Third Party & Independents Archives

Time to Boycott Voting

After many years of political disappointment, more progressives, liberals and conservatives – and certainly moderates and independents – know in their hearts that voting for Democrats or Republicans is a waste. Just imagine if voter turnout was cut to 25 percent or less! Let the whole world see Americans boycotting a broken and corrupt political system and rejecting what has become a delusional democracy. To keep voting in an unjust political system makes us willing political slaves that the rich and powerful elites exploit.

Just leaving the major parties is not good enough and, besides, most Americans are not party members. We need a bolder strategy. We must humiliate the political elites in both major parties and the corporate interests that support both of them. We can send a shock wave throughout the political establishment by not voting in the 2008 presidential election. This is drastic but necessary action.

Stop playing THEIR game. Take back control. Take back YOUR nation. Time to boycott voting. This strategy is consistent with the thinking of Gandhi and King: peaceful resistance to political tyranny that can bring the corrupt system to its knees. Ultimately, the most effective protest is through civil disobedience – to visibly and stubbornly refuse to respect what has become a corrupt, untrustworthy system. Before it can be fixed it must be deconstructed and then rebuilt. Taxation with MISrepresentation means we need a Second American Revolution; it must begin – not with violent action – but with massive withdrawal by citizens that have seen the light. We have a good head start with about half of eligible voters already so turned off that they don’t vote. Obviously that has not been sufficient to change the system.

There will be negative, defensive knee-jerk reactions to this audacious strategy. Let’s examine them:

Many will think that taking such action violates our responsibility as citizens. But taking that responsibility seriously as engaged citizens in the Jeffersonian sense must reflect that there is still a valid contract between citizens and their government. When we vote we have the right to a political system that respects we the people and gives us an authentic representative democracy. We have a right to a constitutional republic operating under the rule of law. But we have elected representatives that no longer have the public interest as their primary commitment, nor truly honor and respect our Constitution.

They have been corrupted by corporate and other special interests that fund their campaigns to get the laws, loopholes and largesse they want. They have been corrupted by power and the perks of office. They are political cowards and mostly intellectual midgets. The two major parties have a stranglehold on our political system that no longer merits our participation in their crooked game. Political parties are not part of our Constitution and the two-party duopoly has demonstrated that both Democrats and Republicans put their own interests above those of we the people, our nation and our democracy. We cannot vote our way out of our current, dreadful political system.

Whether you are on the political left or right, you will fear that not voting will help put in office people that support policies your abhor. But decades of objective political reality tell us that even people from the party that we align with do not, when elected, fulfill their promises and our hopes. Sadly, most Americans have become lesser-evil voters, deluding themselves that this is the best, least worse, yet awful choice. Instead of feeling bad about voting for candidates that we know in our hearts are not worthy of our votes and public office, we must have the courage to say “enough is enough; I will not play in this shameful game any longer.” We must stop legitimizing and abetting our disgraceful government.

Many may fear that not voting sets a terrible example to children. But isn’t it more important to tell America’s children that true patriotism must reveal itself by rejecting a political system that no longer merits respect? Thomas Jefferson believed in periodic rebellion. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the rescue of their nation, peacefully by boycotting elections.

The small number of third party members may be screaming: yes, don’t vote for Democrats and Republicans; come over and join us! I have been a strong third party supporter, but we must face the painful truth. The two major parties have so rigged the political system in their favor and against third parties that voting for third party candidates for federal office is a futile action. We must first boycott voting to create sufficient pressure to open the system to genuine political competition. That requires a number of electoral reforms, possible if the nation gets its first Article V convention. With reforms we can increase voter turnout to over 90 percent, as routinely seen in other democracies.

False patriotism may cause some to think that we must not show anti-American nations and terrorists that our government no longer has the trust of its citizens. But that has already been widely disseminated by endless polls and surveys, including the recent Zogby poll that found a record-low 11 percent support for Congress. Better to show our enemies that we the people have finally awakened and decided to re-assert our sovereignty and restore American democracy. Loyalty to country, yes; loyalty to government, no. Our populist American insurgency must begin with a boycott of voting.

Proof that this extraordinary strategy can work is that by now diehard Democrats and Republicans reading this are squirming in discomfort. So spread the word, if you have not deluded yourself about voting the nation into a far, far better place. Time to boycott voting. Join the picket line; admit that none of the above is the only rational decision when the choices the two major parties give us for federal officials are not worth a dime.

Voting in a delusional representative democracy is as harebrained as voting even though you know votes will not be honestly counted – which many fear may be true. We may have lost control of our government, but we still control our voting. Time to walk away from the brainwashing and fiction that it really matters which Democrat or Republican you vote for in primaries and general elections for federal office. Power elites want us to believe that. They collude with the corporate mainstream media that make tons of money from campaigns and want you to stay glued to suspenseful horse races. Loud-mouth political pundits that narrate the races are democracy’s enemies. We must stop watching and listening to the political entertainment designed to keep us obediently mesmerized, as if the game is honest. Without an audience, these phony races and media circus will disappear.

Don’t be fooled by the large number of candidates in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries. It is a sham – a scheme to keep spectators glued to the illusory competition. Ron Paul has as much chance of being the Republican nominee as Dennis Kucinich has of being the Democratic nominee. With power elites controlling both major parties, zero chance for them and the other minor candidates, regardless of their grassroots support. Reflect on how both major parties accept lots of candidates in televised debates in the primary season. But come the general election with prime time televised presidential debates they keep out third party candidates that desperately need that exposure to rally meaningful support. Such is the hypocrisy and disdain of the two-party duopoly.

Come Election Day in 2008 we should party and celebrate (with TVs turned off) our populist boycott of voting and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow patriots. We must help them resist any late urge to vote, because by then millions of dollars will be spent by many special interests to make us feel guilty and ashamed if we do not vote. I can hear Paul Revere now: The liars are coming! The liars are coming! All that advertising and pundit-screaming to herd us back into the voting booths will verify that our boycott strategy works.

With having the votes of only a small minority of the electorate, whoever becomes president will have no public mandate except major, systemic political reforms that satisfy the will of the people. Either that or accept being the president of a fake democracy on the world scene.

Be brave. Stick together. Save voting for a reformed political system worthy of respect and participation.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at October 2, 2007 7:28 AM
Comments
Comment #234990

Once again, we at WatchBlog are at one of maybe 9 or 10 sites that Joel has chosen to broadcast his message.

Thanks, Joel, for deigning to consider us worthy of your broadcasts across the internet. Might you also consider us worthy this time to receive your thoughts on our comments? We can only hope…

Posted by: LawnBoy at October 2, 2007 8:05 AM
Comment #234991

Yeah…just don’t vote at all..60% of our voting public sitting on its hands has gotten us such wonderful government so far…voting is the basis of democracy…our children are dying in Iraq so Iraqis will have the privilege/duty of voting…

I can see no better way to dishonor our dead and maimed soldiers than to sit home and not vote.

Posted by: Rachel at October 2, 2007 8:12 AM
Comment #234993

Joel said: “Just imagine if voter turnout was cut to 25 percent or less!”

