Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

What’s a Voter to Do?


In the good ol’ USA, I’m considered a white guy.  Despite my leftist/anarcho politics and my preference for news that isn’t filtered through the capitalist media, I’m a white guy as far as polling demographics go.  I’ve got friends who fear immigrants and blacks, wear their rednecks a little too proudly, and genuinely like Lynyrd Skynyrd because of the band’s politics.  Despite this, I still tend to believe that most US residents are a bit more liberal than those particular friends.  So I can’t figure out why the hell someone like Barack Obama thinks he has to cater to their vote.  These folks, if they do vote, are never going to vote for a Democrat anyhow since they are convinced that the party is composed of Satan’s spawn.

However, like a good number of the rest of the white guys out there, when Obama starts dissing African-American fathers and catering to the Nixonian/Clintonian silent majority that is only silent because it doesn’t exist, he loses me.  Most US voters are cynical enough anyway about the entire electoral process and when Obama starts talking like ever other Democratic presidential candidate of the past twenty or so years, their desire to go vote decreases faster than George Bush’s polling figures have over the past year.  In other words, when the Democratic candidate starts trying to be the lite version of whatever type of lunatic the GOP is running, lots of folks don’t bother to vote.  After all, what the hell difference will it make?

The war in Iraq?  Well, Obama is hedging his bets by telling the media that he would have to see what the facts on the ground are.  Even worse, he has essentially stated that he would let the generals tell him what course to take if he gets elected.  Now, isn’t this exactly what George Bush is doing?  Even more fundamentally, since when did the generals take on the role as the deciding factor in whether or not the US military will occupy a country and kill its people?  I mean, come on, these generals have a vested interest in war.  That’s how they make their living for chrissake!  It’s always been my understanding that it is up to us, the American people, to decide whether or not we want to be destroying another nation with the men and women that wear the US uniform.  Given that, it’s my understanding most US residents oppose the occupation and war in Iraq (and possibly in Afghanistan, as well.)  Obama should be asking the US people not the freakin’ generals!

War on Iran?  Obama is for that as well.  Without getting into the particulars here, let me just say that I think this idea is one of the most stupid ideas to come out of Washington in my lifetime.  It’s not that I’m a fan of the Tehran government as far as that goes, but it really isn’t any of my business how the Iranians run their country.  In fact, from what I know about the place from Iranian friends and others is that Iran is not a giant monolith intent on building nuclear weapons and destroying all its perceived enemies.  In fact, this is not even the desire of much of the Iranian government if any of it.  In fact, from where I sit, this description seems to fit the government in Washington better than it does the one in Tehran.  After all, which legislature is probably going to pass legislation very soon that enables the White House to put a naval blockade in place around Iran?  You got it.  The one in Washington, DC.  The legislation is known as HR 580  and has garnered dozens of cosponsors demanding that the US carry out what is internationally recognized as an act of war against Iran.  Guess who is pushing this legislation?  That’s right, AIPAC.

Which brings me to another Obama talking point.  Why did he consider it necessary to talk before AIPAC and pledge that he would support Israel no matter what that nation’s government does?  I mean, he went and talked to AIPAC before he talked to any other group.  Why?  This is a lobby whose entire raison d’etre is to get tons of money from the US taxpayers to fund an illegal, immoral, brutal and politically questionable occupation.  Last I looked, Israel was not part of the United States although it might as well be considering the amount of aid it gets from the Feds.  Seems to me that they should either figure out how to survive without sucking off the Washington teat or demand statehood or territorial status.  Not that I’m in favor of the latter, but we might as well certify the facts..

And then there’s John Effin McCain.  What’s a voter going to do?  Ralph Nader can’t win and can probably only help Mr. Keating Five McCain win.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at:







Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at:

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future