The two major political parties have pulled off a masterful long con and the victims are the citizens of the nation. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe this was laid out ahead of time, only that the chips fell as they did and to the victors go the spoils.
On one hand, the parties are as different as night and day. People who make the claim that it doesn’t matter which party wins control are looking at the situation half blinded. A GOP win in the 2016 presidential race may very well spell the end of Roe V. Wade, to name just one case that the party naming the next member of the Supreme Court could decide. Glancing though the legislation passed at the state level by GOP controlled governments shows a terrifying possible future for our nation. I honestly can not even comprehend the damage the GOP could do with the presidency and a filibuster proof majority. Forget about any response to climate change. National voter id, anyone? Goodbye Affordable Care Act. See ya later, taxes on rich people and corporations. Hello, war.
So yes, I vote. Not only do I vote, but I encourage others to vote. I work on campaigns. I volunteer. I write about issues and fight to get the most progressive candidates as possible elected.
But on the other hand, those people who say it doesn’t matter which side wins? They have a point. With the influence of big money in politics, with corporations being people, with lobbyists controlling Washington, we only have as much control over our nation as they decide to give us.
And I don’t mean in a good way, like in a “Bill of Rights protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority” way. I mean in a “the government will deal with our concerns only after taking the concerns of the monied interests into consideration” way.
I am a strange type of progressive. I do not find democracy to be the obvious best form of government. The ignorance of vast amounts of the electorate just causes me to pause and think, sometimes much too much. Don’t get me wrong, I support democracy, representative democracy to be specific, for lack of a better option. (Not too many “benevolent dictators” that I would trust laying around.)
That being said, is there anyone who would contest the fact that our representative democracy is currently broken? That for a large portion of the “issues,” both parties take the exact same stance, giving the electorate zero choice? That our elected officials think nothing of lying to the voter’s face during the campaign, yet shudder at the idea of crossing special interest groups? Honestly, what were progressive’s options in 2012, after 4 years of us watching Obama break campaign promises and continue W. Bush’s tactic of gobbling up power for the Executive branch? Vote for Romney? Vote for a third party candidate with no chance of winning and in effect, vote for Romney by not voting for Obama? What kind of a system is it when I have to hold my nose to vote for a candidate that I volunteered for in both elections?
And people wonder why young people don’t show up.
This mid term in Pennsylvania was of great interest to many Pennsylvanians due to the Governor’s race. Watching “the worst Governor in America not named Brownbeck” go down in flaming defeat and earning his place in history as the only Pennsylvanian Governor to lose reelection in modern history was delicious, but for some of us, myself included, my vote was much less a vote for Wolf and more a vote against Corbett. To draw inspiration from a quote by Churchill, if Satan would have been running against Corbett, I would have at least researched his views on the issues. Other than the Governor’s race, let’s look at my other choices Tuesday.
I live in Blair County, which Corbett won 17.2k to 12.5k. My rep to the US House was up of course, but the only campaign that mattered was the primary. Bill Shuster defeated the Democratic challenger, Alanna Hartzok by over 10k votes, 19.8k to 9.7k. My state Senator, a Republican, ran unopposed. He won. The race for the state House in the 79th district was similarly one sided, as the Republican was unopposed. In the 80th district, my district, I had a choice. A choice between the Republican and an independent candidate running to her right.
Looking at Wolf’s winning margin in the Governor’s race, every single Democrat in Blair county could have decided not to vote and the results of the election would have been exactly the fucking same. Any wonder young people don’t show up?
I don’t know the answer, although I have some ideas. (The end to single member districts maybe? How about representation based on percentage of the vote instead of winner take all?) But I do know that this system is broken. The people it benefits are the very people who would have to change it.
Good luck with that.