OK. I did. All I come up with is that 25% or less just got tremendously more powerful in determining the direction of government by whatever psychological, sociological, demographic or political criteria resulted in their continuing to vote when 75% didn’t.

This is a dumb idea. Boycotting a vote in a democratic election is nothing more than abdication to those who do vote.

If you want to boycott due to government not running as you expect, boycott the incumbent politicians responsible for the way government is run, and its direction, by voting for their challengers instead; as happened in 1992 and 2006 in many districts. If enough incumbents get the boot, (especially in the Primary elections), their challengers will get the message. They do read the polls, you know, despite some claims to the contrary.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 2, 2007 9:22 AM
Comment #234995

i tend to agree with davids comment that not voting is a direct abdication of our votes to those few zealots that will never stop voting … and along party lines.

perhaps a better idea would be to boycott the dem and rep parties and refuse to cast a vote for the current regime, period. I defected from dems a long time ago because of the duplicity of that party and the republicans are equally guilty of that duplicity. saying one thing and doing another.

vote independant, vote for micky mouse, it does not matter, just stop voting for those idiots the dems and repubs keep foisting on the populace.

Posted by: john at October 2, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #234996

David,

You hit it on the nose with the word “abdication”.

Voters are the sovereigns of this republic. To put this in a more primitive context, if there is a bear at the entrance of your cave you can choose in protest not to defend the cave, be eaten, and take satisfaction at the witness you have broadcast to your neighbors, or you can fight the bear.
Sure, you might still be eaten. Life is tough. My guess, though, is that you are far more likely to survive, perhaps have a bear meat meal, and even get the respect of your neighbors by resisting the bear.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 2, 2007 9:50 AM
Comment #234999

Joel,

There is a much better way (rather than not voting at all).

  • Stop Repeat Offenders

  • Don’t Reward them with Re-Election!
And some day, when the consequences of the voters’ apathy and complacency finally becomes too painful, they might finally draw the connection between corruption in Congress and repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with a 97.6% re-election rate (that’s the rate between Nov-1996 and Nov-2006).

Unfortunately, the politicians are very clever and have discovered a way to capitalize on the voters’ apathy and complacency. The politicians invented a party-lever and voting is very easy now. Just pull the party-lever and save yourself the hard work of even knowing who your senators or representatives are, much less their voting records.

Its fast, easy, and makes the voter feel like a a team member. It’s very powerful. I admit falling under its spell for a while.

Along with the party-lever, there’s the partisan warfare. Politicians love to fuel it, and too many voters are all too eager to wallow in it.

After all, blaming the OTHER party is easier than taking responsibility.
Blaming the OTHER party is easier than admiting fault.
Blaming the OTHER party is easier than admiting YOUR party is just as irresponsible.
Blaming the OTHER party is the easy route, and that is the second way that politicians capitalize on the voters apathy, complacency, and laziness.

All else takes a back seat to winning seats for YOUR party. It does not matter that the nation’s problems continue to grow in number and severity.

In fact, most voters even become cheer leaders for THEIR party. It’s quite amazing actually. They say MY party is better. The OTHER party is to blame. MY party could get something done if it wasn’t for that OTHER party. It’s a vicious circle.

But, eventually, pain will trump lazy, when the consequences of that nonsense finally becomes too painful. And it will, because eventually, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Congress just gave itself another raise (the 9th raise in 10 years).

Never mind our troops were going without armor, medical care, promised benefits, and much time between their 2nd or 3rd or 4th tour in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Never mind that we have a $9 Trillion National debt.
Mever mind that $12.8 Trillion was borrowed and spent from Social Security and it is now pay-as-you-go with an approaching 77 million baby boomer bubble.

Yes, have faith.
Faith in human nature.
Faith that pain will finally trump greed and laziness.

We are well on our way. We have many REGRESSIVE systems contributing to the disparity trend.
These numerous REGRESSIVE systems did not come about by accident.

Government is FOR-SALE to the highest bidder.
A tiny 0.15% of all 200 Million voters make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more). How is the remaining 99.85% of the 200 million voters supposed to compete with that? But most voters don’t know this. They know money is a big factor in elections, but they don’t realize that 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (usually the incumbents of course). Again, this does not reflect highly on the voters.

Sorry Joel, but if you want to truly protest … stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians (which would be most, if not all of them).

Instead, vote for challengers.
If you already know the incumbent is corrupt, why re-elect them?
Why reward them with re-election?
Why allow them to grow more powerful and corrupt?
Why allow them to pervert more laws to commit the crimes they were orginally supposed to prevent?
Who cares if the challenger may not be so great?
How is rewarding irresponsible, corrupt, do-nothing incumbent politicians better?
Besides, if that politician doesn’t get it, vote out that incumbent too.
Always vote out irresponsible incumbent politicians and they will eventually get the message.
Don’t, and continue to reward incumbents with 97.6% re-election rates, and they will simply become more irresponsible, corrupt, and unaccountable.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2007 10:20 AM
Comment #235000

Joel Hirschhorn-
As Michael Douglas’s character in The American President says, America is advanced citizenship; it’s going to put up a fight.

In my experience, the absence of a vote only gets felt when the lack of turnout gets felt by the other side. Unfortunately, things aren’t always so simple. Sometimes, it’s the absence of your vote that doesn’t matter, when the candidate wins anyways. But total absence? That’ll punish nobody. Unless you force people not to vote, those who did vote, and who had the majority would win.

While some politicians would care about America’s lack of faith in the political process, the most cynical would only be happy to exploit the remaining few who do vote.

And those remaining few would be the committed, the ones who would often vote for the candidates in question no matter what.

No, we’ve already been through a long period of low voter turnout, and for our trouble we’ve gotten both Republicans and Democrats who hardly represent their constituents properly. We’ve gotten a system that cares more about the corporations and PACs who do make their opinions known and felt, rather than the American people, who don’t.

Complacency, apathy… The outcome’s the same, regardless of the cause. You will never be given perfect candidates. Chose the best, even if you must chose from the worst. Vote for the best candidate, regardless of party. If we keep our standards high enough, long enough, the party’s will only find it in their self-interest to do better. We must evolve a better government over successive elections. It will not just fall in our laps fully formed.

The only means for a non-voting public to alter the government otherwise are through violence and lawlessness. And then, that is no longer democracy, real or delusional.

What really puzzles me, though, is how the heck you think you’ll get your Article V Convention with nobody voting state legislators in to make those calls.

You’re not thinking things through here. Your strategy is self-defeating.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 2, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #235003

Joel,

Imagine if, instead of not voting, those 25% voted for a 3rd party candidate? The politicians would see that it wasn’t apathy that caused the low turnout, and the argument that voting for a 3rd party candidate was ‘wasting your vote’ would have less power.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 2, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #235008

Joal… sorry man… but this is the silliest idea I have read on this site… and that covers a lot of silly ideas!

