personal choice that is very tailored to one’s views. This has had two related affects upon the voting public. The first is new people often are so isolated into their particular viewpoint and do not receive any news or information which is contrary to their own viewpoint that they may actually start to believe that everybody believes as they do as they seldom if ever have cause to interact with news or people who hold differing views. This leads to the other effect which is an inability to understand or accept any results which are contrary to one’s seemingly universally held positions as such results run contrary to everything they have seen, heard or discussed with others. This is much of the reason why the American society has become so polarized and partisan. Most everyone has the ability to live in a closed world where everything with which they interact is a reflection of their beliefs and views. Some claim that this phenomenon is very debilitating as it secludes people from dealing with opposing views and leads to a more isolated existence insulating one from new or different ideas thus causing a kind of political and social tunnel vision. This is often exhibited by people expressing complete bewilderment when confronted with results from elections and such which are diametrically opposite of those which they expected. You will know you are witnessing such when you hear somebody claim, “This makes no sense because I do not know anybody who would have supported this.”

 

The most obvious side effect of this phenomenon is that the candidates for President only end up campaigning in those select States where the outcome is not yet a guaranteed known. President Obama is not going to waste his time attempting to gain a majority of the voters in Oklahoma or Wyoming as they are two of the most conservative States. Likewise, Mitt Romney is not going to spend much time in Massachusetts or Maryland as this would be a waste of his resources. What is possible is each candidate making appearances in States they already know they are going to win for two basic reasons. The first is they are guaranteed a huge turnout of wildly supportive and friendly crowds which will play well on the nightly newscasts. The second is that even though a Candidate is guaranteed to win a particular State, you do not want your supporters to think that you are taking their support for granted; you will want to spend some time, energy and resources as thanks for your support events in these places. To figure out which States are the ones where it is very possible that every single vote will be acutely important, just observe which States where both candidates spend the majority of their time, campaign appearances, advertising dollars, and have every locally known celebrity and politician hitting the stump for them and, of course, appearing with them giving laudatory speeches and introductions. The one advantage for those who do not live in what is called a swing state is that they do not have to suffer through the final ten weeks push with endless campaign commercials on their local television and radio networks. The local politicians usually only have sufficient funding for two or three weeks of such heavy hitting the airwaves while national candidates have not only their funding for commercials, there are Super PACs (Political Action Committees) running advocacy advertisements which are actually candidate ads carefully camouflaged in order to get around campaign laws and restrictions.  So, if you live in one of the swing states, you have our sympathy as you endure the last few weeks of being berated and barraged by campaign glitter, and the rest of you, enjoy the quiet and do check and see who it is that your fellow voters are going to choose so you do not get caught claiming, “Who won? How? I don’t know anybody so idiotic as to vote for them!” The rest of us will appreciate not having to explain and you very likely do not want to know why or how, just accept that they did win, even without the votes of anybody you know.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

August 2, 2012

I Just Want a Candidate I Want to Vote For

I made myself a promise a while back that never again would I waste my vote by simply voting against a candidate and would only reward those candidates I believed in and whole-heartedly supported with the preciousness of receiving my vote. When you think about it, your vote is probably one of your most precious possessions yet so many simply throw it to who the morning paper said would win or the candidate they would most like to spend a night out on the town with or some other puerile reasoning. Even utilizing your vote against a candidate by voting for the person who offends your positions and sensibilities the least is still a compromise which I have chosen not to descend to doing ever again. Now that poses a problem for me in the coming elections this fall, and it goes well beyond the Presidency. I got fortunate in that the Party favorite and incumbent for the House of Representatives was unseated by a relative unknown. Much of this I like to think was due to my actively voting for that candidate. There were three reasons I cast that particular vote, I could no longer support my previous Congressman as he had supported the Quantitative Easing as well as the initial bailout among other sins. The opposition ran on a platform of Constitutional principles which is likely my highest rated qualification for any candidate, especially my long-time favorite, Tenth Amendment, one of the principle tools which can return the United States to sane and proper leadership if only we choose to have the fortitude to rightfully apply it against all area where the Federal Government has transgressed over the decades.

The reason I decided to take such a drastic position was due in part to President George W. Bush who I supported in his first run mostly as I was voting against Vice President Gore. Unfortunately, President Bush proved to be a big government Republican liberal, some say progressive. Actually, none of these people are true liberals in the Jeffersonian definition of a liberal, so let’s call them what they are, Statists. I cannot support any more Statists unless we whittle, preferably chop, the Federal Government back down to its proper and Constitutional size, otherwise our country will forever wallow in the mire of debt and profuse invasion of all areas of our lives by an over-bloated Big Brother style State. Obviously, with my extremist position I could never vote for President Barack Obama as he is the antithesis of everything I believe politically. I happen to be virtually ecstatic with our Constitution of negative liberties, as he referred to our blessed and inspired framework document which expressed a new theory for governance, which explicitly stated that each person was responsible for themselves and would be provided with the maximum freedom to fulfill their hearts desires and to strive to attain everything they truly desired with one limitation, that such pursuits did not interfere or prevent any other from executing actions towards their similarly driven desires. Simply put, one’s freedoms and liberties end when they contact the next person’s nose. I do not wish to have a government that is required to interfere in my life even to offer assistance as often what the government might view as assistance I would perceive as a hindrance. I really do believe in having it my way, even if I also avoid fast food. Unfortunately, the other major party candidate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has a track record of also being a Statist, even if at a considerably lesser level than the incumbent. The current choice offered by the two major parties will likely send me into the vast land of presumably wasted votes where the third party candidates roam often proposing virtuous standards which will never be allowed to see the light of day. Perhaps this is the best reason for agreement with George Washington’s admonition against the existence of political parties.

