Why you should always vote

It seems strange to me that I have to defend voting against people who argue with a straight face that you shouldn’t — either because “your vote doesn’t matter” or “no one represents me”.

Trust me — your vote matters. That’s why they spend so much money trying to get it. That’s why Republicans try so hard to keep Democrats from voting.vote-button

And there are good candidates out there. Quite often they don’t make it past the primaries because people don’t vote. People don’t pay attention. They don’t get involved; they don’t read about the elections, and then when the election rolls around, they say “Hey, no one represents me” — which might not have happened had they done something about it.

I am involved in my local party. I go to meetings, I encourage candidates to run, and I’ve even run for a minor office myself (and won). I read about politics, I write about politics, and I contribute to politicians I like. And I vote. And because of this, I have a say in who these candidates are. I can affect the results.

Complaining that no one represents you in an election when you are doing absolutely nothing to change that seems like whining to me. And you know you’re going to end up with one of them, so at least vote for the lesser of the two.  Surely one represents your views better than the other one.

Democracy means we are the government. We, the people. We have a say in what our government does. The candidates answer to us, not the other way around.  They represent us.  They are not the government, we are.

If you don’t participate, then they ignore you. And then you get what you deserve.

The people who do vote (which are pretty much always Republicans) win elections, and then the stupid Democrats think “Guess we should be more like Republicans” and move to the right. Whereas if we voted in the same number as Republicans, we would win many of the elections and no one would be saying that. But because we stay at home, our candidates lose. So what do their campaign managers say then? “We need to appeal to those people who do vote, not those who sit at home and complain without doing anything.”

It’s not going to change from the top. It has to change from us at the bottom. And complaining without action changes nothing.

Republican-favored background checks found unconstitutional

Republicans greatly favor background checks.  They want to make it harder for people to exercise one of their most basic fundamental Constitutional rights.  However, the courts have once again struck down their attempts in a blow against freedom.

I mean, come on, it’s not like I’m talking about guns here where there should be no restrictions whatsoever as to who can buy one.  Voting requires extreme background checks!  gavel

Republicans decided a while ago that since they have trouble getting a majority of votes in many places, the best thing to do is cheat.  And they’re not even subtle about it, since many have been caught stating very clearly that their goals are to keep Democrats from voting.

Fortunately, the courts — even ones dominated by Republicans — have seen through the charade.  Here in Pennsylvania a few days ago, the Court refused to stay an earlier decision striking down our voting registration law, and Wisconsin and Arkansas had similar decisions in the last few days.

Judge throws out Pennsylvania’s voter fraud fraud

As we are all aware thanks to Fox News, there is massive voting fraud, with people claiming to be someone else just so they can risk going to jail to cast one more vote they shouldn’t.th061QIW1J

Here in Pennsylvania, the Republicans leapt into action to prevent this fraud.  Why, do you know that over the past ten years there has been a grand total or zero examples of this fraud?

OurTea Party governor and his cronies used these statistics to support their contention that the voter suppression laws they passed were necessary because, you know, ‘Merica.  Or something.  I didn’t quite follow the argument, although Republican leaders had admitted on the record previously that the purpose of the law was to suppress Democratic votes.

Well, it turns out that this Judge understood the law, much to the dismay of Republicans.  And now the voter registration suppression law is no more.

Oh sure, they’ll appeal, but they lost before when they went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Mostly these guys are afraid.  Pennsylvania has more Democrats than Republicans.  If it wasn’t for gerrymandering, the Democrats would have won more Congressional seats in the last election.  Our Republican governor is the least popular governor in the entire country, and he and his party are rightly worried.

So what do they decide? Change their stands?  Try to appeal to the public by adjusting their radical ideas?

“No,” they decided.  “Let’s cheat.”

Well, that will be a lot harder from now on.

Texas Don’t Want no Feminists Voting

Apparently under Texas’ new Voting Registration law, thousands of names are being removed from the voting rolls because … well, just because. Apparently they have had a total of one case of voter fraud over the past dozen years. That’s not 1%, that’s 1. Clearly, this is a major problem in a state with millions of people.

The latest news is that they are removing women who did not take their husband’s name under Texas law. Yes, you read that right — if you get married in Texas, you have to take your husband’s name. You have no choice in the matter. Your legal name will change even if you continue to call yourself by your maiden name.

And guess what? If you registered under your maiden name, you will no longer be allowed to vote because it’s not your freakin’ legal name any more. It doesn’t matter that the address is the same, the license is the same, your social security number is the same. You can’t vote.

As we can see, this fights voter fraud.

No, wait. No, it doesn’t do that in the slightest. Instead, it stops those women who refuse to take their husband’s name. You know — Democrats.

Well, duh, of COURSE it’s partisan voter suppression

I admit that while I can despise certain Republicans who want to limit voting rights, I admire those who admit it is purely for political reasons, because at least they are being honest in their evilness.th061QIW1J

The fact is that there is no voter fraud. Here in Pennsylvania, the Republican party has installed a number of new barriers to voting in order to prevent that terrible voter fraud, because, after all, in the last ten years we’ve had zero cases of voter fraud here. Similar numbers exist around the country.

Clearly, these new voter suppression laws are a solution in search of a problem.

So I tip my hat to those Republicans who tell the truth. Take Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai who admitted that voter identification efforts were designed to suppress Democratic votes. (Remember him? He told a Republican Steering Committee meeting that Voter ID “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”) While Obama did carry the state, Republicans still bragged that their efforts cut their losses and allowed them to retain control of the House seats from Pennsylvania.