Rhinehold is so right above… if that 25% went to third party candidates instead of the incumbent parties, a much more constructive message could be sent.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at October 2, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #235014

Let me emphasize again that participating in bankrupt, corrupt political system filled with lies and dishonesty just perpetuates it. ARE YOU ALL BLIND TO THE BENEFITS OF THE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE STRATEGY??? Of course, I support not voting for incumbents and for third party candidates, BUT our system is so corrupt and rigged that those tactics have not and will not succeed in delivering much needed political reforms. We are too far gone for such tactics. We need something much more drastic. Plus, I am amazed that so few people appreciate the impact of visibly delegitimizing American democracy on the world stage. Please read the following truly wonderful article:

Live Not By Lies
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

As printed in The Washington Post, p. A26
Monday, February 18, 1974

Following is the full text of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s essay “Live Not By Lies.” It is perhaps the last thing he wrote on his native soil [before the collapse of the Soviet Union] and circulated among Moscow’s intellectuals [at that time]. The essay is dated Feb. 12, the day that secret police broke into his apartment and arrested him. The next day he was exiled to West Germany.


At one time we dared not even to whisper. Now we write and read samizdat, and sometimes when we gather in the smoking room at the Science Institute we complain frankly to one another: What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us? gratuitous boasting of cosmic achievements while there is poverty and destruction at home. Propping up remote, uncivilized regimes. Fanning up civil war. And we recklessly fostered Mao Tse-tung at our expense– and it will be we who are sent to war against him, and will have to go. Is there any way out? And they put on trial anybody they want and they put sane people in asylums–always they, and we are powerless.Things have almost reached rock bottom. A universal spiritual death has already touched us all, and physical death will soon flare up and consume us both and our children–but as before we still smile in a cowardly way and mumble without tounges tied. But what can we do to stop it? We haven’t the strength?

We have been so hopelessly dehumanized that for today’s modest ration of food we are willing to abandon all our principles, our souls, and all the efforts of our predecessors and all opportunities for our descendants–but just don’t disturb our fragile existence. We lack staunchness, pride and enthusiasm. We don’t even fear universal nuclear death, and we don’t fear a third world war. We have already taken refuge in the crevices. We just fear acts of civil courage.

We fear only to lag behind the herd and to take a step alone-and suddenly find ourselves without white bread, without heating gas and without a Moscow registration.

We have been indoctrinated in political courses, and in just the same way was fostered the idea to live comfortably, and all will be well for the rest of our lives. You can’t escape your environment and social conditions. Everyday life defines consciousness. What does it have to do with us? We can’t do anything about it?

But we can–everything. But we lie to ourselves for assurance. And it is not they who are to blame for everything-we ourselves, only we. One can object: But actually toy can think anything you like. Gags have been stuffed into our mouths. Nobody wants to listen to us and nobody asks us. How can we force them to listen? It is impossible to change their minds.

It would be natural to vote them out of office-but there are not elections in our country. In the West people know about strikes and protest demonstrations-but we are too oppressed, and it is a horrible prospect for us: How can one suddenly renounce a job and take to the streets? Yet the other fatal paths probed during the past century by our bitter Russian history are, nevertheless, not for us, and truly we don’t need them.

Now that the axes have done their work, when everything which was sown has sprouted anew, we can see that the young and presumptuous people who thought they would make out country just and happy through terror, bloody rebellion and civil war were themselves misled. No thanks, fathers of education! Now we know that infamous methods breed infamous results. Let our hands be clean!

The circle–is it closed? And is there really no way out? And is there only one thing left for us to do, to wait without taking action? Maybe something will happen by itself? It will never happen as long as we daily acknowledge, extol, and strengthen–and do not sever ourselves from–the most perceptible of its aspects: Lies.

When violence intrudes into peaceful life, its face glows with self-confidence, as if it were carrying a banner and shouting: “I am violence. Run away, make way for me–I will crush you.” But violence quickly grows old. And it has lost confidence in itself, and in order to maintain a respectable face it summons falsehood as its ally–since violence lays its ponderous paw not every day and not on every shoulder. It demands from us only obedience to lies and daily participation in lies–all loyalty lies in that.

And the simplest and most accessible key to our self-neglected liberation lies right here: Personal non-participation in lies. Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.

This opens a breach in the imaginary encirclement caused by our inaction. It is the easiest thing to do for us, but the most devastating for the lies. Because when people renounce lies it simply cuts short their existence. Like an infection, they can exist only in a living organism.

We do not exhort ourselves. We have not sufficiently matured to march into the squares and shout the truth our loud or to express aloud what we think. It’s not necessary.

It’s dangerous. But let us refuse to say that which we do not think.

This is our path, the easiest and most accessible one, which takes into account out inherent cowardice, already well rooted. And it is much easier–it’s dangerous even to say this–than the sort of civil disobedience which Gandhi advocated.

Our path is to talk away fro the gangrenous boundary. If we did not paste together the dead bones and scales of ideology, if we did not sew together the rotting rags, we would be astonished how quickly the lies would be rendered helpless and subside.

That which should be naked would then really appear naked before the whole world.

So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood–of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one’s family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies–or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one’s children and contemporaries.

And from that day onward he:

Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question.
Will immediately talk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.
Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.

But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.

And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul- don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views,a dn don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general–let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.

Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family.

A great people of Europe, the Czhechoslovaks, whom we betrayed and deceived: Haven’t they shown us how a vulnerable breast can stand up even against tanks if there is a worthy heart within it?

You say it will not be easy? But it will be easiest of all possible resources. It will not be an easy choice for a body, but it is only one for a soul. Not, it is not an easy path. But there are already people, even dozens of them, who over the years have maintained all these points and live by the truth.

So you will not be the first to take this path, but will join those who have already taken it. This path will be easier and shorter for all of us if we take it by mutual efforts and in close rank. If there are thousands of us, they will not be able to do anything with us. If there are tens of thousands of us, then we would not even recognize our country.

If we are too frightened, then we should stop complaining that someone is suffocating us. We ourselves are doing it. let us then bow down even more, let us wail, and out brothers the biologists will help to bring nearer the day when they are able to read our thoughts are worthless and hopeless.

And if we get cold feet, even taking this step, then we are worthless and hopeless, and the scorn of Pushkin should be directed to us:

“Why should cattle have the gifts of freedom?

“Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.”

Posted by: Joel S. Hirschhorn at October 2, 2007 2:42 PM
Comment #235019

Joel, civil disobedience applies to unjust laws. It does not work with the desired results in a free elections.

Your view on this would do well to carefully consider the many opinions and objections to your misapplied civil disobedience idea regarding elections. Not voting is “doing nothing”. Civil disobedience has never, ever, been about doing nothing, not even passive resistance in the context of civil disobedience, is ever “doing nothing”. Not voting is doing nothing, and does not resist the corrupting influences on our election system by the political parties. Not voting actually aids an abets that corruption.

Your comments demonstrate a serious flaw in your understanding of civil disobedience or, ignorance of the concept entirely, which is to apply peaceful force and/or, deprivations upon those acting unjustly.

