Thursday, November 10, 2022

Thoughts on the Recent Election

You may have heard that there was an election here in the United States earlier this week.

I KNOW! You’d think it would have made the papers or something.

Anyway, I went and did my bit to oppose Fascism in America, since the great lesson of the 1940s is that once Fascism slithers its way into power it is not easily dislodged and frankly I’m getting very tired of the inroads that it is making in my country. I was voter number 964 in my little ward at 4:15pm, which is remarkably good turnout for a midterm election.

And now we wait.

In the meantime, a few thoughts on the election.

1. The much vaunted “Red Wave” that was supposed to drown the American republic in penny-ante right-wing Christian nationalism and Fascist authoritarianism seems to have been just so much hot air, which is perhaps the best a weary world could hope for. The results are historically bad for the GOP in a year when the conventional wisdom would have had them retaking Congress in a rout. They certainly shouted loudly and frequently enough about doing so, anyway. Right now, though, neither the House nor the Senate have been decided. The Democrats, in fact, are slightly favored to retain control of the Senate and may even have an outside chance of keeping the House. We’ll know by next week, I suppose, or at least by whenever Georgia holds its runoff. But the fact that this is even possible at this juncture points to a dismally poor showing by the Republican Party from which they will learn nothing and proceed to double down on their insanity for the next election. That’s been the pattern for over a decade, anyway.

2. None of this should have been this close, though. It’s shocking that the GOP has any supporters willing to be named publicly at this point, as that party consistently advocates policies that are calculatedly cruel, dangerously shortsighted, flatly unconstitutional, and contrary to laws, morals, democracy as a concept, and basic human decency. It does seem that this is a feature rather than a bug for a lot of people, though. Watch your back.

3. On that note, how happy should I be that four out of five Tennessee voters think slavery should be abolished? Wasn’t that supposed to have happened by now? Why isn’t this vote unanimous? Will they vote on sugarless gum next? Enquiring minds want to know.

4. Of course, Louisiana chose not to abolish slavery in their state at all, so perhaps I am being too harsh on Tennessee. Sometimes I think that William Tecumseh Sherman had the right idea.

5. In Haywood County NC they still elect their tax collector – the only county in that state that still does that. Apparently the incumbent was the most competent person they’ve had in that office in that county’s history, but he was defeated by a 21-year-old college student who ran as a prank but had the all-important “R” after his name because bah gawd they cain’t hayve a Demmycrat in Nohth Cahlina. So soon they will have no tax revenue and then no schools, animal shelters, prisons, police, or fire protection and then they can all just go Galt and leave the rest of us alone, I suppose.

6. Here in Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers won re-election handily, defeating the right-wing carpetbagger who promised to get rid of the public schools and jail doctors. I’ve met Evers – he’s the most intelligent person in any room he’s in, so this is a good result. A not so good result is that it seems that Ron Johnson – part-time insurrectionist, full-time corporate lobbyist, and Man Who Yells At School Children – somehow managed to be returned to the Senate in a move that will surely embarrass anyone with more than seven working brain cells. But as Nixon once said about one of his Supreme Court nominees, mediocre people need representation too.

7. John Fetterman handily won his race back in my home state of Pennsylvania, which gives me hope for the future. If you’re not familiar with Fetterman, he’s the former mayor of Braddock PA who did wonders trying to revitalize that dying Rust Belt town, the current Lt. Governor, and a man fearsome of both intellect and mien. He’s nine feet tall, looks like a cross between Shel Silverstein and an entire biker gang, and brings a sharp sense of progressive possibility and incisive analytical skills to an office that had been held by a GOP nonentity for years. So, win.

8. In Georgia, though, the current incumbent Senator – a minister, by the way – holds a distressingly slim lead over Herschel Walker, a former football player whose trail of shocking moral turpitude and incoherent ramblings did not prevent 88% of evangelical voters in that state from supporting him over the actual minister. So there will be a run-off soon. In other news, the number of Americans reporting “none” when it comes to religious belief has hit a 50-year high and evangelical Protestant Churches are seeing declining membership, particularly among younger people, for the first time since Ford was in office. You do the math.

