For those already beginning to prickle - know that I have voted in every election in which I’ve been eligible. I returned my ballot for Joe Biden on the day that I write this. I like exercising my right to vote. I just don’t view it as a very consequential action.
There is an actual chance that the 2020 election will be illegitimate. That alone should illuminate how far our already broken voting process has fallen. Yet people continue to push the idea that voting is the most sacred, important and virtuous act that any god-fearing American can do. I reject that premise.
My political consciousness flipped online around the 2000 election when George W. Bush was inaugurated president. He won based on a decision by the supreme court to stop a recount that could have seen either him or Al Gore declared the winner of the Florida. That ugly debacle and the geyser of shit it unleashed undermined my faith in the voting process.
From 2000 onward, the Democratic candidate won the popular vote in four out of five elections, but only won the presidency in two of the five. Take a minute to think about how ludicrous that is… 2004 is the only election in which a Republican won the presidency and the popular vote in the past twenty years. This sends a message, not that your vote is sacred, but that your vote doesn’t matter 40% of the time. If the glass is half-full, this is an unintentional failure of the system to properly protect the power of the vote. If the glass is half-empty (which it is) this is the product of decades of ruthless and amoral conservative strategy to win elections without winning votes.
We have a two party system in which one party disproportionately and unfairly exploits the voting process. The Republicans win at any cost. The Democrats are losers. During Obama’s first term, from 2009 to 2011, they controlled both chambers of congress and had a filibuster-proof senate supermajority. They had a chance at reform. They didn’t take it. They are comfortable being the losers in the equation, because in this equation the losers still win.
Liberals push lesser of two evils messaging. This year it was “Vote Blue No Matter Who,” a condescending soundbite that leaves constituents with absolutely no leverage. These platitudes undermine the power of the vote. Joe Biden doesn’t need to work to win your vote. You owe him your vote and he owes you nothing. The constituents are held accountable for the shortcomings and failures of politicians and their campaigns. If Trump wins, it’s your fault. It couldn’t possibly be because the DCCC gave you no reason to vote Democratic other than: BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO.
The get out of the vote push has always been a pander, but it has grown more and more hysterical. Jay-Z and Beyoncé endorse Hillary Clinton. SNL thinks Kamala is a Girl Boss. All the actors in the Marvel Universe are yelling at me to vote. Thank you, Mark Ruffalo. I don’t know where I’d be without you, Mr. Incredible Hulk. Wait, yes I do. I’d be in the exact same place. Now either fork over some cash for actual causes or leave me alone, you whiny green fuck.
Do not be fooled by the grandiose theatrics of party politics. They will openly undermine the same process that they hold so dearly and with such reverence. They will subvert the same honored institution that they use to shame you and everyone else into voting lockstep with the party. Take for instance this beautiful example of hypocrisy: neoliberal pleas, in the aftermath of the 2016, to the electors to become “faithless electors” and select Hillary Clinton, despite the popular vote in their state.
Election tampering is bad without exception! (unless…)
This topic is very sensitive for many. Countless Americans struggled and died for their own suffrage and the suffrage of others. My family is full of veterans, the typical monolith that is regarded as the defenders of American democracy. I do not want to imply that their sacrifices were all for naught. The fault lies in the institutions that fail to uphold and protect the security of our elections and our right to vote. The disillusionment felt by myself and innumerable others is not a product of our apathy. It is the result of a system that excludes us by design. It is a recognition that the electorate has been systematically disenfranchised since our country’s inception. Most importantly, it is an insult to all Americans who actually want this country to be a democracy.