Not voting applies no force whatsoever, which furthers the very ends you say you wish to resist, and strengthens the adversaries you oppose, the duopoly party system that rigs the electoral system for their own purposes instead of the people’s and nation’s interests and intents.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 2, 2007 4:05 PM
Comment #235020

Joel,
Yes, the political system is very corrupt and growing more corrupt every day.
But the voters empower it.
Even reward it.
Asking them to not vote won’t accomplish anything, because 40% to 50% already don’t bother to vote.
Yes, asking voters to vote out irresponsible incumbents is almost as pointless … except for one ironic thing. When the consequences of constantly rewarding and re-electing corrupt incumbent politicians finally becomes too painful for the voters, the voters will:

  • finally vote out incumbents

  • or replace them with less peaceful methods

  • or the nation will essentially cease to exist as we now know it.

Asking voters to simply stop rewarding irresponsible, corrupt incumbent politicians is probably what the majority of voters will do someday anyway. Also, sooner is better than later. Only the people can do it. The voters must reject the manipulations that trick them into:

  • lazily pulling the party-lever,

  • wallowing in the partisan-warfare which politicians love to fuel,

  • and oddly, cheer-leading for the very incumbent politicians that exploit them, lie to them, steal from them, and despicably pit them against each other (as they now despicably pit American citizens and illegal aliens against each other).
  • Based on human nature and history, here is what will most likely happen for the next 2 or 3 decades:

    • GDP may grow, but these 10 regressive systems will continue to increase the the disparity trend as it already has for over 30 years.

    • Voters will continue to blindly reward Congress with 95.4% (the average for the last 150 years) until it finally becomes to painful. That will probably take many decades. Most people can not see beyond tomorrow. Until then (if ever), the voters will have the government that they deserve. Government will continue to grow more corrupt, arrogant, and bloated to nightmare proportions.

    • The quality and access to education will continue to decline; not good while trying to compete in a global economy.

    • The quality and access to healthcare will continue to decline; not good while trying to compete in a global economy.

    • Massive debt will continue to be a drag on the majority of tax payers. Especially since $12.8 Trillion was borrowed and spent out of Social Security - making it pay-as-you-go; not good with the 77 million baby boomer bubble.

    • The U.S. will face more global competition, and our own politicians will be more than happy to sell us out every chance they get.

    In a nutshell, the U.S. will continue to decline because it has lost its way.

    If you look at the nation’s pressing problems and factor in human nature, and history, it all reads like a book:

      “How to Destroy America - For Dummies Voters”

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2007 4:12 PM
    Comment #235021

    CORRECTION: “How to Destroy America - For Dummies Voters”

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2007 4:17 PM
    Comment #235041

    Joel-
    The whole point of Civil Disobedience is that the government or business has to go through a lot of embarrassing, well-publicized trouble to dislodge you from your position, trouble that reflects poorly on them, especially since the protestors aren’t doing anything violent to provoke the treatment.

    So Americans stop voting in droves? The politician’s respond thusly: YAWN.

    They don’t have to shoot people in Droves, club pacifist priests, shoot water cannons at them, show up to arrest folks folks just for sitting around. They just have to accept that a huge amount of people aren’t voting. It’ll make them nostalgic for the 90’s.

    Why don’t you try going out there and organizing a protest? Why not actively, persuasively, oppose what you don’t like, rather than acting out passively, and trying to play tricks with numbers to bypass supermajority approval for a convention?

    Politics is best when people stop this generalist B.S. and approach issues with a specific focus, rooted in a broader context.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 2, 2007 7:23 PM
    Comment #235046
    Politics is best when people stop this generalist B.S. and approach issues with a specific focus, rooted in a broader context.
    Not all generalizations are bad.

    I don’t agree with not voting.
    But I would most certainly agree with holding ALL of Congress accountable, since (IMO) Congress (as a whole) is irresponsible, corrupt, incompetent, and do-nothing.
    The problem is that, despite the dismal approval ratings (e.g. some as low as 11%), pulling the party-lever is so easy to do.

    And the two-party duopoly knows it and uses it. And that is why Congress enjoys a 97.6% re-election rate (on average, since 1996).

    You know, I think if a party-lever is allowed, then a NON-INCUMBENT-lever should be allowed too! ? !

    If not, then I think the party designations and party-levers (or buttons) should be removed.

    We should force people to actually know who the hell they’re voting for.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2007 7:45 PM
    Comment #235047

    Not voting is not courageous; it is simply an abrogation of responsiblity. No need to say more.

    d.a.n, yes, all party designations should be removed from ballots.

    Posted by: Gerrold at October 2, 2007 7:56 PM
    Comment #235076

    I don’t think no voting is a great idea. If you ask me what should happen, there should always be a “nobody” candidate running for office. Anybody who votes for “nobody”, or who doesn’t vote and can, their vote goes to nobody. If “nobody” wins, then nobody wins. This might lead to a few extra lections at first, but it would get people out of office that can’t motivate the people enough to vote for them. I guess maybe if nobody wins once or twice in that election, then anybody who was on that ballet cannot run again unless if they have a petition.


    Although I also think that voting day should be a national holiday, and that all workplaces should let their employees off that day if they are nonemergency/essential personel. The reason how come I say all day is because many polls are over crowded with people later on during the day/night.

    I do think I understand a little bit of what Joel is trying to say. What does it matter if you vote if the system is corrupt in the first place? Your vote doesn’t really even count, so there is no point in voting. Now I don’ think our system is that corrupt yet, but it’s getting there. I heard about it from a few of my poll worker friends in ohio, but the courts don’t care.

    Posted by: kujo at October 3, 2007 2:25 AM
    Comment #235143
    I don’t think no voting is a great idea. If you ask me what should happen, there should always be a “nobody” candidate running for office. Anybody who votes for “nobody”, or who doesn’t vote and can, their vote goes to nobody. If “nobody” wins, then nobody wins.
    I like that idea! Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2007 3:02 PM
    Comment #235165


    Many of those who do not vote have the attitude that their vote doesn’t count because no matter who they vote for, they are not going to be represented. Whether they realize it or not, they are practicing civil disobedience. Those of us who continue to vote are impowering the corruption with our fingers crossed, hoping that those we elect will end the corruption. All this is doing is continue the battle to decide which party is the most corrupt.

    IMO, if 70 to 75 percent of the people refuse to vote, it will cause a political crisis and possibly bring down the government. If this happens, the People may finally realize that the power lies with them and that they are the government. If it doesn’t result in a collapse of the government, It is still going to be impossible for the government to continue business as usual by ignoring the commands of the People. When 70 percent of the people say they want an end to the war, that is a command not a request.

    Posted by: jlw at October 3, 2007 5:49 PM
    Comment #235204

    jlw,

    Better yet, what if 87% of Congress is NOT re-elected (that’s about the maximum since some senators are not up for re-election every two years of their 6 year terms), and replaced with challengers. There’s often someone running against incumbents.

    That is what TRULY would get their attention.

    And if the new incumbents don’t get it either, vote them out too.

    That’s the most simple solution.

