biding time

time is running short
maybe even running out
as we wait to discover
if the Sane shall outnumber the Other
in sorting all of the ideas out

there is always suspence at elections
as we wait for others to make their selections
based on…who knows?    Too many sections
exist when  deciding the various directions
of thoughtful and mundane  reflections

©Sometimes, 2016

Why we vote the way we do, (re-blog again with update)

I have long entertained some theories about elections, and how and why people vote the way they do.

Factional Voting: On any given issue, from the most basic township trustee election to the Big One…voting for POTUS.    Take for instance a local Council Representative…there are three factions in play:  FOR, AGAINST, EITHER/OR.    In a nutshell…supporters of a candidate, enemies of his or hers, and the vast pool of voters who don’t know…don’t care…or make it up on election night.

FOR a candidate… close friends, true supporters who know what is going on and are informed voters, and enemies of the opposition candidate.

AGAINST….people that don’t like the candidate, disagree with the issue, hold strong but informed reasons for being opposed.

EITHER/OR… voters who never heard of any of the candidates…just pick one from the list.  Know them both and are ambivalent about them, and those who just don’t care.

There are reasons for NOT LIKING a candidate, of course:

the way they wear their hair

friends do or do not like them

because they are a woman/ or a man/

pure straight-party-ticket voters.

In reverse, the same reasoning can be applied to LIKING a candidate.

The Either/Or category makes up much of the “swing-vote” of people who don’t know, don’t care, never heard of any of the candidates. can’t stand “uppity women,” or a myriad of other reasons for “deciding at the last minute.”


The above discourse on  “why/why not” as applied for individual candidates in specific election applies as well to the local Ward Councilperson as it does to the representatives of the United States Congress.

I normally do not vote straight party ticket….especially in local city elections.   The dichotomy of the political parties usually doesn’t apply on a local basis.   Candidates usually declare themselves either Democrat or Republican for assorted local political reasons.    However, this year, 2018, I feel forced to vote a more or less straight ticket…because the expectation of independent voting by representatives is no longer valid.   Both parties have ways to control members to prevent diversion from the party-line on big ticket items.   No matter how “independent” a candidate claims to be, when it comes to the nitty-gritty of a very close vote, pressure is very effective in the form of financial help or political advertising “attack ads” that are so popular.  Sure—one can buck the system, but that is an at-your-own-risk choice.


Keeping Score and Counting Votes

Once upon a time I believed that there was NO WAY an election could be “fixed” in the USA.   As a student of Latin American Studies I understand that “those other countries” were crooked, and thus their elections could be rigged.  When a computer accidentally shuts down for four days in, say, Mexico…just sayin’… and during the shut-down the candidate who was losing the election miraculously pulls ahead….   WELL, everybody knew that was fraudulent…but when it comes to those other countries—well DUH!!!   But here at home?  Where our electoral system is honest as the day is long and absolutely without loop-holes that could “steal” an election. … in Ohio, or Florida?  Of course not.

Ah, everybody knows how THAT all played out.   No sense in going over it again, as the voters just don’t care.  They don’t want to hear about it.  Well, let me qualify that, of course “everybody” is a misnomer, because usually it’s about half and half….the red team and the blue team, them and us,  the Butterflies vs the Spiders.    Actually, in the USA we call them “Democrats and Republicans.”   They miraculously are just about halfies when it comes to voting for President…but the “lesser” elections do vary and there is a lot of “crossing the line.”

A case in point is the recent Brexit fiasco in the United Kingdom.   I still don’t know exactly what that means, and although I consider myself fairly well versed when it comes to world affairs (some more than others) and although I did know the UK was voting to leave the EU, European Union, it wasn’t a top priority issue for me.    (Who ever seriously considered the “leavers” would prevail over the “remainers”?)   Please allow me to clarify…when I say I didn’t know what Brexit means, I meant the translation…etymology, perhaps.  I do understand the basic facts and the consequences—vaguely,  I am not an expert on that subject.)

Anyway, here’s the thing…I  am bothered by the vote tally… 52% to Exit the EU—48% to Remain.   I realize we are talking percentages here, and not actual votes.   IF however there really were (say in a very small town)  52 voters who said “Yes” and 48 voters who said “No” on a given issue…  I suppose my logic may be twisted…but if that were the case, it means that if TWO voters had voted differently, the issue would be reversed and it would have passed.