9. Also, it seems that Americans strongly support the idea that women should be treated as more than just breeding stock, as the right of a woman to control her own body was enshrined in the constitutions of California, Vermont, and – perhaps most surprisingly – Michigan. This after Kansas – KANSAS – voters resoundingly rejected a forced-birth initiative this past summer. Whenever forced-birth supporters put the question to the American people they lose, which tells you that they won’t be doing that again. Expect minority rule authoritarianism from that quarter from now on.

10. Gas prices dropped 20 cents/gallon around here immediately following the election. It’s almost as if oil companies had hiked prices to damage the prospects of the party that wants to impose windfall profit taxes to counter their greed (lawsy, folks, even Fox News admitted that that majority of the price hikes in gas over the last year have been directly due to corporate rapaciousness) and boost the party that will bend over and take whatever they choose to do to them, and now they don’t have to do that anymore.

Interesting times.


Ewan said...

Surely if you had just arranged for a few thousand more of the "democrat emergency votes' to have been deployed you could have gotten rid of Ron Johnson? C'mon, David. [I like Mandela Branes, too; I was sad to see this result.]

David said...

Wouldn't that have been lovely?


I liked Barnes too - he's a good man fighting an uphill battle.

All of this is, of course, the glaring logical fallacy of the various right-wing hallucinations about liberal voter scams. If liberals could scam the vote, they'd have a Congressional majority even if they got a minority of the actual vote total.

That tactic seems to be long to the right wing these days, though.

LucyInDisguise said...

We voted for the Democrats. Almost Exclusively. There were four rethuglican county commissioners who were running unopposed that did not have a ‘none of these candidates’ option (because they were running unopposed). After a short but intensely infuriating conversation with the County Clerk* I had to accept the fact that if we didn’t mark the little circles for those obliviots our ballots would be set aside as incomplete and we would have to go in and ‘cure’ our ballots in person. So, we ended up filling in the little circles.

In other news: Dems won two outta three of the major races, but it appears that our Democratic Governor will be replaced by an extreme right-wing (former) constitutional sheriff. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We tried. [s] I just can’t wait so see how that is going to shake out … [/s]

2. I have great difficulty getting my eyeballs into a position where I can watch my back, so, here’s a proposition: I’ll watch your back, and trust that you will reciprocate in that effort.

Canadians are worth their weight in platinum.

3. On a scale of 1 to 10? Approximately a 9.375 (especially when many votes are so close to 50% that they’re now going out to three decimal places to decide the contest.

4, I gotta stand up for the voters of Louisiana here. Even the people who put the ballot initiative together were urging voters to vote against it due to the very ambiguous language used on the ballot that would have created 10X more issues than it solved. Even keeping that in mind, you’re probably correct about Sherman.

8. Math hard. Too many data points. Will continue to observe exodus. With increasing delight, I might add.

10. Fuel prices here increased the day after the election. Diesel is currently $5.40/gal (national average: 5.19).

And I absolutely love the fact that you keep making me [select][right-click][look up] words in these posts. Two in this one: [mien] [rapaciousness] (Admittedly, the first was to see if you were using the word correctly (you were, I wasn’t - I was thinking of the title of a somewhat relevant but creepy book), and the second was just to confirm my recollection of the definition of the word …)

Regarding your response to Ewan’s comment: Your ’Sigh” is nowhere near being large enough.


* The actual elected County Clerk, not one of her minions.

David said...

Really? They make you vote in EVERY race in the election? That's kind of odd. In Wisconsin you can just leave those blank, and in races where there are only GOP candidates running I do just that. The last time I voted for a Republican for anything was in 2006 (because the Democrat running was such a doofus that the bog standard conservative running against him was the safer choice) and I suspect I won't change that record for a very, very long time if ever.

But you do what you have to do. If they're running unopposed, it's not like anything you would do would affect the outcome. No harm, no foul.

2. Deal. And yes indeed, I have much respect for our northern neighbors.

3. Fair point.

4. Huh - that's interesting. I hadn't heard that. It does cast a new light on things.

8. Relief, for me, but yeah.

10. Diesel is a whole other issue, I find. My 15-year-old Pontiac still runs on regular gas, so that's all I end up noticing. Gas is on the cheaper end of things here in My Little Town - it went from $3.79/gal to $3.59 overnight after the election, and is now down to $3.49.

