Phil's Rambling Rants
Obama sinks or swims on new voters|
Something that I've been aware of for as long as I've been aware of the political process (and that's probably been going on a lot longer) is that an embarrassingly small fraction of Americans vote. And, it seems to me that while the people who vote are relatively evenly split between Democrat and Repubican, the people who don't vote -- demographically, the young, the poor, blacks, and Hispanics -- would, if they did vote, favor Democrats.
From the first time I started seeing Obama as a serious candidate in this election, it was obvious to me that he could not win if the same old people voted. But it was also clear that he was better at attracting people who hadn't voted before to the political process -- better than any candidate in my experience. In fact, that's why he's gotten as far as he has.
The way things are looking today, Obama is on his way to a narrow but definite defeat among the people who would have been expected to vote two years ago. He won the primary based on bringing new people into the political process, but even those new people aren't enough to carry the election. But if he can do what he did best in the primaries again on a general election scale, he can win, and win big.
The outcome of this election hangs entirely on how well Obama does in reaching the apathetic majority.
to learn more about volunteer opportunities. Help register those new voters we need. While I'd never take it for granted, Illinois is a pretty darned Blue State, so maybe take a trip to a swing state for a day. If travel to a swing state isn't an option, consider working an outreach event near the university -- advising out-of state students from swing states of the importance of strategically voting absentee, rather than at school, so that their vote has more electoral impact.
Re: How you can help
BTW, I was not giving an order; my response was titled "how you can help", but the orange text on orange background is invisible.
|Date:||August 31st, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)|| |
Re: How you can help
I do not grok LJ styles, and I don't want to spend a bunch of time learning them. I picked the style I'm using a long time ago, because it had a tiger color scheme. A long time later, not long ago, I started noticing that orange-on-orange problem with the headers on comments. I don't know if it always did that and it took me years to notice, or if something changed.
|Date:||August 31st, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)|| |
Re: How you can help
if you append "?style=mine" (without the quotes) you get to see everyone's comment pages in your own style, which is a definite advantage when people use colour schemes that make your eyes burn.
woops, forgot -- if you want to make this permanent, for all journals you read (FAQ #175):
Enable the View comment pages in your journal style option on your Viewing Options page. This option automatically adds ?style=mine to the URLs of comment pages on your Friends page, so you always see your style on other users' comment pages.
Edited at 2008-08-31 01:07 am (UTC)
I don't know if they're apathetic as much as they haven't been given a good reason to invest their time. And in some states, why bother when your vote can be stolen?
One thing I hear from a lot of non-voters is that the process of researching a candidate is time-consuming, and they'd rather not bother. I'm perplexed by this--I think I spend more time putting on mascara than researching a candidate, and that hasn't put me off mascara.
I never know what to tell them. Actually: her. I hear this far more from women, particularly single women than men. I don't want to tell them to blindly mark a ballot, but I think that's a better idea than staying home. (At least a blind mark would be a vote for my side half the time.)
|Date:||August 30th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)|| |
But putting on mascara has some immediate return to you. You put it on, you look in the mirror, you feel "pretty" or "prepared". You go into a box, you mark a square and when you come out...you feel accomplished. You go home and find that nothing at all changed even if your vote along with everyone else's sends a solid signal that we all want change...nothing happens. Quite disheartening for an entire people who may well be in jobs where taking the time off to go and vote isnt really a "right" that can be enforced.
|Date:||August 31st, 2008 03:18 am (UTC)|| |
This is why grassroots groups like moveon.org are conducting voter registration drives and education: to get more of the so-called apathetic majority to vote.
|Date:||September 1st, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)|| |
I believe that there are people rigging our elections, but they can only rig them so far. Undeniably in 2000 in Florida, and possibly in Ohio in 2004, they changed the outcome of the Presidential race. But their manipulation only changed the vote totals by a very small fraction; it mattered because the vote was close.
The lesson I take from it is not that we should give up because it's rigged; it's that we have to be sure that we not only win, but win by enough to overwhelm their rigging ability.
The way the corporate media have been corrupted into a propaganda machine is a much more powerful force in influencing elections and more of a source of despair to me. Obama wouldn't need the new voters I'm talking about to win overwhelmingly if the mainstream media were covering the fact that McCain is a hypocrite who'll say whatever it takes to fool the people.
|Date:||August 31st, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)|| |
Actually, the Hispanics tend to prefer Republicans because of the abortion issue. Most Hispanics are Catholics and are thus against gay marriage and the "right to choose."
|Date:||September 1st, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)|| |
Among Hispanics who do vote, the only subgroup that isn't strongly Democratic is Cuban. Perhaps the ones who don't vote are significantly more Catholic than the ones who do, but it seems unlikely to me. Further, I assume that eligible but non-voting Hispanics are much younger than voting ones, and that younger Hispanic voters are less likely to vote Republican because their religious leaders tell them to than older ones. I have no statistics to back those assumptions for Hispanics, but they're true of the general population.
|Date:||September 1st, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)|| |