The strictest voter ID laws since the 1960s have recently been passed by the neanderthals in North Carolina, all to stop that elusive “voter fraud.” So I can applaud neanderthaless Phyllis Schlafly, who recently argued that getting rid of early voting was important not to fight against fraud but because it helped Democrats.

How can you not admire her for that? We’ve been saying all along that this was for partisan political reasons, and her response was essentially, “Yeah, of course it is. So what?

Here’s what she said:

The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that “early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.”

The Obama technocrats have developed an efficient system of identifying prospective Obama voters and then nagging them (some might say harassing them) until they actually vote. It may take several days to accomplish this, so early voting is an essential component of the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign.

Translation: “We need to get rid of early voting because these early voters don’t vote the way we want.”

So please don’t buy the bullshit. There is no voter fraud. The Republicans know they can’t win if everyone votes, so their only hope is to keep us from voting.

And they admit this.

Editorial cartoon of the day

No more sheriff!

Like we didn’t see this coming.

It didn’t take long for many states to once more start up their voting suppression drives. Admittedly, some of the examples in the article above are merely politicians talking about doing it (and maybe nothing will come of it) but still, it seems to me that they’re saying “Yee haw! The sheriff is gone! Now we can do whatever we want again!”

This kind of talk really scares me. We should be doing everything in our power to get people to vote, not prevent them from voting. We’re not talking about needing an ID to cash a check, we’re talking about the most basic right we have in America, upon which all other rights are based.

All of these voter laws start with the premise “People are voting who shouldn’t.”

The proper response is, “Yeah? Prove it.”

Until I see evidence that this is indeed a problem (real evidence, not anecdotal and not just one example some election cycle where 100 million people voted), I fail to see why we need a “solution” that only discourages and prevents actual citizens from voting.

If the “we must have these laws to keep everyone honest” brigade was made up of people other than Republicans who have admitted, on the record, and in recordings, that the purpose of these laws is to keep Democrats from voting, then maybe I’d give it more credence. But to me, it just looks like Jim Crow back again, and this time with the Supreme Court’s blessing.

Top 5 reasons to get rid of the Electoral College

1. It will make every vote count. I grew up in Virginia which, at the time, was reliably Republican. My vote meant little in the Presidential race. Then I moved to Massachusetts and later New York where my Republican friends’ votes were meaningless.

That’s ridiculous. With the winner-take-all elections we have now, people who are in the minority party in their states have no real reason to come out and vote.ElectoralCollege-638x370

By having a popular vote for the President, every vote will count. Democrats in Utah and Republicans in Hawaii won’t feel their votes are wasted.

2. It will force candidates to campaign everywhere. Right now, there are states that rarely see a political campaign, where the candidate visits only to raise money and then disappears. The candidates also pay an inordinate amount of attention to whatever issues are important to those states that are in play, even if those issues would hurt the rest of the country. (Admittedly, some of that will still go on with our current primary system.)

Getting rid of the electoral college means a vote is a vote, no matter where it is. A vote in Idaho is meaningless to a Democratic candidate now, but it would be worth just as much as one in a swing state if we get rid of the electoral college.

3. It will help get people in those non-swing states involved. It should increase voter participation, and even help the local economy.

4. It will get rid of “red states” and “blue states.” This concept does nothing to help political discourse, and only divides us more.

5. It will make it clear that the President represents the people, not the states. And, more importantly, all the people, not just the ones in the states that elected him.

Right now, a President can lose the election and still win. That has happened three times in our history, most recently when Gore got more popular votes than Bush yet Bush won the electoral college. We ended up with a guy a majority of Americans voted against. How is that democracy? That’s winning by a loophole. And it could easily happen again.

(EDIT:  Be sure to read the very extensive debate on this topic in the comments!)

(EDIT #2:  Obviously, this was written before the 2016 election, so now we have two examples of a candidate winning the popular vote and losing the election within a period of 16 years.)

(EDIT #3:  If you’re really interested in this topic, I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book HOW TO ARGUE THE CONSTITUTION WITH A CONSERVATIVE.)

How the GOP can win the presidential race

To follow up on yesterday’s editorial cartoon:

The Republican party has won the popular vote only once in the last six presidential elections (when Bush won by a razor-thin margin). They have a huge uphill battle, and it’s not getting any better for them. The population is changing, and the old angry white man vote is dying.

Look at the electoral college voting patterns. You need 270 electoral votes to win. If we count every state that has voted Democratic in the last six elections, the Democrats start off with 242 votes, and the Republicans have 206. If you count only the last two, the Democrats have 332.

This is bad news for the Republicans, which leaves them with two options: (1) expand their base by appealing to younger voters, women, and minorities; or (2) cheat.

As we have seen, they have decided to go for option 2. Republicans have instituted voter purges and intimidation, creating hardships for those in Democratic-leaning districts and causing long lines to discourage voting. They’ve fought against early voting and other methods which will encourage people to exercise their rights. They’ve gerrymandered districts in ways that keep Democrats from winning.

They’ve created a propaganda machine to convince people that voter fraud is taking place (quite ironically). They’ve passed laws making it harder for people to register and vote. And they’ve challenged the Voting Rights Act in court.

Because, let’s face it, the only other solution would be to actually listen to the will of the people.