The first election in which I had an emotional investment was the 1976 presidential election. I was only ten years old, but we were Democrats so I got to vote anyway. In fact, I voted several times that day, along with all of my dead relatives and their dead friends. I’m kidding, of course, but it was the first time I cared about an election. I grew up in a Democrat family, but some family members were breaking ranks with the party and that made for some ugly conversations at Sunday dinner.
Despite my Southern sensibilities, I was not a Carter fan. Even at that age, I was a bit of a contrarian. There was just something about Carter that bothered me. There was that and the fact that the hard core Nixon haters in my family were nuts. There was an aunt that always went on and on about her trip to San Francisco in the 60’s. She was well on her way to becoming a cat lady. The big Nixon hater was an uncle, who was big into Kennedy conspiracy stuff. It just seemed to me that Carter people were not all there.
It was also my first lesson in the reality of politics. People don’t vote their interests. They vote for their tribe, their religion, their race, whatever. Carter won in 1976 by carrying the South. He was an Evangelical and a Georgian, so he won on a combination of rust belt states, the South and Appalachia. Even 40 years ago, it was crazy for Southerners to vote for a Democrat, but people convinced themselves he was not a crazy liberal. After all, he was a devout Christian and a Southerner. He could’t be that liberal.
The first election that shocked me was me was the 1988 Democrat primary. I was living in Massachusetts and I knew Dukakis was a joke. How that guy managed to win the nomination still baffles me. There was no chance for the party that year, as Reagan was so popular, even Bush was a shoe in. Still, nominating a guy, who makes the clerks at the DMV sound bright and interesting never made any sense. It just goes to show that determination and luck are what counts in politics.
The thing about that election that will always stick with me is when Bush did his “Read my lips. No new taxes” line. At that moment, I knew he was going to be a fink. The reason he said it was because he knew everyone knew he was going to raise taxes, so he lied. Of course, it did not take Bush long to prove he was liar all along. Little did I know that his presidency was the beginning of the end for the country. The downward trajectory of the GOP and the country started in the ’88 election.
While I’m on the subject of Bush, the first time I thought seriously about not voting was the 2000 election. I was pretty sure Bush would win handily so my boycotting the election would not be irresponsible. For whatever reason I could not go through with it so I stopped at my polling place on the way to work. I was shocked to see so many people voting and the type of people voting. I got the very clear impression that lots of liberals were motivated to vote against Bush. I came away thinking it was going to be a long night.
The funny thing about that election is normals assumed we dodged a bullet, but in retrospect we would have been better off if Gore had won. It would have discredited the neocons and put an end to the Bush dynasty. Gore was having a nervous breakdown, but that could have been handled. We still have no come up with a way to fix the disaster that was the Bush presidency. I don’t know if it will ever be fixed. My bet is a lot of people think back and wish that they had voted the other way back in 2000.
My first non-vote was 2012. I hated Romney, but I wanted to punish Obama so I went off to do my duty. I watched a bus full of little brown guys ushered in by an SEIU worker. They were given provisional ballots and someone who spoke their languages guided them through the process. I stood in line watching it as a fat girl with blue hair tapped at her cell phone. She had a face full of fishing tackle and probably the IQ of a goldfish. Disgusted, I went home without voting. That was a good day.
I’ll head off to vote for the last time in my life tomorrow and I will vote for Trump, even though he has no chance to win my state. It will be the last time we have a chance to vote for someone that is not a nut or a grifter. If Clinton wins, she will amnesty 50 million foreign peasants, creating something close to a one party nation as a result. America will rocket along toward becoming Brazil, if we’re lucky. The crazy bitch could very well start a war with Russia or the Chinese and that could finish us all off.
It was fun while it lasted.