I once won a primary election vote for council-at-large…. by a handful of votes  (six I think,) and there was an automatic recount.   I was still ahead after the recount, but I lost in the general election in November.    The point here being that had my opponent garnered FOUR more votes than she did, the results would have been reversed, assuming that the same number of voters had NOT voted for me in the first place. .

By coincidence the split in the United States when there is a national vote, tends to run about the same with roughly 50-50 for each side of a given matter.  Then our insane system of electoral votes is very often off-skew and the candidate with the most (popular vote) votes can (and has) lost to the electoral vote.

Then it comes to the vote-counters.  Now it’s all computerized…done in little table-like booths.    Then poll workers presumably are instantly given the results to share with the voters.  It isn’t that simple, of course, but since I don’t know much about the system nowadays I refrain from elaborating.

However, I did get to work the polling booths once about thirty years ago, and I say “get to” because it was something of a privilege to get the job, which actually paid about fifty dollars for the 12-hour day.  (Hey…those folks EARN every penny of what they get paid!)   In those days the voting was done in an actual machine with an actual cloth curtain that opened and closed with a hand lever.   The voter would pass through the line, sign in at the workers’ table, and declare their party or verify their address, then they would wait in the line for their ward and precinct, then when the curtain opened with a swoosh (I don’t know if there was actually a swoosh, but it sounds good) and the former voter would exit.  Then once the lever was pulled to close the curtain, the voter cast votes on the machine.

What happened then was the remarkable thing.   After the polls closed, the poll workers would dismantle the voting machine, and the votes were tallied.  THEN the results were written on paper…in a grid, with a magic marker, for each candidate or issue that was voted on.  THEN poll workers would go out to designated sites around the city, in each precinct, and post the paper vote results.    At which points party faithful from various campaigns would gather the information and take it back to campaign headquarters.

Thus is my version of what happened on Election Nights….back in the day… 1970s.   Actually  then I was a newspaper reporter, not a candidate for any political office.   Some years I had to work in the newsroom, but when it was a running around covering various campaigns it was fun.      The Rs had their celebrations in country clubs and other fancy places, the Ds in the local Moose Hall (etc.)  Champagne or Beer parties.   … just sayin’



party paradox?


There is a great problem growing here, and yes, I am scared silly about the front runners in the Republican race for President of the United States.   But that isn’t new, and no one gives a quince about my personal preferences.

Normally The Voters can be trusted to ultimately do the right thing in making decisions…or more accurately, abiding by and respecting majority rule… so when this thing began to get out off hand, and “the lunatic fringe” began to represent the  majority of voters (on one side)…it ceased being amusing and started to get scary.

Here’s the thing:   What happens in a democracy when the voters make known what they want…who they want to elect…and the party organizers disagree and move to ignore majority opinion…negate elections chosen by voters… and devise methods of putting into  candidacy the “anointed ones” instead of the will of the people?

An analogy might be to offer their child at Christmas a choice of a real tree…or a tinsel covered phony tree…

“We want the real tree, the one we picked out.”

“Too bad…you’re getting a fake.”

There is a lesson here somewhere.   Do we as voter citizens actually get what we vote for?   Or is there a foregone conclusion as to the overcome of elections?    The paradox here is that we are guaranteed free and representative elections…but the electoral wizards have made very public their desire and intentions to disavow the will of the people and fix up the election process so one of their own can get in.

We are free to choose whomever we want to be our President, with obvious restrictions: there there must  be appropriate qualified candidates; we must be registered to vote; and the outcome must be verified and validated.   Yes, I know what happened in both Ohio and Florida–in different elections, 2000, and 2004, when the winning candidates were deprived of their win, while losers were installed in office even with apparently fraudulent means.   The presumed “winners” of the vote were beaten out in  so-called “stolen elections.”

Some observers may suggest here that the Republican Gurus may have “good intentions…” but the process of subverting the will of the voters is an ill-conceived paradox of the American Way of free elections.    I would never expect anything good about the intentions of these party-politicians…they have managed to subvert any progress in this government so far.   This belies the whole “loyal opposition” myth.

How can this happen?  I know, that’s a rhetorical question–but worth thinking about.   The thing about all this that really scares the bejeebers out of Thinkers everywhere, is that enough U.S. Citizen Voters FOLLOW the supposed beliefs/plans of Donald Trump to put him in this position.

But for the Republican Party to disavow the decision of a huge chunk of their own base…or even THINK of it and go so far as to announce it to the world–that is just against everything our system is supposed to stand for.