Vote Tomorrow: Use It or Lose It

There are three absolute truths about democracy;

  1. You have to maintain it. You have to use your vote to keep the government in the hands of decent people, or you run the risk of losing it forever.
  2. Democracy is not an optional exercise. If you don’t vote, you are not doing your part as a citizen and you are in no way a patriot. 
  3. The more people who show up to exercise their vote in a democracy, the stronger that democracy is, the harder it is to usurp and the more likely it is that the will of the people is upheld. 

One of the key reasons we find ourselves with a government that seems broken is because we have taken it for granted for far too long. Too many people stay home every election day and it is doing really serious damage to the democratic underpinnings of this government and this society.  From 1932, when the democracy rejected Republicans for policies that caused, exacerbated and then maintained the depth of the Great Depression, until about 1970, turnout in presidential election years always topped 60 percent, while midterm election year turnout topped 50 percent. During that time, we recovered from the Depression, we helped win a major victory in Europe and in Asia over fascism and we built the most impressive economic machine ever. We elected mostly Democrats, with Eisenhower being the exception, and Eisenhower wouldn’t even be allowed in the Republican Party these days. 

Since then, most presidential elections have featured turnout at or just below 50 percent and midterms have always been around 36-38 percent. With most people not showing up, our country has been electing Republicans who have put their ideology and their party ahead of the country and have, in recent years welcomed a mild form of fascism as a way to keep power. It started with Saint Reagan, who thought he could cut taxes to bring prosperity, and failed miserably. An economy that had thrived under Democrats, was essentially hogin 1980tied by Republicans to the point that 3-3.5 percent unemployment had given way to such high unemployment numbers that Republicans convinced us that 5 percent represented “full employment.” 

And the government, which had reduced the size of the national debt as a percent of GDP from 120 percent right after World War II to 31 percent, was suddenly completely incompetent and unable to raise the money to pay the bills. Since 1981, only one President has presided over a budget surplus, and  only two have reduced the size of the budget deficit during their term in office. Those two would be named Clinton and Reagan. St. Reagan, both Bushes and the Trump have all presided over exploding budget deficits, even as their party refers to itself as “the party of fiscal responsibility.” 

These past few weeks leading to tomorrow’s elections, I have demonstrated just how awful Republicans are when it comes to governing. And I am not picking on Trump. Trump is an incompetent moron, but he could never have been nominated in the Democratic Party. To nominate someone that bad suggests there is a dearth of good candidates in the party. Trump was a natural result of a political party that has been recruiting the worst among us for a half century now. 

It’s time for everyone to vote. It is way past time for every reasonable person to vote for nothing but Democrats, and to do so for a while. 

This is important. Don’t think you’re going to wake up Wednesday morning and see an end result. Tomorrow’s election is just the beginning. It will take at least three elections to purge just the federal government of the current version of the Republican Party, and it will take even longer to purge them from everywhere. The current Republican Party has to re-make itself and it won’t do that until it loses and loses big. Yes, we still need two healthy major political parties, but we don’t have that now. To get a viable second party that actually cares about the American people and only thinks of the Democrats as a “loyal opposition” and not “the enemy” will require major losses and a complete rebuild, which means we may have to be a “one-party system” for a while. I don’t like it either, but that’s how it goes. 

Vote Blue tomorrow, no matter who. And just importantly, support them as much as possible for the next decade or so. Keep turning out and take great pleasure in purging right-wing Republicans from the government because that’s the only way to take our country back from people who shouldn’t even be allowed to control the TV remote.

Also published on Medium.

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