FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 08, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic
Eve Ottenberg
Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide
Vijay Prashad, Du Xiaojun – Weiyan Zhu
How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic
Bill Quigley
Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana
Joyce Nelson
BlackRock Takes Command
Geoff Dutton
Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts
Richard Moser
From Strike Wave to General Strike
Gary Leupp
Could COVID-19 Kill Capitalism?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Corona, Capital and Class in Germany
Tom Crofton
Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical
Steve Kelly
Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters
Jacob Hornberger
Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon
Phil Mattera
The Rap Sheets of the Big Ventilator Producers
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?
Rick Baum
When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses
Jake Johnston
Tens of Millions Will Be Pushed into Poverty Amid COVID-Induced Recession
Kim C. Domenico
Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus
John W. Whitehead
Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties
Binoy Kampmark
University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus
Luke Ruediger
BLM Timber Sale Increases Fire Risk, Reduces Climate Resilience and Harms Recreation
John Kendall Hawkins
Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!
Nyla Ali Khan
Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity
April 07, 2020
Joel McCleary – Mark Medish
Paradigm Shift by Pandemic
Matt Smith
Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back
Kenneth Surin
What The President Said (About The Plague)
Patrick Cockburn
The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914
Marshall Auerback
The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic
Jeremy Lent
Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?
Dean Baker
The Big Hit: COVID-19 and the Economy
Nino Pagliccia
A Simple Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela: End All “Sanctions”
Colin Todhunter
Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order
Robert Fisk
Biden Says He ‘Doesn’t Have Enough Information’ on Iran to Have a Vew. How Odd, He Negotiated the Nuclear Deal
Wim Laven
GOP’s Achievement is Now on Display
Binoy Kampmark
Boastful Pay Cuts: the Coronavirus Incentive
Dave Lindorff
It’s Spring and I’ve Turned 71 in a Pandemic-Induced Recession
Steve Brown
FLASH! Trump Just Endorsed Bernie’s Medicare-For-All Health Plan
Marc Haggerty
Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t
Manuel García, Jr.
A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”
George Wuerthner
How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires
Marshall Sahlins
Election 2020
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail