It’s time to Break It Down!
Let me begin by stipulating one indisputable certainty. If you are eligible to vote and you do not; YOU…are part of the problem!
Occasionally, I believe a post is so time-sensitive; I follow it up with a discussion or expansion of the same topic, from one week to the next. Voting is that kind of compelling issue.
Without a doubt, I laid the framework for defining this conversation in last week’s post. And, just as with last week, this post is a directive, not simply a narrative. The instruction is still simple. The 2014 General Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th. In North Carolina, Early Voting began Thursday, October 23rd, and extends until this Saturday, November 1st at 1:00 p.m. There are four (3½) days left to vote early. But remember, if for some reason, you miss every opportunity to vote early, you may, and should still do so on Election Day. So, dear readers, your mission, and hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians have already accepted it, is, GO VOTE! It’s just that simple.
Historically speaking, in midterm elections, such as this one, voting levels drop off appreciably. This trend goes back at least as far as 1840. In looking at recent elections, in 2008, a Presidential Election year, 57.1% of the voting age population cast ballots. That number was actually the highest in four decades. However, just two years later, in 2010, only 36.9% voted, a decrease of more than 20 percentage points. In 2012, the turnout rebounded by nearly 17 percentage points to 53.7%. Obviously, these vacillating numbers resulted in generating significant public policy implications.
In 2008, President Obama shocked the world and became the nation’s first African American President. Just two years hence, in 2010, in the aftermath of a low turnout election, Republicans displaced Democrats as the Majority in the House of Representatives. That change led to one Chamber of Congress alternating between reluctance to negotiate with or support the President to acting straight up intransigently, and openly working to deny any policy initiative put forth by this President.
The inside baseball discussion related to this election revolves around whether the GOP will be able to impose Double-Jeopardy on President Obama by supplanting Democrats as a Majority in the U.S. Senate. Numerous polls have suggested that such an outcome is indeed the most likely one. I don’t have a Crystal Ball, and I am certainly not taking bets on the outcome. What I will say is, in a Country in which Democrats outnumber Republicans in most states, the outcome will depend upon turnout.
In 2008, and again in 2012, Senator, and then President Obama executed flawless Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaigns. There can be no doubting the skill or facility of the operation. Nonetheless, in 2010, that apparatus remained largely on the sidelines, and Democrats suffered a huge setback. Much has been made of the President’s low poll numbers during much of his second term, up to and including this very moment. Partly as a result of his anemic polling, the President, arguably the Party’s biggest asset, has been reduced to fundraising in “safe” states, and a few campaign appearances in places where the contending Democrats have no doubts about getting elected.
That begs the question, “Will the turnout machinery work on auto-pilot?” After today, we have roughly six days, four for voting, to find out. Here in North Carolina, Early Voting has been attracting a brisk pace. Early indications are Democrats are turning out at a higher rate that Republicans. Given that trend, it is likely to come down to turnout on Election Day. To that end, somewhat akin to the adage, “The job is not complete until the paperwork is done.” This job will not be complete until everyone who is going to vote today through Saturday, and on Tuesday, November 4th, has done so, and the ballots are counted.
I voted last Thursday afternoon during the first Day of Early Voting. I have checked-in with countless friends to ensure they have, or that they at least have doing so on their schedules and/or calendars. As for you, if you are registered and you have not voted already, I implore you to vote too. It doesn’t have to be today, but if you can, why not? And while you are at it, remind, encourage, and do whatever you can to persuade as many others as you can to vote, as well. In 2008, and again in 2012, Americans responded as though it were a Presidential Election year…because it was. This year is not, but if you vote like it is, it could change everything! We are facing a grave challenge today. How will you respond?
There are many reasons to vote. A few of the ones I care about include, in no particular order:
- The Environment
- Reproductive Rights
- Marriage Equality
- Racial Equality
- Human Rights
- Prison Reform
- Women’s Rights
- Global Warming Awareness
- Immigration Reform
- Gun Law Reform
- Student Loan Reform
- Drug Law Reform
- Worker’s Rights
- Voting Rights
- Fairer Sentencing
- Increasing the Minimum Wage
- Reduction of Police Brutality
- Elimination of Gridlock in Washington
I am herewith urging you to Rock The Vote. If anyone happens to ask you, why, or #TURNOUTFORWHAT? Refer them to the list above, or…urge them to pick their own reason.
I’m done; holla back!
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Consult the links below for more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post: