FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Halloween Election

Life in the swing states must have been mad last weekend, with canvassers tripping over trick-or-treaters and Halloween pranksters doing their best to mess with the pollsters’ heads. Is that man just *dressed* as a zombie, or is he ringing doorbells for Bush? Do those kids want me to give them candy tonight, or to authorize Kerry’s federal candy plan? And are those guys decked out as Frankenstein and Chucky, each trailed by an Invisible Man? Or are they the candidates?

The evening was less chaotic here in Baltimore, where Kerry will surely carry our state. The presidential election is an empty formality in Maryland, like the “trick or” that precedes the “treat.” Still, I plan to go to the polls today, and there I will vote for the incumbent.

No, not George Bush. I would never vote for Bush. I’m voting for Ed Reisinger, my pugilistic councilman, who owns a bar a few blocks from my home. I can’t say I agree with all the man’s politics, and there’s talk of some funny business involving him and a council “expense account”; but he’s good at constituent services, which is not a small point when you’re dealing with Baltimore’s unresponsive bureaucracy. He’s going to win no matter what I do–in this city, the Democrat always wins–but I’m going to the polls anyway, to vote against a bunch of bond issues and charter amendments, so I might as well give him my ballot as well.

I mention this to show that I am actually capable of making compromises, weighing trade-offs, and not letting the perfect be the enemy of the acceptable–all the accusations I hear when America picks a president and I refuse to back either the Democrat or the Republican. Now, if this were a council primary and my choice could conceivably make a difference, I might hold my nose and vote for the lesser evil. But it’s a national election, not a neighborhood election. The chances of one single ballot affecting the outcome are microscopic, especially for those of us who live in solidly red or blue states. I might cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate or write in something absurd, on the theory that if I’m going to make a futile gesture, it might as well be for something I believe in. But why on earth should I add my voice to the Bush or Kerry choruses? I’m simply not egocentric enough to believe that my vote is going to affect the outcome. And since I strongly disagree with both candidates’ platforms anyway, I’m not going to turn out for them just out of civic duty. I don’t owe my support to anybody.

Tomorrow, barring another recount mess, we will have a president-elect. I can’t tell you his name, but I can tell you a few things about him. He wanted George Bush to have the authority to launch a war in Iraq, and he probably would have invaded whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction there. He thinks the Federal Election Commission should strictly regulate political speech, and he thinks the Federal Communications Commission should strictly regulate non-political speech. He supported the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, and he will not be parsimonious with the public purse. He’s a child of privilege who acquired great wealth without earning it in the marketplace. And I didn’t vote for him.

JESSE WALKER is an editor at Reason magazine, where this column originally appeared.

 

More articles by:

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail