Politics – do we really care? Re-blogged from Meeka’s Mind

This excellent post from friend acflory on her blog MEEKA’S MIND is the best thing I’ve read about the coming Year 2018 and Australian voters in particular and all Voters in general. Thanks for the re-blog!

Meeka's Moving

I’ve always had a problem with ‘-isms’ – communism, socialism, facism, capitalism, republicanism, you name it – because they all seem to miss the point about people. Homo Sapiens doesn’t give a flying fruit bat about politics until things go wrong.

I was a kid in the late Menzies era of Australia [1949-1966], and I remember hearing some adults moan about elections while others moaned about the general apathy of the Australian voter. You see, in Australia, we have compulsory voting…and the times were good.

In fact, by the early 60’s, the populations of the Western world were better off, generally, than they had ever been before. Not quite the age of surplus envisioned by Marx, but close, and some of us really were able to live ‘…from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ That’s what the Age of Aquarius, Flower Power and Free…

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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

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.”

 

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’