    However, we know that’s not likely, no more than most (or everyone) not voting at all, despite most voters’ dismal 11% to 18% approval ratings for Congress. There’s a strange disconnect of logic somewhere along the way. There’s a strange disconnect between what most voters claim to want and what voters actually do, which does not seem to be helping voters much when you consider the increasing disparity trend of the last 30 years.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2007 2:27 AM
    Comment #235209

    jlw said: “IMO, if 70 to 75 percent of the people refuse to vote, it will cause a political crisis and possibly bring down the government.”

    Nope! Not even close. Absence of voting simply entrenches incumbents. The purpose and power of the vote is to remove incumbents. If no one else votes, the incumbents will. And they of course, will vote to keep themselves in office. The people don’t need to vote to keep incumbents in office. The people need to vote to remove incumbents.

    Incumbents gather and collect millions of dollars in order to buy advertising and marketing of their reelection. The fewer people who vote, the more concentrated are those voters who respond as intended to all those millions of dollars in advertising and marketing, designed to convince them all is right with the world under this incumbent’s leadership, and all that is wrong with the world, is someone else’s fault. The people don’t need to vote to keep an incumbent in office, that incumbent’s lobbyists and wealthy special interest donors will take care of keeping an incumbent in office.

    The people do need to vote however, to remove incumbents from office. They won’t leave voluntarily. Why would the people want to remove an incumbent from office? Well, that is crucial question, isn’t it? 60% of voters vote for their home team moniker regardless of the candidate or incumbent’s qualifications or record. In other words, they vote for their party, more often than not, for no other reason than that is their party.

    It doesn’t matter how bad the performance of government or how ill prepared our nation becomes to meet its future, they will vote the incumbent responsible for it all back into office. I call this faith based voting. These voters have faith that their party is better than the other party, and on that faith, they will vote to keep even their worst politicians in office if it means keeping the other party out of office. This kind of faith based rationalization makes voting simple, unthinking, unintelligent, easy, and habitual, and such voters walk away from the polls feeling like they did something worth while.

    One has to wonder how a nation can possibly survive such faith based voting? In the end, it may not. There is however, one resounding din of hope, and it comes in the statistical defections of voters from the Democratic and Republican parties in a growing number of Independent voters. In 2006, Independent voters outnumbered both registered Democrats or Republicans, 36%, 33%, and 31% respectively. And Independents have begun to form organizations and Independent Parties.

    While I personally believe Independent Parties may not be the answer, certainly, election swinging Independent voters who evaluate their voting choices on the basis of whether government is improving or failing may well be America’s salvation. When, as now, our government is failing 8 out of 10 American’s expectations, 36 to 40% of Independent voters voting out incumbents responsible for such failure, could actually result in significant improvements in governance as politicians come to understand that performance is the key to the Independent vote.

    This is how the rationale of Vote Out Incumbents Democracy is pinnacle to America’s survivability as it faces some of the largest and most rapid changes since the turn of the 20th century.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 4, 2007 4:17 AM
    Comment #235210
    It doesn’t matter how bad the performance of government or how ill prepared our nation becomes to meet its future, they will vote the incumbent responsible for it all back into office. I call this faith based voting. These voters have faith that their party is better than the other party, and on that faith, they will vote to keep even their worst politicians in office if it means keeping the other party out of office. This kind of faith based rationalization makes voting simple, unthinking, unintelligent, easy, and habitual, and such voters walk away from the polls feeling like they did something worth while.
    It makes no sense at all does it?

    Especially when you consider the low 11% to 18% approval ratings for Congress.
    Yes, blind faith is part of it.
    But there is another reason for it: laziness.
    Too many voters are lazy voters, because it is much easier to pull the party-lever than to do the work to research candidates and voting records.

    Politicians know this, and capitalize on the voters’ laziness by making it easier to vote by merely pulling the party-lever.

    Parties are a result of politicians trying to make it easier for voters to make a simple choice between two choices (i.e. Democrat or Republican). As a result, politicians don’t have to be held individually responsible and accountable. They can merely ride on the coattails of THEIR party. The problem with this is:

    • most Republican voters will pull the party lever

    • most Democrat voters will pull the party lever

    • _________________________________

    • RESULT: 97.6% of incumbents are re-elected = tenure = corruption

    Why should politicians be responsible when re-election is a 97.6% probability and they are rarely (if ever) held accountable?
    Eventually, voters will need to make this simple connection between perpetual re-election and the corruption of tenure.

    One has to wonder how a nation can possibly survive such faith based voting? In the end, it may not.
    That’s right. It may not.

    But even if it does survive, what kind of nation will it be? Should we look to Russia as an example?
    Should we look to history for other examples?
    America is not invincible.
    We can’t keep crappin’ in our own nest and hope the branch it all rests upon won’t finally snap.

    The nation is in decline (and has been for decades) because too many voters have failed their duty. Ignorance is not an excuse, voters can’t continue to always blame the OTHER party while ignoring equal culpability of THEIR own party, and it won’t protect them from the declining economic conditions that will result from so much corruption and incompetence in government.

    Until the voters become more responsible and accountable, the voters have the government that they deserve.
    And that government will essentially punish the voters’ irresponsibility with more regressive and oppressive systems.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2007 6:07 AM
    Comment #235231

    Nobody can force a good decision from voters, and no kneejerk, reactionary political movement, even one intended to curtail another just like it, can truly help Americans.

    We need to ask whether candidates represent our views well less, and ask whether these people are qualified for the position. If they have a record, are incumbents, the real important thing is to bring that out into the sunlight, and do that as often as possible. Only then will people have the information to make good choices.

    People know their interests. We don’t necessarily have to force or sneak a good decision on them. It’s best, in fact if we do what we’re doing openly and in good faith. We weaken all the good we do by trying to do it by trickery and deception. Moreover we often fail to consider why it’s unpopular, and whether we should support it to begin with.

    By focusing on incumbents, d.a.n. and David Remer are keeping the politics behind the curve. Whether you vote an incumbent out should be a choice made based on evidence, evidence gained from a good constant awareness of what politicians are doing.

    The value of the blogs is that they make it harder for people to keep secrets. They multiply greatly the number of investigators, and make it more likely that important information reaches people. We have to make it to where folks practically trip over the information when they’re out walking the dog; an epidemic of awareness.

    The more these people know they’ll be under pressure to perform, the more they will, the more they’ll be inhibited to screw things up with the voters. These people have the attitudes they have because they figure most of what they do won’t get back home. If that part of the equation changes, their behavior will likely change with it.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 4, 2007 12:14 PM
    Comment #235248

    Stephen said: “Whether you vote an incumbent out should be a choice made based on evidence, evidence gained from a good constant awareness of what politicians are doing.”

    The only evidence necessary is governance; if governance is what we the voters hoped for, or not. If not, incumbents are, by definition of being the governors, responsible. Voters would do well to hold our governors responsible for the product of their work.

    If our government is not acting as it should, it is an indictment of all incumbents, regardless of individual performance. If a politician is working feverishly for good governance, but, government continues in the wrong direction, that politician is ineffective, regardless of intent or effort. Ineffective is not acceptable.

