The Rude Pundit went to his nearly empty polling place at 8:30 this morning. In and out in two minutes. The most important thing he felt he was voting for was school board because some candidates are assholes about teacher tenure and some are not. Once again, he voted with a weariness about the campaign, about the inevitable outcome, the hope of 2008 crushed out of him by the cumbersome weight of ads, analysis, and prediction, the pontificating pollsters, the partisan pundits, all of it just squeezing the life out of the act of deciding what direction that nation will head for the next year or two, before the 2016 campaign is under way and all anyone does is what's necessary to appeal to whatever base because, truly, except in rare cases, that's who votes.
In the last ten midterms, the turnout has not passed 40%. In fact, if today, 41% of voters go to the polls, that will be some kind of crazy midterm miracle. If that doesn't fucking depress you, then you probably either don't give a shit or you've given up on voting mattering, which means you're depressed for other reasons.
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit wrote about how the media has broken our will to vote. And it made him wonder: when is the last time the news networks tried to educate us on how to vote? Like actually walked us through the steps on voting?
So he went to the magical Google machine and, in his quick research, discovered that CNN has Anderson Cooper teaching you how to vote...for "CNN's Hero of the Year" (the shrimp po'boy, always the shrimp po'boy). He learned how to vote for performers on The Voice and every other dancing, singing, acrobatic, self-fellating show. Some local newscasts did talk about real voting, as did some newspapers.
The Rude Pundit had a fantasy, one that didn't involve three tan twenty-somethings, a large bottle of lotion, some mezcal, and a Slip 'n Slide with 10-inch dildos at the end. He had a fantasy that CNN, MSNBC, hell, even Fox "news" spent a good bit of time explaining to people that voting was important. In the most non-partisan, so-called "objective" way possible, all would work together to get the rate of turnout up to 66%, two-thirds, which hasn't been seen in the modern era, even in the tightest of presidential elections.
They could air reports on how you vote in each state, each step of the way, from registration to polling place. Changes in the law could be dealt with absent of criticism, even, no matter how repressive or juvenile they might be. Different communities could be featured. Here's how you vote if you're an old black woman in Kentucky. Here's how you do it if you're Hispanic in Texas. And, hey, white college student, here's how you do it. Civic engagement is never not a good thing, right?
Anderson Cooper, Shepherd Smith, or Alex Wagner could talk up how it's your duty as an American to vote. Is that controversial? Don't worry - Bill O'Reilly or Rachel Maddow can advocate for different candidates or against jerk-offs that they see. But the ultimate goal is to vote. Make it a fuckin' crusade. 66%. Two-thirds. One of out of three of your lazy, apathetic, and/or overworked asses can stay home. Who cares who wins? As long as 66% vote so we can look at our elections, especially our midterms, and say, "Well, I don't like that bastard, but at least he won fair and square." Instead, now, a candidate can win a six-year Senate term with less than 20% of registered voters in their favor.
Of course, of course, of course, this will be met with mighty resistance, especially on the right. More people at the polls will mean more non-whites will vote because, demographically speaking, fewer non-whites vote than whites, by at least 17 points. The battle by conservatives will be fought on two fronts: to get more whites to the polls and to suppress the minority vote, much the same battle that's being fought now. The difference would be that, with voter turnout made into a national issue by the major news networks, attempts to hinder voting will be seen for what they are. The Rude Pundit could throw into the mix a push to make Election Day a national holiday or to move it to a Saturday, for fuck's sake.
Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. It's a fantasy, after all, on a November Tuesday before so few Americans vote to harm so many others.