“It’s a disgrace that people don’t vote,” Mike Francesa, sports radio talk host on election day November 2014
“If you don’t vote, don’t complain,” often heard comment from the political nannies who want as many people as possible to vote so to give credence to an often sleazy system.
I’ve heard the above so many times. And, since I have voted in every election from the year I turned 18—over 40 years and 40 pounds ago—I am going to complain. And I’m also going to explain why many Americans don’t vote. Let’s take the last election here in Central Queens, New York City.
My local congressional representative is Grace Meng, a Democrat who was also running with the support of the hard left Working Families party, a party that apparently doesn’t think the government spends enough tax dollars and doesn’t intervene enough in the marketplace.
Who was on the Republican line or the Conservative line or any other opposing line against Meng?
Grace Meng, Democrat, was running against Grace Meng of the Working Families party. Only Grace Meng could win. So what was the point of an election without any competition except to provide some poll officials with a nice one day payday?
My state assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, a product of a county political organization famous for corruption—-it has produced venal pols such as Donald Manes, Matty Troy as well as Hevesi’s father Alan. Hevesi pere is a former state comptroller convicted of stealing from the taxpayers and was sent to the hoosegow. New York State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi ran for re-election without anyone running against him.
Ostensibly, no one wanted to buck a county political organization that has given the voters some of the biggest crooks in political history.
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi was re-elected.
About two years ago, we had a county district attorney’s race in which, once again, the incumbent, Democrat Richard Brown, ran on several lines and had no one running against him. Queens is a county of some million residents. Tons of them are lawyers. Not one of them could challenge Brown for district attorney?
What is the point of these “elections?”
In Queens County, New York, and in many places throughout the United States, we often have de-facto one party rule. Elections have all the competitive credibility of the Harlem Globetrotters playing an exhibition game against the Washington Generals.
Many of our elections constitute a rigged system in which the opposition party acts like a trained seal. And, in many other parts of the country, we have the same disgraceful situation—de facto one party rule. The party in power, often, will play political games in which they make it well nigh impossible for an opposing party to win.
For example, take our recently concluded gubernatorial race here in New York, which was very similar to the recently concluded gubernatorial race in California, which I visited twice this year. In both races a heavily favored incumbent ran for re-election against a promising challenger along with a host of third party candidates.
In both races the republican challenger gave a good accounting of himself in the debate and then the campaign died. The incumbent—-who had every advantage in the book including tons of money—unilaterally decided that one debate would be enough.
In a rigged system, no incumbent, far ahead in the polls, wants to risk losing the election so he or she pretends to be interested in debates. Then, he or she reluctantly debates, but only once so that debates will have a minimal impact on the race. Sometimes there’s no debates.
Going into the final days of the election, almost everyone agrees that the incumbent will waltz to victory, which happened in both New York and California. The elections were just a formality, as predictable of the good guys winning by the last commercials on some television crime drama. Just about everyone knew what was going to happen in New York and California so many people stayed home.
According to FairVote.org, the participation rate in U.S. Congressional races is about 60 percent compared to some 70 percent in most other developed nations. Obviously, a lot of Americans are disgusted by the election process.
By contrast, although I am sometimes disgusted, I am often amused by the pols on the make who will say or do almost anything to get votes. Then, the day after the election—like a drunk after a bender—wake up and forget everything that was promised on the hustings (An example of this is offered in Edward Klein’s new book, “Blood Feud.” It is about the rivalry between the Clintons and the Obamas and how neither trusts either to keep promises. Former president Clinton is quoted in the book as saying “you can’t trust politicians.”)
So I always vote because I love farces, which is what many of these so-called political contests are. However, I always vote against any candidate who refuses multiple debates or has no one opposing him or her. (I also always vote against bond issues since, New York State, the same as the federal government, is spending itself into bankruptcy. I also think another rule should be to seek the candidate who promises the least).
Given this often rancid system that often gives the person in power overwhelming advantages, I blame no one for staying home on election day. I certainly understand why the average person refuses to hold his or her nose when voting.
It is my belief that in any farcical race—-any election in which someone is running without opposition or with minimal minor party opposition—one should vote against the ruling candidate, the Grace Mengs, Andrew Hevesis and Richard Browns of this world. And I don’t care if the person in question is a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Communist. I write in an independent or some character from the Abbott and Costello Show. Not voting, or voting in an eccentric way, is a form of free expression.
If you force me to write on ruled paper, then I’ll write the wrong way.