Assessing the 2014 Election Boycott - by Mark E. Smith

Midterms are always difficult for an election boycott because voter turnout in the US is usually lower in midterm elections anyway. But we can count on a lot of help from Obama and his bipartisan colleagues, who have already demonstrated their determination to punish everyone who voted for them, so a successful boycott is still possible in 2014. In fact, several high-ranking people will not be staying on for Obama's second term, so they may have inside information that it will implode.

The Democrats will be pulling out all the stops in 2014 to try to regain Congressional seats they lost to the Republicans, but they'll have nothing to offer by way of showing people that Democrats vote or act differently from Republicans when in office. Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs, along with, more wars, more bailouts for the rich, and increased crackdowns on whistle blowers and protesters, will cause many Democrats to rethink their positions.

Even the extreme right wing may consider boycotting, as they believe that many votes for their candidates were stolen.

The numbers will be a problem. Whereas a decrease of only 20% in voter turnout constituted a successful election boycott in Italy, US midterm elections usually show that much of a decrease in voter turnout in normal years, so the drop would have to be much greater to be of any significance. But it isn't impossible and if we keep getting our message out, it could easily happen.

We need to focus on the quick and easy benefits that a successful election boycott can bring about:

1. IF people refuse to vote in rigged elections, the government has an incentive to allow more honest elections.

2. If billions of dollars in campaign financing can't bring out the vote, corporations are more likely to withhold their funds in future elections.

3. When a successful election boycott demonstrates clearly that a government no longer represents the will of the people and no longer has the consent of a large majority of the governed, foreign governments will reconsider their alliances and international agencies will consider such a government less stable and lower its credit rating, limiting the ability of a government without the confidence of the people to continue spending beyond its means.

4. When a government loses the consent of the governed, and particularly when it can no longer pay its military troops and law enforcement agencies, or pays them in greatly devalued currency, their loyalty can no be taken for granted.

People also have to understand what voting cannot do:

1. Voting cannot influence policy decisions. Even with honest elections, it could only decide who would make those decisions, without being able to influence or bring pressure to bear on what decisions are made.

2. Local and state victories for candidates and issues cannot prevent the federal government from arresting, indefinitely detaining, torturing, or even killing anyone it wishes, without due process, without having to show cause, and without being held accountable.

3. Voting cannot restore power to the people, it can only continue to delegate power to the government.

Progressives are still the biggest obstacle to progress in the United States. Some, like Michael Moore, Daniel Ellsberg, and Noam Chomsky, encouraged people to vote in spite of the fact that the US government has revoked the Magna Carta and removed the right to due process, taking us back to the Dark Ages of the 12th Century. If they call going backwards nine hundred years progress, what would they call regression? I don't know how to reach them, but the younger generation isn't as easily fooled and may be able to get the message across. Progressives don't want to be seen as being behind the trends, and it is younger folks who set the trends.

All in all, we've got our work cut out for us, but I think that we can win.

Boycott 2014!



Rethinking 2014

Thinking about it some more, I've concluded that a 2014 boycott is impossible.

In US midterm elections there is normally a lower turnout than in presidential years, often dipping as low a 40% or even a 30% voter turnout.

So if we succeeded in cutting voter turnout in half, it would still be written off as the usual voter apathy.

We have to focus on 2016.

But 2016 will present its own problems. Having exhausted the race card, the Democrats will probably play the sex card. Just imagine the enthusiasm of Democratic voters if they get a chance to vote for the nation's very first female Drone-Bomber-in-Chief!

Oh, they'll gripe about Obama's cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, but there are rumors that Hillary Clinton may be leaving his administration to position herself for a run at the presidency in 2016. By then the Democrats will have forgotten that she was Obama's top henchwoman and focus only on her adorable feminine ability to bake cookies. 2016, if I'm still around, will mark my tenth year as an Election Boycott activist, and although the message is beginning to get out, there may only be a limited number of voters capable of hearing it. Never misunderestimate the stupidity of people who cast uncounted ballots for candidates they can't hold accountable. It's their civic duty to a government that doesn't give a shit about them. Their loyalty never falters because they are convinced that every other country is worse. Very hard to argue with irrational beliefs.  ;)


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