Rise up you disenfranchised!

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Only a few decades ago, the electoral map showed 40 states up for grabs, demanding the candidates fight for votes in each and everyone of those states. This year only 16 to 17 states are up for grabs, called swing states. That means votes in 32 to 33 'solid' states are going to be completely taken for granted in this election cycle. In fact, your vote in any of these solid states won't even count in determining the election outcome. This constitutes a subtle form of disenfranchisement brought about by the electoral college which predetermines the race in the majority of states.

I for example live in Texas, a state taken for granted as belonging to the Republicans. Thanks to gerrymandering and redistricting, there will be no contest in Texas. If I don't choose to support Bush with my vote, my vote has no meaning, whatsoever, in determining the outcome of the election. The same is true of a Republican voter in California or a Democratic voter in Montana. So, should we all just stay home?

Absolutely not! And here is why. This year there is a unique opportunity for the 74% of the voters whose votes won't count (that is 50% of those who are likely to not vote and 25 to 26% of those who will in states where there vote is disenfranchised by their choice opposing the Electoral College majority). What if just 5% of those disenfranchised and otherwise non-voting adults instead decided to vote third party, either Libertarian or Nader? Such an action would be tantamount to a political earthquake. Our political landscape would be changed for decades, and the two major parties would realize the folly of taking solid states for granted.

Here is how the earthquake would unfold. In at least 5 to 10 states which the Electoral College pegged as solid, the outcomes would be reversed. Statistically, this number of states would experience a drain of votes from the dominant party sufficient to throw the vote to the opposing party. BAM! No more taking votes and the Electoral College for granted. In those states which would still follow through with the predicted wins, the threat posed by disenfranchised voters for the next election cycle would again, force the major parties to work for those votes in electoral college solid states out of fear of becoming one of the statistically reversed states in a future election cycle.

Finally, the windfall of potential power conferred upon current non-voters and upon third party leaners, could easily force one party or the other to reach out to third party efforts much as some Republicans are now reaching out to support Nader ballot signatures in battleground states. It is not a stretch to see the potential for such a movement, political earthquake if you will, to crumble the barriers to third party ballot and debate access.

Your vote is meaningless if you vote according to pattern in one of the solid states, or if you are one of those who does not support the two major parties and your decision is to just not show up at the polls at all. However, the potential of making your non-major party vote, or losing party vote in your home state an earth shattering event, is very real. Combined with 100's of thousands of others who make a similar decision, your decision could completely rewrite the political calculus of American politics. And nothing special is required. Just go vote for any candidate that "does not have a chance" in your state. The effect could be overwhelming. Rise up you disenfranchised voters, and dictate your terms.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on July 20, 2004 11:06 PM.

We Quit! No Johns! And More... was the previous entry in this blog.

9/11 Report: Bi-Partisanship at its Worst? is the next entry in this blog.

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