Some voters always vote in blocs and can always be counted on to vote as their leadership has directed them to do. Some voters aren’t committed to a certain ideology and vote according to information available to them. Still others aren’t informed enough to vote smartly and are easily duped to vote a certain way.
And then there are those who never vote or fail to vote regularly. That distinction represents far too many Americans. Voter apathy has always been a problem, and is often the biggest single factor in election. Unfortunately, it’s not as big a concern for the right wing.
Like good foot soldiers, right wing voters can almost always be counted on to get out and vote, and to vote with a very high level of predictability. Some may say that’s wrong, and the race in New York’s 23rd Congressional district says otherwise. I don’t agree.
New York 23 right wing voters were predictable, and voted exactly as their leadership told them to do. The conflict arose because the Republican Party hasn’t yet realized that most “conservative” voters now get their marching orders from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh – not Newt Gengrich or Lindsay Graham.
It’s funny, those two used to be on the far right, leading the fringe to become the majority of the party. Now that former fringe is feeling it’s oats, and wants to give up any modicum of center-right moderate accommodation. This past Tuesday’s election results demonstrated just that.
The far right did their perceived duty and represented the highest turnout, but it wasn’t enough to keep Democrats from winning both New York 23 and the Congressional seat up in California. It was, however, enough to win Republicans the governorship of New Jersey and Virginia.
They would like to tell you both results were a repudiation of Barack Obama and progressive thought. While the two races had differences, the biggest single factor was this – a good part of the coalition that elected Barack Obama last November didn’t bother to vote this time. Might not have made a difference in Virgina, but probably would have in New Jersey.
It’s a sad fact that the voter turnout problem has been solved by the right but not the left. It’s ugly the way the right has done it -through lies, misconceptions, and fear-mongering for the most part. The tactics employed have caused millions of Americans to continually and without fail vote against their own best interests.
If progressives want real change they have to find a way to keep the majority of Americans interested in voting with them. The best way to that? Barack Obama should act more like a progressive and quit trying to play ball with schoolyard bullies who have no interest in a real game.