Glad to hear I am exercising your mind! This is what happens when you read posts written by someone who spends too much time immersed in SF/F and 18th-century rhetoric (not usually at the same time), I suppose. Fun words are fun. :)

Not enough sighs in the world, alas. Johnson is an embarrassment - an empty suit kept inflated by wealthy donors and right-wing extremism, and easily the stupidest person in the legislature now that Rick Santorum has retired (and in a body that includes Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Glenn Grothmann (also from Wisconsin!), Louie Goehmert, and Rand Paul, that's quite an achievement). He really does yell at school kids, too. Lauren had a Washington Seminar class in high school that ended with them visiting with most of our Congressional delegation. She came away impressed with our Representative - a Republican who was thoughtful and gracious, even if she disagreed with pretty much everything he said - but disgusted by RonJon's immaturity and rudeness.

LucyInDisguise said...

Well, not actually make you vote every race, BUT, that is the effect. Mail-in ballots that are ‘incomplete’ have to be ‘cured’ by certifying that you intended to NOT vote for those idiots. It’s a rethuglican thing, I suppose.

4. It’s buried about 5 paragraphs in:

10. I paid $4.47 for mid-grade last night after a 20¢ off coupon was applied. If ya go 100 miles in either direction on I-80 you can save about 30¢ a gallon. So, yeah.

I went looking for a large 'sigh' on the internet for you. Much to my surprise, I found this:

Who woulda thunk that idjuts like RoJo could improve our health?

😁 🤔 😳


LucyInDisguise said...


It only affects mail-in ballots in races where the incumbent is running unopposed and where they don't have a "None of these Candidates" option. The computer reads those as missed and rejects the ballot as "Incomplete" and you have to certify that you intended it to be that way. It's a certifiable PITA.


David said...

You can always tell a party that thinks it can win a free and fair election from a party that knows very well that it can't.

Parties that have sound ideas that appeal to the majority of citizens will work to make voting easier, more widespread, and more barrier-free, while parties that don't have such ideas and cannot get the support of a majority will make voting harder, more limited, and with more hoops to jump through. This has been true since the 1820s in this country, and it looks to remain true for the foreseeable future.

I have only voted mail-in once, when I had to make an unscheduled extension of a trip to Pennsylvania, and WI didn't have that provision then. They don't have it for early balloting, which I've done several times, or regular balloting. Don't give the Wisconsin GOP ideas, though.

4. Huh - that was a failure all around, then. Why draft something you know is so flawed that you have to tell people not to vote for it? Unless Louisiana has other people actually drafting things, which would not surprise me.

10. Well clearly you need to move to the oil-rich Emirate of Wisconsin, where we enjoy limitless cheap petroleum products and the illusion of democracy under one-party rule! We're three GOP legislators away from reintroducing public flogging for political dissent, so mark your calendar for 2024!

Whatever health benefits I get from sighing over RonJon's tragic victory are doubtlessly outweighed by the increase to my blood pressure that I get from knowing that a bare majority of my fellow citizens think that waste of space deserves a place in the legislature, I suspect. Oh well.

LucyInDisguise said...

4. If I'm reading that (somewhat ambiguous in itself) article corectly - There's nothing wrong with the legislation - just the way that it was worded when placed on the ballot. The clue comes from "We'll fix it next year".


David said...

I think we're agreeing here. Wording is what I meant by "drafting" - someone had a good idea for a referendum and then someone else drafted the actual text of it. But they did it in such a way as to guarantee a particular outcome (in this case defeat). This could be someone really bad at drafting legal language. Or someone really good at it who wanted this to be defeated. Either way: failure. They'll fix it next year. :)

LucyInDisguise said...

Close enough. Sometimes, it's the legislation that is bad, other times, it's the way that the question is put to the voters. Here in Nevada, if the legislators do not provide the text for the ballot it is written by whoever has the responsibility of putting the ballot together before sending it to the printer.

Weeks or months later when the sample ballots are mailed out there is a detailed non-partisan analysis of the initiative, along with pro/con arguments for or against it. People tend to ignore that part and just decide how they're going to vote based on how the thing is worded.

This can have dire unintended consequences, as most of those office personnel have very little legal training and may inject bias into the question through (unintentional?) ambiguity. I suspect that this is pretty close to what happened in Louisiana.


David said...

I suspect you're right about that.

Next year in Baton Rouge.