There’s been lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth over yesterday’s election results, which put a Fundiegelical wackadoodle into the Kentucky governor’s office, denied transgender rights in Houston, and some other depressing news.
It seems this happens every time it’s not a presidential election year. And there’s a very good reason for that.
Democrats don’t vote in off-years. They just don’t. There may be a lot of good reasons for it — voter suppression, working three crap jobs, etc. etc. but the bottom line is, rank and file Democrats don’t think it’s important to vote in non-presidential elections. They’re not going the extra mile to overcome the obstacles like they do in presidential elections. They just don’t see it as a priority. The volunteers aren’t there, the motivation isn’t there, the energy isn’t there.
Republicans sweep every off-year election (I don’t know, feels like it, at least). Republicans run on amygdala-tweaking issues like gays and ‘bortions and fear and loathing and that gets people to the polls every time. Democrats don’t seem to do that; if they do, it doesn’t seem to resonate. Yesterday we did have one sparkle of good news: the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court. Seems to me people understood the importance of that vote and they made the effort.
This is a big problem for Democrats. It’s why we have Tea Party nutballs in Congress and state legislatures voting on Agenda 21 resolutions. Now thousands of Kentuckians could lose their health insurance as a result.
Democrats, you need to figure this out. Not too long ago Nashville had a very important General Election where we voted for a new mayor. Several of my gay friends, people in their early 30s, did not vote. They “didn’t have time.” Really what they were saying is, they didn’t make the time (although with a week of early voting in Nashville, there’s really no excuse for that). Among those running were a candidate who voted for a GLBT non-discrimination ordinance, and someone else who said they were against such things. You’d think that would have been sufficient motivation. Someone who supports your right to exist, versus those who do not. In fact, one of my gay friends said he supported Megan Barry but when I asked if he voted, the answer amazingly was no! That’s some support, folks.
People, with support like that, how can Democrats win?
Fortunately, Nashville’s mayoral election went into a runoff and I badgered my non-voting friends mercilessly until they went to the polls, and showed me “I Voted” stickers to prove it.
But you know, this is a problem for Dems nationwide. And we will continue to lose elections until we figure out how to impress upon our voters the importance of, you know, actually making the effort to vote.
It seems stupid and it is, but this is something the DNC and state and county parties really need to figure out. There needs to be a public education campaign, there needs to be a real grassroots effort, from the churches to the unions to neighborhood organizations and every other group to get people off their asses. Every election. Not just every four years but every year.
Elections are every year, people! And if you don’t vote in every election, you’re a bad person.
If we can’t figure this out, the rest is just pointless. We cannot succeed with a party that doesn’t care about anything but the White House.