    Good governance will only come when voters take out incumbents on a grand scale, putting their replacements on notice that only good governance will be met by votes to reelect. When freshman politicians acknowledge the certainty that they too will be one term politicians unless they become effective, efficient, and responsible to the voters and their futures, then, good governance will follow. But, that can’t and won’t happen until incumbents become a lot scarcer in D.C. and challengers understand clearly, why that is so.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 4, 2007 2:08 PM
    Comment #235251
    Stephen Daugherty wrote: Nobody can force a good decision from voters, and no kneejerk, reactionary political movement, even one intended to curtail another just like it, can truly help Americans.
    • Stephen, you can try to mischaracterize and denigrate “voting out irresponsible incumbents” all you like, but it will never diminish the soundness of that advice.
    • You can label it a “reactionary political movement”, but it still can not refute the logic and soundness of the goal.
    • You can label it a “kneejerk”, but it still can not do damage to the truth.
    Attaching these labels is a lame substitute for the inability to refute the simple logic and soundness of the one simple thing voters were always supposed to do all along; always.

    So have at it. The more people and occurences that are unable to ever present any good reason why we should not “vote out irresponsible incumbent politicians”, the more convinced I am that it is sound and right.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote: By focusing on incumbents, d.a.n. and David Remer are keeping the politics behind the curve.
    What do you mean by “keeping politics behind the curve”? First of all, it is not possible to keep “politics behind the curve”. The politics can not be ignored. I’m not sure what your meaning is, but if it is implying that the idea is to merely vote out incumbents regardless of their voting records and evidence, then that is mischaracterizing the goal. The goal is to encourage voters to stop rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians, and what is irresponsible is based on evidence and voting records that only the voter themselves can determine. The other point is that the determination requires work. And since it requires work to study voting records, and since politicians know this, they have created the party-lever that makes it easy for voters to make a simple choice of one or the other (i.e. Democrat or Republican). It is a horrible invention. All party designations should be removed from ballots. Those party designations make as much sense as puting a non-incumbent-lever (button) on the ballots. After all, Independent voters should be allowed a non-incumbent lever to make voting easier if they already have determined that the incumbents are all corrupt and don’t want to reward them with re-election.

    And for those that have looked at the incumbents’ voting records, here is the question:

      Now, who can name 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible and accountable?
      Which incumbent politicians:
      • do not vote irresponsibly on pork-barrel, corporate welfare, waste, and give themselves a raise every year (9 of the last 10 years), while our troops risk life and limb, go without armor, adequate medical care, and have to do 2, 3, 4 or more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan?

      • do not vote themselves cu$hy perks and raises (while they completely mismanage the Social Security, Medicare, and other systems) ?

      • do not ignore problems for fear of risking re-election or defying their big-money-donors?

      • do not prevent newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer, responsible reforms?

      • do not tempt, pressure, and threaten newcomers with the loss of party support if the newcomers don’t accept the status quo?

      • do not pander and bribe voters with their own tax dollars?

      • do not peddle influence and accept money from big-money-donors?

      • do not fuel the petty partisan warfare that distracts the nation from our many pressing problems?

      • do not spend a great deal of time and tax-payers’ money (via allowances) trolling for money for their campaign war-chests?

      • do not abuse their allowances and other unfair incumbent advantages (provided by tax-payers) to retain their cu$hy, coveted seats of power?

      • do not travel all about via gifts (bribes) or waste tax-payer dollars (like ;

      • don’t give their partisan buddies pardons (oh yeah … that’s the executive branch)?

      • don’t shoot their hunting buddies? (oh yeah … that’s the executive branch too (i.e. Buckshot Cheney))?

      • do not strive to grow government ever larger; to nightmare proportions?

      • genuinely embrace campaign finance reform, election reform, tax reform, or any reform that will create more transparent, accountable, and responsible government, even if it diminishes their opportunities for self-gain or reduce the security of their incumbency?

      • do not look the other way? I’ve even heard John McCain admit to looking the other way on a NPR radio broadcast.

      • are fiscally responsible?

      • do not fuel the petty partisan warfare that distracts the nation from its many pressing problems?

      • truly are dedicated to solving the nation’s pressing problems being ignored year after year, growing in number and severity?

      • truly deserve to retain their cu$hy, coveted seats of power?

    Is that too much to ask?
    Can anyone name any politicians that haven’t violated the voters’ faith placed in them to do the job they were elected to do?
    Unless we can name at least 268 (half of 535) in Congress, what does it say about Congress as a whole (in general)?
    If over half of Congress is irresponsible and corrupt, perhaps that explains why the nation’s problems are growing in number and severity?
    We know it makes no sense to repeatedly reward and irresponsible Congress with 97.6% re-election rates.

    The point is quite simply this:

    • (1) We are supposed to vote out irresponsible incumbent politicians. Right?

    • (2) We all know many incumbents get re-elected (on average, 95% of the time since 1855). Right?

    • (3) We know money and unfair incumbent advantages has a lot to do with re-election. That is, 90% of the time, the candidate that wins is the candidate that spends the most money.

    • (4) We know voters have a tendency to pull the party-lever without really even knowing all the people they are voting for, much less their voting records.

    So, is it possible that our system of government failed to adequately account for greed, selfishness, and laziness?

    Or, is it more likely that any system of government will fail when too many people in that society simply fail to be responsible and accountable enough?

    In my opinion, the answer is “YES” to both.
    We can demand transparency, accountability, and honesty until we’re all blue in the face, but things will only continue to deterioriate as long as voters also fail their duty to be responsible to make government responsible too. Until then, the voters have the government they deserve. As for accountability, the voters will produce their own punishment as the economy is slowly but gradually transformed into only a very few that own all wealth; as a few with vast wealth and power pit their citizens against each other for the diminishing scraps. Until enough voters understand this, the majority of voters will have to endure the worsening disparity trend that has already been in progress for over 30 years. The majority of voters really have no one but themselves to thank for it.

    VOIDnow.org simply recommends that voters do the most simple and logical thing right under their very own noses; the one thing voters were supposed to be doing all along; always.

    • Elect responsible candidates.

    • Don’t reward irresponsible incumbent politicians with 97.6% re-election rates.

    What’s wrong with that?
    The logic is sound.
    However, that does not mean voters will do it.
    There are no delusions about that.
    It is well understood that something so simple can be VERY elusive.
    However, that still does not diminish the logic of soundness of the conclusion.
    It only means one simple thing. Too many voters are irresponsible too; like the irresponsible incumbent politicians they reward with perpetual re-election.
    The voters are culpable too.
    And the voters will suffer the consequences of it too.
    Until enough voters acquire the capacity to see beyond tomorrow, and understand that their actions today can have wide-reaching and painful consequences for many years to come, then those voters will be punished by the painful consequences of their own ignorance, apathy, complacency, and laziness.
    That is reality, and it hinges not on logic, but on human nature.

