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Who is voting this November and why should you bother?

 
 
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2014 02:44 pm
This piece is shamelessly stolen from PDiddie's blog, Brains and Eggs.

In less than three weeks, the United States will hold national elections to choose a third of US senators, all 435 members of the US House of Representatives, the governors of 36 out of 50 states, and thousands of state legislators.

The elections come at a time of immense crisis, nationally and internationally. The American people are being dragged into yet another war in the Middle East... At home, chronically high unemployment is fueling a growth of poverty, while basic social services — education, health care, housing — are being slashed, along with wages and pensions.

Democratic rights are being shredded, with police-state mobilizations in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri against social protest and the government sweeping up the communications of every American.

Social inequality has reached levels not seen since before the Great Depression of the 1930s. And now an Ebola epidemic in Africa is exposing the criminal neglect of healthcare infrastructure in the US and threatening to spiral into an international catastrophe.

But hey, how 'bout them gas prices?

All of these issues are being ignored in the election campaigns of the two big business parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. Instead, what predominate are banal and right-wing platitudes combined with mutual mudslinging. The entire process is dominated by corporate money, with all of the rival candidates on the take.

The Democratic Party is seeking to hold onto its majority in the upper house of Congress, the Senate. This is presented by the media as a momentous issue. In reality, which party ends up in control of Congress makes no difference for working people. The outcome of every election, regardless of which party wins, is a shift of the political system further to the right.

Uh oh, here comes that "both parties are the same" stuff.

The Democrats secured comfortable majorities in both the House and the Senate in 2008. They proceeded to continue the war in Iraq, escalate the war in Afghanistan, expand the taxpayer bailout of Wall Street, implement a health care “reform” that slashes workers’ benefits and increases their costs, impose a 50 percent cut in the pay of newly hired auto workers, and oversee a vast expansion of government spying on the population.

Neither party offers any policies to address the raging social crisis. The Obama administration touts a “recovery” that has brought the share of total household wealth held by the richest 0.5 percent to just under 35 percent and that of the top 0.1 percent to 20 percent. The Republicans, who work hand-in-glove with the Democrats to slash working class living standards, demand even bigger tax cuts for the rich and deeper cuts in social programs.

The basic bipartisan unity extends to a foreign policy of endless war and militarism. The Democrats who postured as opponents of the Iraq war under Bush — and insured that war funds were continued when they gained control of Congress — are avidly backing Obama’s new war in Iraq and Syria.

While my Democratic friends lick their wounds, let's be further reacquainted with the phrase 'neoliberal', and how it applies with respect to the global problem of inequality.

On the domestic front, there is no mention of the bankruptcy of Detroit, imposed by a Republican governor working with a Democratic mayor and backed by the Obama White House. The gutting of Detroit city workers’ pensions and health benefits, in violation of the state constitution and under the dictates of an unelected “emergency manager,” is being used as a precedent for cities across the US. In a debate Sunday night, Mark Schauer, the Democratic challenger to Republican Governor Rick Snyder, made clear that he supported the Detroit bankruptcy as well as the wage-cutting bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler.

War, austerity and the attack on democratic rights are all massively unpopular, but the views and interests of working people, the vast majority of the population, find no expression in the election campaigns of the two parties. The experience of the Obama administration, which came to power by exploiting popular disgust with Bush and his policies of war and social reaction, only to continue and deepen the same policies, has further alienated the masses of Americans from the political system.

Fifty percent or more of Americans -- most certainly that many Texans -- aren't registered to vote. Another half of the half that are registered won't show up to vote in the 2014 midterms. That leaves 25% of the populace as the electorate, and that's considered a high number by paid political types. In 2010, it was 37% of those who were registered that actually voted, so by extrapolating we can see that less than 20% -- fewer than one of every five Americans -- cast a ballot. In a good year.

Expect to see turnout figures far less than a fifth of we the people in many states. And we didn't even have to mention photo ID laws suppressing the vote.

They no longer believe that their votes will have any impact on the policies pursued by the government. They try to block out the meaningless debates between the candidates and the mind-numbing attack ads financed by the corporate donors who control both parties and the system as a whole.

The crisis of the American capitalist political system results in an election that is barely being followed by the electorate, the majority of whom feel little commitment but a great deal of anger toward both parties. One would hardly know, from the level of interest shown by the population, that an election is taking place.

[...]

All signs point to a record low turnout on November 4, even lower than the dismal 37 percent of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last non-presidential election, in 2010. Voter turnout in the primary elections earlier this year, in which the Democrats and Republicans chose their candidates, hit new lows, with, in many cases, fewer than 5 percent of eligible voters going to the polls.

The likely participation of younger voters, who turned out in relatively large numbers to elect Obama in 2008, is particularly revealing. In recent polls, only 23 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 said they were definitely going to cast a ballot this year.

When people forgo their civic responsibility, when they say their vote doesn't make any difference, when they grumble about both parties being the same... this is what they're talking about.

The contrast could hardly be starker between the acuteness of the issues the American people confront — war, poverty, dictatorship — and the empty and right-wing character of the campaign and general popular disinterest in the election. This contradiction bespeaks a system that is coming to the end of its rope. The immense growth of social inequality has turned American democratic institutions into hollow shells behind which the corporations, the military brass and the intelligence agencies conspire against the people of the US and the world.

The political system is incapable of responding to the crisis facing the working class because it is an instrument of a plutocracy.

The 2014 election is an expression of the crisis of American capitalism, which is at the center of the breakdown of world capitalism. The abstention is not an expression of either acceptance of the status quo or popular complacency. Social opposition is mounting, but the working masses as of yet see no alternative.

