The Protest Vote


Let us now turn an eye toward Brexit.

_90076860_thinkstockphotos-526561176

Brexit was, and remains, a very stupid idea. The United Kingdom continues to be subject to a great many EU regulations regarding trade with the continent (their largest trading partner), and once they step away from the EU, they won’t have any control over those regulations. It weakens the UK on a fundamental level and will make the country poorer in about every way you can think.

Many people who voted for it, though by no means all, did so as a sort of protest. They were unhappy with certain things going on in the UK, often things involving immigration and a perception of job loss and wage cuts, and they believed that the only way to send a message to Parliament that they wanted some real change. They didn’t really want to lose all the benefits of being in the EU. They didn’t want to lose the right to travel and live where they wish within Europe, they didn’t want to lose the financial benefits, they just wanted to send a message.

Message sent. Within a couple of years, the United Kingdom will almost certainly no longer be a part of the European Union. The people who cast their protest votes protested so hard that they ended up getting something they didn’t really want.

So it goes in the United States. I’ve heard liberals who’ve said they dislike Hillary so much (usually because they view her as insufficiently liberal), that they plan to vote for Jill Stein as a form of protest. That’s just wasteful. The dangerous ones say they plan to vote for Trump as a form of protest.

The lesson we learn from Brexit, and to a lesser extent other “successful” protest votes, like the one against the FARC treaty in Colombia, is that a protest vote against Hillary could end with Trump being protested right into office.

Not only can a protest vote have a very negative outcome, it’s also a violation of your duty as a citizen to cast your vote sincerely. Throwing away your vote on a protest is a sad, pitiful waste, and you and your country deserve better.

Advertisements

Vote Local


Let’s not forget that while the presidency is important, and it’s vital that we keep Trump far, far away from it, also important are the various local races. These include state legislatures, governorships, every seat in the House of Representatives and one third of the Senate.

If you don’t think local elections are important, then let me introduce you to Arizona.

north_rim_of_grand_canyon_arizona_2005

Lovely, this state. I really enjoy living here. Of course, because I live in Arizona, I’m very happy that I’m not Hispanic, happy that I don’t have kids that go to school here, and won’t ever change a diaper.

Those laws are bonkers, but there are other insane state laws out there. You know the various “religious freedom” bills that are actually excuses to deny rights to gay people and trans people? Those are all passed by local legislatures and then signed-off on by various governors. They don’t come out of nowhere. They aren’t done by the president. They’re done by your local government.

Voting for the national legislature is important, too. Tired of the Supreme Court nomination being blocked? Vote for the Democrats, and help put them back in charge in the Senate. Figure that 57+ votes to repeal the ACA are 56 too many? Vote for the Democrats, and maybe, just maybe, we can retake the House, too.

If you’re a liberal, and can’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary, so you stay home and don’t vote, you’re a fucking idiot, and not really a liberal at all; you’re really just a whiny, self-centered brat who doesn’t care about the country. But if, on the other hand, you’re a liberal who can’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary, and you at least go and vote for Democrats for everything except president, and then write-in Bernie, well, you’re still being a self-centered twat, but not nearly as badly, and I can have at least some respect for you.t

Excellent Job, Oregon!


So Oregon has done an interesting thing. Henceforth, when you go to get your driver’s license or your state ID card, you’ll automatically be registered to vote if the system shows you aren’t currently. You can opt-out of this, of course, but why the hell would you?

This is an excellent idea. There’s really no reason not to do this. Well, except for this:

Opponents argue two main points: Transferring this particular type of data between the DMV and secretary of state’s office makes the voting system prone to ID theft, and that it will make it easier for undocumented immigrants to become registered voters.

*yawn* at both parts. If someone is here illegally and getting their ID card renewed, then surely the system can be flagged with a message saying, “Yeah, this one can’t vote.” As for the ID theft rationale, really? That’s all you guys got? Apparently that was enough to keep every Republican on the state legislature from voting for it.

So congrats to the people of Oregon! When you go to use your vote, please remember which party it is that seems less than keen for you to have it.

Live-Blogging the Election Results


So it seems to be completely finished. We’re still waiting for the results in Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado and Alaska, but they don’t matter. It’s over, it’s done. Now we can move on and make sure the next four years are even better for the country than the previous four have been.

9:18pm – CNN has officially projected Obama to win Ohio and therefore the Presidency. It is over. The American people proved they aren’t as stupid as I often think they are.

Thank goodness.

9:17pm – CNN has called Missouri for Romney. No shock there, and likely small comfort.

9:16pm – Oregon now. It is almost impossible for Romney to win this. MSNBC has called it for Obama.

9:09pm – CNN projects Obama to win Iowa and New Mexico. No surprises in either one.

9:03pm – CNN now projecting Wisconsin for Obama and North Carolina for Romney. About time for both. 238 vs 191.