    Stephen Daugherty wrote:If they have a record, are incumbents, the real important thing is to bring that out into the sunlight, and do that as often as possible. Only then will people have the information to make good choices.
    True, but it is NOT always enough to show voters the corruption and irresponsiblity of THEIR polticians.

    Why? Because of years and years of programming.
    Yes, as distasteful as many party-loyalists find that, it is the truth.
    Breaking the bad-habit of blindly pulling the party-lever is VERY difficult.
    And once again, we are back to another flaw of human nature: Brainwashing; bad programming.
    Yes, it’s true.
    Animals are often creatures of habit.

    So, people are revealing politicians voting records all the time, and guess what? Some voters STILL vote for those politicians (e.g. William Jefferson, Rostenkowski, Ted Stevens, etc.).
    Too many voters do NOT care if THEIR politicians are corrupt, and 97.6% re-election rates prove it.
    Too many voters (of the 50% to 60% that even bother to vote at all) only care about winning seats for THEIR party, and are oblivious to the fact that politicians in BOTH parties are so corrupt, incompetent, and irresponsible that it really makes very little difference which is the most corrupt.

    There is only one potential self-correction mechanism.
    A French econmist in 1850 wrote about it, and often referred to the human factor.
    QUESTION: When (if ever) will we finally get off the wrong path, and get on a better path.
    ANSWER: When the path we are currently on becomes too painful. Only then does pain trump apathy, complacency, and laziness.

    It’s up to us.
    We can get our eduation:

    • (a) the smarter, more peaceful, more logical, less painful way.

    • (b) or, the harder, more painful way (again and again).

    Of course, this is all just commonsense, but it is worth mentioning since the commonsense path is not always the path we choose.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2007 2:22 PM
    Comment #235296


    David R. Remer. You say that if 75 percent of the people boycott the election it will only entrench the incumbents. Perhaps it is so and perhaps those entrenched incumbents will continue business as usual. How many Americans have signed on with VOID and have vowed to vote out incumbents? If the above senario were to play out, what effect do you think it would have on VOID’s recruitment? If 75 percent of the People are convinced that their government is not representing them irreguardless of what those entrenched incumbents say, it seems to me that you would have an excellent opportunity to recruit many of the 25 percent who almost always vote as well as having an opportunity to convince many of the 50 percent who usually never vote.

    We all claim that we want a fiscally responsible, efficient government that is acutely aware of the needs or desires of the people. What does that mean to us as individuals? If all we wanted was fiscal responsibility and efficient government we would have it, no problem at all. It’s those pesky needs and desires that divide us, make us chose sides and cause us to have a fiscally irresponsible and inefficient government.

    For years, our government struggled along trying to balance the needs and desires of the people. Since the Great Depression, our government has grown to what it is today, both because it had to and because most of us wanted it to. For much of that time, despite massive increases in military and social spending, the government managed to be fairly fiscally responsible. We had a national debt but, it was nothing compared to the massive debt of today.

    IMO, halfway along the road from the Great Depression to today, we came to a fork in the road and a couple of things happened which caused us to take the wrong path. The first was OPEC. That warning was ignored by an addicted nation. All heroin addicts know that the drug is killing them, but few seek help for their addiction. We have squandered thirty years in which we could have converted to a decentralized electric society.

    IMO, the major factor that has given us the government that we have was the election of Ronald Reagan and the introduction of supply side or voodoo economics. The supply side capitalists demanded three things. They wanted capital deregulated, taxes on capital eliminated, and the New Deal/Great Society dismantled.

    While the nation cheered Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan, The Democrats held out their hands and caved on much of what the supply siders wanted. However, both the Democratic and the Republican politicians knew that dismantling the social spending was political suicide. So the politicians came up with their plan. Since capital doesn’t want to pay for social spending and capital wants to reap profits from foreign wars but doesn’t want to pay for foreign wars, we will borrow the money from the capitalist bankers and if it isn’t enough we will borrow more from the communist bankers.

    I appologize for rambling on. I realize that most of what I have said is just my opinion and may or may not coincide with fact, but it seems to me that it is not enough to boycott elections or vote out incumbents. Our government is forcing us to make the decisions that we have been trying to force it to make for us. In it’s own stupid way, our government is trying to give all of us what we want. It doesn’t have enough money to do that so it borrows. In that respect, it is just like us. We the People have to get our own act together so that we can give our government a clear vision of the road we want to travel. I don’t think we will do it. I think the right and the left will continue to fight it out for their version of the vision while the center which doesn’t have a vision will continue to pass the ball back and forth. I believe that the answer to Dan’s option is (B).

    Posted by: jlw at October 4, 2007 7:38 PM
    Comment #235299

    I completely agree with voting incompetent incumbents out, but the emphasis should be on “incompetent”. Voting against all incumbents is just playing the lottery, if you get better results it is just pure luck. I am glad that in California we have no party lever, even the position on the ballot for each office is random. Personally I do the best I can to keep up with how my Senators and Representative vote, and cast my vote accordingly.
    Unfortunately I think I am in the minority.

    Posted by: wbdace at October 4, 2007 8:17 PM
    Comment #235300

    jlw, moderate Republicans and Democrats campaign on and want mostly the same things. Fiscal discipline, outstanding education, national security, legal immigration, safety nets for the less fortunate who fall on the bad times created by government and business decisions, and sustainable and healthy environments for us and our children.

    Oddly enough, this is also what the majority of Americans want, as well. So, what’s the problem? It’s complicated, but, in a nutshell it is our campaign finance system which buys politician’s votes, the extreme wings of both the duopoly parties, and the strangle hold the Duopoly Party has on the electoral process which, maintains inordinate and unfair hurdles for non-party challengers to navigate.

    The lynch pin to improving it all is public campaign financing and FCC mandating free and equal time on FCC leased bandwidths, 3 months before election. The current parties and politicians will not buy into this unless forced. The force that needs to be applied is kicking both party’s incumbents out of office in growing numbers each election. After a few elections, Freshman politicians and the parties themselves will recognize that the key to keeping power is reforming the system, making it accountable and responsive to the demands of the majority.

    It won’t be easy. No one is going to wave a magic wand and provide a 30 minute sitcom solution. But, if we can go from being behind the Russians and Sputnik to first to land men on the Moon, we can reform our political system. It will take people like you and I and others of our ilk to make the commitment to spread the word - the Vote Out Incumbents word, and explain to people why it will work, how it will work, and point to the fact that every other strategy has failed.

    If we few do the initial heavy lifting to bring 3, 4, or more others on board, and they in turn bring several more each on board the VOID wagon, that wagon will begin to fly down the hill taking out incumbents in unprecedented numbers. And that will both scare the hell out of the duopoly parties and force them to mend their ways in the hope of surviving a reelection bid.

    As D.a.n. is fond of saying, it is what we were meant to be doing all along, while Politicians were trying to buy us off with our own tax dollars and the millions of special interest dollars spent to propagandize us voters away from the power the Constitution gave us: the power to remove ineffective, inefficient, or irresponsible politicians from office.

