Stupid Tuesday and the Voter’s Quandary

Posted on March 7, 2016


Hubby and Lila went to the polls on Super Tuesday.   It felt more like Stupid Tuesday.

You know, during general elections, there is a scrum of activity that assaults your eyes and ears all the way up to the “no campaigning beyond this point” sign:   posters, campaign workers, pamphlets and last-second slogans urging you on how to use your vote, as if you somehow have arrived at the polling place with no idea of what you are there for.

All of that was completely absent last Tuesday.  You might as well have had tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lot, and crickets chirping on the walk toward the door.  Hubby and I had a wait of all of about 20 seconds to get our ballots, and our choice of any of the voting booths in the place.  Hubby noted that we were only about the 520th and 521st people to vote – and this was not early in the day, either.

I know that primary elections are more sparsely attended than general elections, so – as my brother likes to point out – this is where your vote makes even more difference in which candidates actually make it to the general election.  But never have I showed up for any election actually trying to strategize who I should vote for in the hopes of getting the worst of the bunch knocked out of the race.  Yes, I did somehow arrive at the polling place with no idea of what I was there for.  Did I want the Democratic ballot, or the Republican one?  Ummm… gosh.  Choices, choices.  Which candidate would I rather try to knock out of the race?  Which candidate actually seems like the least awful of the available awfuls?

Yes, this election cycle is different.  Disturbingly, horribly different.   Usually I go into the general election feeling like I have to pick the lesser of two evils, but at least I still feel like I can cast a vote for somebody.   This election cycle, there is really no one in the bunch that I want for President.  Not even as a lesser-of-the-evils kind of choice.  And the worst thing of all is that it looks like it will all come down to Trump and Clinton.   I see this as a repudiation of our party system and all of its strange bells and whistles.  Hubby fears it may even be a repudiation of our peculiar brand of democracy.

I have previously taken issue with the unfairness of the Electoral College.  Our system of party conventions and caucuses and delegates is an issue, too.  All of these cogs and wheels and Rube Goldberg-like mechanisms muddy the real will of the people, and as the 2000 election showed, it is even possible to lose the popular vote and still win the election.  How can that be right?  And don’t even get me started on electronic voting machines and their problems.  I hardly have faith any more that my vote is even properly recorded, much less that it does any good.

But still, I trudge off to the polling place and fill out a ballot and hope that somehow, we don’t end up with some kind of leadership disaster.

By the way, I cast my vote, and it didn’t change the outcome one bit.  It did not go my way at all.  But at least I can console myself that it wasn’t just by one vote… my vote.  Then I really wouldn’t be able to face myself in the mirror.