Some of my friends, both those enthralled with the virtues of the Republican Party and my fellow independents, have already begun to attempt to dissuade me from my principles and curry my favor to assure that President Obama does not manage to be reelected. I have assured them that despite their overwhelming fears that my one vote will decide the election, living in a state that is very likely in the top ten, possibly five, of non-swing states where our Electoral representation is nowhere held in doubt, this does free one to be as adamant a nonconformist as the heart desires without risking any of those evil little demons known as consequences. Actually, even if I lived in the most swing of swing states, I would stick to my guns. My aim is to get everybody else to become a complete and total ideologue such that we break this vice-like grip over the election process currently held by two parties, the Democrat and the Republican. Sometimes I see the plethora of parties which dot the political landscape of those parliamentary governments in Europe and the rest of the world and wish we could adopt their party structures without also adopting their parliamentary forms of governance. Needless to point out that to do so we would need to adjust our method of elections to facilitate a two-stage format with a primary to reduce the field to three candidates, or whatever would be decreed, and a final election to choose the actual people to sit in government. It’s a dream but not very likely as it seems that the vast majority is happy with the current system which is straight forward and very much a choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum against the vast range of characters prevalent in the multi-party extravaganzas evident throughout Europe. It’s like the difference between a petting zoo and a safari through the Amazon rainforest. Viva la difference. Now to go off to the hinterlands of third party insanity where there is occasionally found a candidate, who agrees with everything I believe, like back in the year 2000 when a third party candidate actually made ballot access in the Maryland eighth district House of Representatives race with whom I had an uncanny amount of agreement with. Imagine that.

Beyond the Cusp

May 7, 2012

Hollande Wins Extremely Close French Election

Despite early predictions that Hollande would defeat Sarkozy by a comfortable margin, I had said that Sarkozy would probably win. I quickly realized I might be in trouble when later that day Marine Le Pen announced to her supporters her intent to cast a blank ballot and encouraged they do follow her lead. It was a classic case of “If I cannot have it then I refuse to play and I will take my ball and go home.” Well, that just may have been the turning point costing Sarkozy the election as the Nationalist Le Pen voters would likely have split strongly against Hollande and, by default, for Sarkozy.

The difference was much closer than anybody had predicted with 16.56 million votes for Hollande, 15.56 million votes for Sarkozy and two million casting blank ballots following the Le Pen instructions and easily changing the result in the process. All that remains now is to wait for Hollande to make all his appointments and then we will have a better idea as to whether his promises of scrapping the austerity program for a stimulus and growth program was bluster or an honest threat. Should a Hollande government actually take the route of using government spending in order to stimulate the economy then the European Union may be heading back into the deep waters of insolvency and doing so very rapidly. This election may prove very costly to far more than the European Union and the stability of the Euro, it could have ramifications well beyond Europe, especially if it leads to the crash of the Euro and each country in Europe retreating back to their native currencies. Such a necessity could also force a strain on the entire European fabric from which the European Union is cut and place the entire structure to stresses beyond its tolerance. We may have to address a world with no European Union and an immediate struggle for preeminence between France, Germany, and Britain. Europe could return to its historic and turbulent ways with each country wresting as much for itself at the expense of the rest. Will international trade suffer seriously should the trade agreements and other alliances forged by the European Union fall shattered? We may have to experience the answer to that very question.

The next election to come will be the Israeli elections which are expected to be held on September 4, 2012. This election is unlikely to produce any surprises as to the ultimate winner as Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud Party are predicted to breeze into victory garnering at least thirty seats. The real test in the Israeli election will be the contest for second, third, and fourth. Should Nationalist Parties gain sufficient seats that Likud can make a viable coalition clearing the sixty-one seats necessary, then the Israeli government will have a unified coalition free of obligations to some of the lesser parties for the first time in memory. What will be more likely is that Netanyahu and Likud Party and the other Nationalist Parties will fall short and need to include the Religious-Nationalists and likely the Religious Parties which will leave the coalition open to a wide set of demands any one of which could be utilized as a wedge to force early elections.

Then, come early November, the biggest election of the year, the American Presidency along with one-third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives. This will be a contentious election with many distractions and a likelihood of violent Occupy demonstrations at either or both Party Conventions. The coming summer promises to be anything but boring between the continued Arab uprisings which may aim for Jordan first after Syria and then the countries of the GCC including Saudi Arabia, and more if the Occupy demonstrations end up breaking into violent riots. So, I guess all that is left to do is buckle-up and get ready for a wild summer roller-coaster of excitement in the public realm to rival those summer teen-movies released to your neighborhood theaters. I am not sure if I am looking forward to a summer of lots of choices for blog articles or simply scared of a summer of lots of choices for blog articles.

Beyond the Cusp

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