9:00pm – CNN is projecting the following: Obama takes California, Hawaii and Washington. No surprises with any of these. Romney takes Idaho and Montana. Obama now leads 228 to 176 in the electoral college out of 270 needed.

8:55pm – Puerto Rico had their vote today. 53% voted to change their current political status, with 65% then going on to say they wanted to be a state. Hooray! With luck, we’ll have another state in the next couple years, with two more Democratic senators and some more Democratic congressmen.

8:50pm – CNN has called AZ for Romney, of course, and Minnesota for Obama, of course. 169 to 157 now, but CA polls are about to close, and we all know where that one is going.

8:46pm – Been fiddling with CNN’s electoral vote calculator. If Obama takes Florida, as looks likely, it seems like Romney could take every other swing state, including Ohio, and lose. Let’s hope.

8:27pm – I am updating this a lot less frequently than I expected to. Bah.

8:04pm – Wolf Blitzer: “We’re about to make a MAJOR projection!” And that projection is…New Hampshire for Obama. So…yeah. That’s another four whole votes! Wowsers.

8:00pm – Here we go! CNN projects Romney in Utah. So no shock there. That seems to be their only projection right now. 158 to 143.

7:56pm – Another 21 votes getting knocked out at the top of the hour. It’ll be MT, UT for Romney and IA, NV for Obama. Or so I predict. Because I have a brain.

7:46pm – CNN is projecting Elizabeth Warren to win the Senate seat in Mass, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. This is looking better and better for the Democrats!

7:41pm – CNN has called PA for Obama. That’s another 20 electoral votes.

7:07pm – CNN is now saying the GOP will keep control of the House. This is, again, no real surprise.

7:06pm – So far, the election is going exactly as predicted by 538. Of course, even if Silver gets it 100% right, he’ll still get his numbers in the next election trashed by whomever they don’t favor.

7:00pm – The following states have been called for Romney: Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska (taking at least 3 of the 5 votes), North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, and Mississippi. Not a single surprise with any of these states. For Obama we have: Michigan, New York, and New Jersey. That brings us up to 152 electoral votes for Romney vs 123 for Obama.

6:56pm – 14 states with 156 electoral votes closing at the top of the hour, including here in AZ. Fun times soon!

6:42pm – In the latest edition of Unsurprising News, CNN is giving Alabama to Romney, bringing us to 82 for him, 64 for Obama, but don’t be discouraged, Obama fans. The major liberal states like New York haven’t finished voting yet.

6:37pm – Still waiting for the polls here in AZ to close. I am, of course, favoring all the Democrats. I’m also against the initiative that would limit us to only two people in each election, and in favor of the initiative that would make our 1% sales tax increase permanent. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best way we have to fund education at the moment, since our governor has no interest in doing so.

6:30pm – Romney gets Arkansas and Tennessee. No shocks here. That brings us to 73 votes for Romney and 64 for Obama.

6:28pm – A number of pundits have made claims about how the election is going to go. Many will be wrong, some spectacularly so. Nothing will happen to those who are wrong, but should something happen to them, and if so, what?

6:19pm – CNN is showing that Maine will be electing Angus King as an independent Senator. Bob Corker wins in TN. Democrats in FL, Delaware, Maryland and Rhode Island.

6:13pm – Hmmm. CNN only just now called GA. For some reason I thought they had done so earlier. Oh, well.

6:08pm – Romney claims he’s written only one speech tonight, not two. Yeah…I doubt he really wrote either. I’m sure
his speechwriters wrote up two with his guidance. Anything else woudld be stupid.

6:60pm – So far Romney has more votes nationally, but let’s hope that changes. The last thing we need, regardless of who wins, is a repeat of 2000.

6:03pm – In other news, Bernie Sanders, the only openly socialist member of the Senate, has been reelected. Go, Bernie! Go, Vermont! I just wish he was actually affiliated wit the Socialist Party.

6:00pm – Per CNN, the following states have gone for Obama: Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts (one of Romney’s home states), Maine (3 out of 4 votes at least), and Rhode Island. Romney gets Oklahoma. Obama leads 64 to 40.

5:55pm – GA called for Romney. He’s now up 33 to 3, but don’t panic, my friends. This is nothing yet, since none of the more liberal states have checked in. Tons of states are closing at the top of the hour, and that’s going to give us a better picture.

5:44pm – CNN is calling South Carolina for Romney with 1% of the vote in and Obama up by 75%. Amusing, but likely accurate.

5:30pm – CNN is projecting Romney to win in West Virginia. No surprise there. That’s another 5 electoral votes for him. Polls have closed in North Carolina and Ohio, but we have no winner in either yet.

5:26pm – Here’s a poll.

5:23pm – CNN gives Indiana to Romney. No shock there. This gives Romney 19 electoral votes to Obama’s 3, but you’ll excuse me if I don’t panic just yet.

