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08 October 2016 @ 01:09 pm
Recidivist Voter (Highlights)  
1952: My parents take me along to my elementary school’s gym to watch them vote. It’s fun: the mysterious curtain, the clanking machinery with the big handle…There are lots of parties: not just the Big Two, but also several flavors of Socialist, the Vegetarian Party, and the Prohibitionist Party, whose candidate is Stuart Hamblen, a country singer best known for “This Old House.”*

1964: I finally get to do it myself. I will always feel like something of an Abused Voter because I thought I was voting against sending half a million troops to Vietnam, but basically I’m happy with the result, and I will persevere and vote every time.

1968: I am introduced to the great American custom of pulling the lever with one hand and holding the nose with the other. I vote for the Hump. The Dick wins.

1972: I cheerfully vote for the acid, amnesty, and abortion candidate. The American people prefer Nixon, validating my opinion of the American people.

1980: Subconsciously realizing that it’s time to start Jimmy Carter on his extremely successful career as ex-president, I deviate from Yellow Dog purity and cast a ballot for the generic white guy on the Libertarian ticket (Clark, if memory serves). Reagan wins. I concede that third-party votes help the candidate I like less and never do it again.

1992. Though the Experts assured us last year that Bush had sewed it up with his glorious victory in Iraq, the short memory of the American people saves us again.

2000. I vote against Bush, but Florida is stolen.

2004. I vote against Bush, but Ohio is stolen.

2012. A local gas crisis causes me to walk two miles over and two miles back to vote for Obama and against Romney. It’s worth it.

2016. Having been reminded by Brexit of the dangers of underestimating the power of the Stupid White People vote, I prepare to vote for Hillary Clinton.

* Having escaped from the historical present by superhuman means, I note that we could use a party like the Prohibitionists today, to help the Religious Right from endangering their immortal souls by voting for imperfect Republicans. It should probably be rebranded as something like the Barefoot ’n’ Pregnant Party. Their showbiz candidate could be Pat Boone, whom I just saw an article about. He looks like the picture in Dorian Gray’s attic, and he had just delivered an antigay rant that I assume was done first and better by a Black performer.
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Pink Halenpink_halen on October 8th, 2016 05:49 pm (UTC)
When I voted for Obama It was one of the few times that I think I voted FOR someone instead of AGAINST someone.

Recently, we were in Europe and asked several times about Trump. They are really concerned about our election. Sadly even the political candidates here can't name foreign leaders so we cannot expect the run of the mill citizen to know who is who in Europe.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on October 8th, 2016 05:58 pm (UTC)
1980: Yes, the Libertarian candidate was Clark. It's unlikely that all of Clark's voters would have preferred Carter to Reagan if forced to choose, but I doubt that even if they had all voted for Carter, he would have one. I haven't checked that, but I have checked it about the Anderson voters, who had far greater numbers than the Clark voters and who probably did prefer Carter over Reagan by a large majority. Even if all of them had voted for Carter, Reagan would still have won. So sometimes it doesn't help the candidate you prefer less.

Prohibitionist: "to help the Religious Right from endangering their immortal souls by voting for imperfect Republicans" was actually pretty much the purpose of the Prohibitionist Party. Eventually it did change its name, to the National Statesman Party, but that didn't arrest its decline so it changed back. It's still around, but is now so tiny that it held its national convention this cycle by conference call.
James Veitchjamesovei on October 8th, 2016 10:04 pm (UTC)
I had to look up the Libertarian candidate in 1980. I remembered Anderson, but that's only because of playground jokes, possibly learned from the other kids' uncles. ("If a plane carrying Reagan, Carter, and Anderson crashed, who would be saved? ""The American people.")
Young Geoffreyed_rex on October 9th, 2016 04:43 am (UTC)
Time machines (of a sort)
1952: My parents take me along to my elementary school’s gym to watch them vote. It’s fun: the mysterious curtain, the clanking machinery with the big handle ...

Being from a country where in 2016 we still use nothing more complex than a pencil and pre-printed form to cast our ballots (into a cardboard box), I am more than a little astounded to learn that your country's obsession with tabulating machinery goes so far back.

That said, I'm in no hurry to "catch up" with you. I've been a poll clerk here, and can vouch for the fact that the tallying is, yes, a little labour-intensive, but really hard to [edit: get wrong steal].

Edited at 2016-10-09 04:44 am (UTC)
eub on October 9th, 2016 09:47 am (UTC)
This being the United States, the obsession with voting machinery is per individual state. My state also uses paper ballots (by mail now, but also with in-person voting, where you dropped them in a box), and I'm pleased, to have that material ground truth.

I do think there is an element of national character in play, that we are drawn to cutting-edge modern technology even if it's not the best for the job. Just hoping this never takes us as far as widespread vote-by-Internet.