A failure of capitalism. A crisis of unchecked greed. And economically speaking, all signs point to things getting a little worse before they get better. There goes your trickle-down, you poor pathetic 99%-er, you.

But hey, how 'bout them Cowboys?
Posted by PDiddie at Thursday, October 16, 2014 1 comment:
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Type: Question • Score: 29 • Views: 9,921 • Replies: 328

 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Oct, 2014 08:17 pm
@edgarblythe,
It seems PDiddie sees the US world of politics in the same way I do! Corporations own our politicians, and that's not going to change by 100% of the voters voting! That's because those 99% will revote the same people as their representatives.

Who said I wasn't doing my civic duty if I didn't vote?

Heck; it's a lost cause before you even begin! THAT'S A FACT.

Ebola? What ebola. Nobody gives a hoot.

Fighting the wars in the Middle East is more important.
0 Replies
 
knaivete
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 12:42 am
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
and insured that war funds were continued when they gained control of Congress


PDiddie is so wrong, the word is "ensured".



0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 04:21 am
Likely just a mental error. No biggie.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 08:45 am
That turnout at the polls is expected to be dismal comes as no surprise. There is nobody worth voting for on the ballots. It has become evident that decent honest people do not run for political office, I'm reminded of Kurt Vonnegut's satyrical novel Slapstick. In it the United States has ceased to exist as a political entity because (1) people stopped going to the polls and (2) would-be politicians stopped running for office and simply disappeared as a distinct social group.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 09:47 am
@Lustig Andrei,
The most important aspect of a democracy is the ability to vote for politicians who will do their best for their country and people. As Andrei has stated,
Quote:
There is nobody worth voting for on the ballots.


It'll be the same whether people vote or not. THAT'S A FACT.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 10:01 am
@Lustig Andrei,
During recent presidential elections I saw pictures of people queuing up to vote. You'd be hard pressed to get a picture like that over here.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 10:12 am
@Lustig Andrei,
I remember reading an article during the last election season that said political leaders really don't worry that much about voter turn out numbers because of how the system is designed. Even if no one from a sector voted there is still a representative that votes anyways. So you really are never actually certain that the person you are voting for actually recieves your vote because the representative could vote for the "other guy" nullifying your vote and all the other thousands of people who voted for the same person you did.

We don't have an actual democratic system of voting. We are using an outdated system that was meant to help people during times when traveling to the polls was much more a challenge. They would send someone else to go do the voting for you so you didn't have to.

However; a more democratic system would probably be worse than what we already have but who would really want an accurate measure of what the people really want anyways?

I am skeptical that the system we have isn't corruptible or outright fixed giving the people the illusion like they actually have a choice. I wouldn't doubt if the whole thing is decided by a twelve assholes sitting around a table waiting to see who is going to give the biggest kickbacks if they get elected to their constituents. Oh sorry that sounds like paranoid conspiracy stuff now huh? Oops.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  4  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 11:00 am
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
Who is voting this November[?]

http://i60.tinypic.com/j0ibgw.gif

Quote:
[A]nd why should you bother?

It's our civic duty. Plus anybody who complains about their politicians (and at least doesn't try to get their preferred candidates, don't have the right to complain if they completely abstain from the process.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 11:29 am
Don't get me wrong. I voted by mail already. I voted for the ones that want to take away my Social Security and give all the breaks to the rich.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 11:53 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

Don't get me wrong. I voted by mail already. I voted for the ones that want to take away my Social Security and give all the breaks to the rich.


Well, they were the only ones on the ballot, right?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 11:59 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
Well, they were the only ones on the ballot, right?


Yup! Ya got dat spot on.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 12:06 pm
@tsarstepan,
I'll be voting.

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 02:25 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
While there is an element of truth to that, the Democrats made health insurance a reality for millions who had not been able to get it previously. They are making a lackluster defense against Republicans who want to turn Social Security into a cash cow for big business. There are a few reasons left to prefer a Democrat over a Republican. What we really need is a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to make a start at turning things around.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 02:34 pm
@edgarblythe,
It's true that we now have ACA, but the GOP is still working to repeal it, and they're still getting the support of many Americans. Even now after many republicans and democrats are now covered under ObamaCare, they still win votes for the very people that wants to take those benefits away.

There is a sickness in this country when people vote for politicians who wants to destroy their social security, ObamaCare, and cry wolf about ebola when the same politicians votes to reduce funding for CDC and not allow Obama to get a Surgeon General for our country.

Voting will not change anything; it's a lost cause before we even vote. Why bother? For those who really believe your one vote counts, good luck!

Nothing is going to change after November 4; guaranteed.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 02:46 pm
A few years ago, I almost gave in to such thinking, but I still hold out hope that Republican obstructionism and near universal political greed will over the next three or four years foment a revolt among voters, who should by then realize their very lives depend on it.
cicerone imposter
 
  0  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 02:50 pm
@edgarblythe,
Unfortunately, I don't hold such hope. The message of the GOP has been clear for almost six years, but they still get the votes. Their primary goal to make Obama a failure still resonates with too many republicans; they prefer to see our country suffer from stupidity.

Their refusal to increase the minimum wage hurts everybody - even republicans. They don't seem to mind. In this world, money matters usually speaks and wins. Not this time.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 02:50 pm
@edgarblythe,
You bet I am. Voting may not change things, not voting will definitely not change things.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 02:51 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
I see it differently; voting and not voting will result in the same mess we have today. NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Oct, 2014 03:28 pm
I am voting because there is a measure on the ballot to massively increase the cost of running the schools, by demanding that more people are hired, and the schools already suck up way too much money and employ too many people.
 

 
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