5:20pm – For fun, here’s the predictions from a conservative friend of mine. He says Romney will win by 285 electoral votes, taking the “swing” states of CO, FL, NC, OH, VA and WI. He thinks Obama will win IA, NH, NV, MI and PA. I think he’s right about Obama, but I think Obama will also take CO, VA and WI.

5:15pm – Now CNN is talking about some county in Indiana that has picked the right candidate in all but two elections. Big horking deal. If you have hundreds of counties, which we do, simple math indicates that over time at least a couple will end up seeming to be very accurate in what they pick.

5:00pm – CNN gives Vermont to Obama and Kentucky to Romney. Per the instructions of my mother, who lives in Kentucky, sorry about that.

4:55pm MST: Here begins the live-blogging. I guess we get to see where this goes. 538 is currently showing Obama standing a better than 90% chance of winning, with a slightly better than 50% chance of taking Florida, thus giving him about 313 electoral votes. I remain skeptical of that and stand by my earlier prediction.

Changing the Voting Rules


I’ve been thinking lately about voting rights, and as tomorrow is Election Day, I thought I’d share some of those thoughts.

In the USA, you have to be 18 in order to vote. This is despite the fact that at sixteen you’re considered old enough to drive a ton or two of moving steel down a freeway at 65+ mph. This seems odd to me.

Of course, I’d also think it odd to lower the voting age to sixteen, since while many sixteen-year-olds are mature enough to vote, most aren’t. Then again, perhaps most aren’t at 18 or 21 or even later in life. Most people in this country probably can’t, off the top of their heads, name the three branches of government, describe the process of checks and balances, name any of the cabinet officials or name their own Congressman (to be fair, I’m not 100% sure who mine is, but I think it’s Ed Pastor, but I’m kind of in a border area, so it’s hard for me to be sure). That so many people vote simply on the basis of party or on the basis of “candidate X seems like someone I could have a beer with,” is a bad thing and something that cries out for a solution, and I think I have one.

Initially I thought that the best choice would be to say that you aren’t allowed to vote until you can pass a citizenship test, and that this test can be taken at pretty much any age. Once you pass it, you can vote. But then I got really bugged by that notion. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re a citizen, you should be able to vote. Of course just allowing all citizens to vote doesn’t work, either, and leads to situations where you have little kids voting.

But then I remembered American Samoa. It’s one of our little overseas territories, and a place most of us never think of. The people of that island territory are in an odd situation. Even though it’s part of the USA, they aren’t considered citizens. When they’re born, unless at least one parent is a citizen, they are American nationals. They carry a US passport, they can live and work anywhere in the USA, but they aren’t citizens, though they can become citizens by taking the same process and tests as resident aliens.

You see where I’m going with this.

My proposal is that everyone who is born in this country would automatically be an American national, but not a citizen. You’d still be able to have a US passport, work here, live here, serve in the military, etc, but you wouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you wanted to vote, you’d have to take a citizenship test and that would involve learning a lot more about our country’s government than most people do. I’d also allow people to take the test basically at any age they felt they were ready to take it.

This wouldn’t put an end to politicians pandering to get elected, but it might make it less easy for them to do so. It might also increase voter turnout and that’s never a bad thing. Yes, this would require a Constitutional amendment, since under the 14th Amendment, everyone born here is automatically a citizen, period, but I still think it might be worth looking into.

I’m not under any delusions this is actually going to happen, but I still think it’s an interesting idea. Any thoughts?

Happy News!


Well, thanks to Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington State, yours truly may well be able to vote again.

As I’ve alluded and mentioned a few times on here, I’m a convicted felon. This causes many problems in my life, including problems centering around voting.

I was convicted in Washington where I was not allowed to vote after my convction. I could have my voting rights restored, but only after my fines were paid off, and that took, oh, about thirteen years.

Once they were paid, I no longer lived in Washington, but rather lived here in Arizona. Arizona was willing to let me vote, but not until Washington restored my rights (interestingly, when I lived in California from 2002 – 2005, I could vote). To get that restoration, I would have had to fly up to Washington, appear in court in my old hometown of Olympia, and ask the permission of the prosecutor and the judge to have my rights restored. Hassle? You bet!

All this is about to end, it seems. Back in May of this year, Washington State passed a new law allowing felons to have their voting rights restored without paying off the huge fines. They still have to paid, but you’ll be allowed to vote in the meantime.

This means that, in theory, come July 26th, when the law takes effect, I can register to vote again! I’ll be confirming this with the authorities down here, of course. I certainly hope that I’ll be able to vote, as politics is quite important to me.

So, yay, Washington! I’m very happy I don’t need to go all the way back up there to have the most basic of rights restored. And thanks to my friend, Arthur, who brought this to my attention! Yay, Arthur!

Poll – Oh, Like You Can’t Guess What This Is!