    We need to do this, not because it is easy, but, because the politicians know it will be hard and they count on us failing to remove them. We need to do this precisely because they say we can’t. If we can’t, we are powerless, and the politicians remain powerful to do whatever the hell they damn well please and call it ‘good for us’.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 4, 2007 8:27 PM
    Comment #235303

    wbdace, the Vote Out Incumbents Democracy movement advocates exactly what you are saying, to vote out ineffective, inefficient, and irresponsible politicians. I personally am not convinced that anything short of a wholesale growth in the anti-incumbent voting movement will suffice. But, it would be foolish indeed to ask people to vote out their incumbent if, they can honestly say they have reviewed their record and find their incumbent to be one of the best.

    For me, it is not a difficult decision. Sen.’s Cornyn, Hutchison, and Rep. Lamar Smith are my Congressional representatives and they all have created far more problems than they have even attempted to solve. They promoted illegal immigration for years, they promoted deficit spending for years, they abdicated oversight of the White House for years, they have worked diligently to erode and divide educational efforts rather than lift up national standards and quality. They have promoted big business while demoting worker rights and quality of life.

    So, for me, it’s a no brainer. Others may have a more difficult decision regarding their incumbents, like those in Russ Feingold’s district or John McCain’s. But, I do believe if a poll were taken today asking voters if their incumbent is the best that can be had, the majority would say no. And that if that is the case, the VOID voter’s movement has real potential for setting government back on track again in another couple of elections.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 4, 2007 8:38 PM
    Comment #235304

    jlw,
    That’s interesting. Don’t worry about rambling. It was all informative.
    Yes, I also see that things started to go wrong about 30 years ago.
    Not just due to a single event.
    Many things started to go wrong.
    Many REGRESSIVE things (including the corpocrisy you mentioned and its many manifestations of unchecked greed).
    As for the borrowing and spending, it may be a little more sinister (see 47 minute video) than just wanting to give us what we want.
    Sadly, I agee. Just based on human nature, history, current factors, and the many REGRESSIVE systems we allowed cheaters to be impose upon us, I think we will have to learn the hard way (again).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2007 8:39 PM
    Comment #235310

    did i not warn you all that this was possible… nay, inevitable?

    mr. hirschhorn is merely relaying the feelings of a vast and ever increasing number of disillusioned voters, like it or no.

    Posted by: diogenes at October 4, 2007 9:59 PM
    Comment #235343

    diogenes,
    Yes, but there’s a better way to protest.
    For anyone that believes government is too corrupt, irresponsible, and unaccountable, then why re-elect them?
    However, since year 1855, the average seat-retention rates in Congress is 95.4%. Such high re-election rates is like a reward for incumbent politicians and will guarantee that they continue to grow more corrupt, arrogant, and irresponsible.

    Since we have become so dependent on government, the future of the nation depends too much on what the federal government does.
    The future depends on how corrupt, bloated, incompetent, and fiscally irresponsible that the federal government grows.
    Of course, no one can know for certain, but which of the following best matches what you think will happen in the coming decades:

    • (1) BEST CASE?: several government reforms are passed; government becomes more transparent and responsible; many of the 10 REGRESSIVE systems are eliminated; the disparity trend starts to slowly reverse; the standard of living slowly rises for several decades, Congress becomes more fiscally responsible; major issues still exist, but are gradually being addressed; GDP grows at a slow but steady rate (a few percent per year), job growth increases; wages and median household incomes start to rise slowly across the board for all income levels; the U.S. will lead in all major sectors; the U.S. leads the way in alternative energy sources as it weens itself off of its addiction to oil;
    • (2) IF WE FIX A FEW THINGS?: a slow and slight decline in the standard of living for several decades, and Congress will fail to act responsibly soon enough; the disparity trend continues at the same or slightly slower rate; GDP may grow, but most of the wealth will continue to go to a very few; jobs will continue to leave the country; wages will remain stagnant or fall slightly for several decades; job growth will be small; new technologies will open some new markets and provide some job growth;

    • (3) MOST PROBABLE?: a faster rate of decline in the economy and standard of living over one decade starting within the next decade; 77 million baby boomers have to work longer - competing for younger Americans for jobs which lowers wages (corporations love it); Social Security and Medicare eligibility ages must be raised, beneifts must be reduced, and taxes must be raised; Social Security and Medicare caps are raise, but it is too little too late; Congress will not only fail to act in time, but will exacerbate situations with continued spending, borrowing, inflation, larger debt, more inflation, a failure to curb entitlements in time, continued cost of war/occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corruption grows as most voters (programmed to pull the party-lever) continue to reward Congress with 95% re-election rates; the disparity trend continues at the same rate; GDP growth may grow slightly, but most of the wealth will continue to go to a very few; jobs will continue to leave the country; wages will remain stagnant or fall slightly for several decades;

    • (4) WORST CASE?: Number (3) above, along with some natural catastrophe (such as Katrina, or worse), or additional war(s) (since we have a war on average about ever 12.9 years; 7 wars in the past 90 years) that we are now not prepared for since we have already been fiscally irresponsible for so long and already have too much debt ($9 Trillion National Debt, $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent out of Social Security making it pay-as-you-go, and hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities for Medicare and the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan); corruption in the federal government is rampant; the disparity trend continues at an increased rate; GDP growth stagnates or falls slightly; taxes will be raised significantly; jobs will continue to leave the country; wages fall significantly for several decades; energy vulnerability leads to energy shortages; a recession turns into a depression that lasts for many years;

    It’s hard to see Number (1) happening.
    Number (2) maybe.
    But most likely Number (3).
    And (4) is not all that far-fetched.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 5, 2007 11:00 AM
    Comment #235401

    ah but alas, there is no incumbent to vote out in the upcoming presidential… and void offers up no answer… unless you intend to vote out the incumbent party. personally, i don’t see that serving to learn anyone anything - but it will perpetuate the sad current state of political affairs.

    hence, while i can still support voting out congressional incumbents, the likely presidential candidates are not worthy of my respect, nor my vote.

    Posted by: diogenes at October 5, 2007 7:54 PM
    Comment #235410

    diogenes, quite right. VOID is not focused on presidential politics, except where its outcome could produce a one party government. While VOID takes no official stand on one party government, many of its supporters find the concept of one party government antithetical to a democratic republic, in which cooperative but competitive ideas should arise to consensus as being the best solutions for the majority of the people and the nation as a whole. One party government tends to exclude representation and consideration of political opponents points of view, and that is not healthy for the democratic process.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 6, 2007 12:17 AM
    Comment #235420

    diogenes,
    Yes, if all of the candidates are equally bad, why give any of them your vote?
    However, in a presidential election, some candidates are most likely worse.
    So far, (IMO) there is not a single candidate whose positions are acceptable on what I consider the nation’s top 15 issues facing the nation.
    To me, some of the presidential candidates are almost equivalent to an incumbent. Some have been in Congress for so long and have such bad records, it’s difficult trying to decide which is the least worse of the worst. At any rate, there are some guidelines that can help. One of the choices is: if all the candidates are equally bad, don’t give any of them your vote.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 6, 2007 11:01 AM
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