The November midterms are coming soon, and we are faced with a few decisions come Election Day: do we vote, or do we stay home? If we vote, do we vote for a Democrat, for a Republican, or for someone else?
This note arrived at my inbox, and I've reprinted it with permission:
Have seen two different opinions from your group on the Ed Show.
Just want to say one thing. If you don't vote, you are giving the Repubs exactly what they want! If you think that the Greed Over People will change its mind and vote for us next time, you are wrong!
The only way to show them that you are serious is to vote Dem! The Dems are the only ones who have helped us and the only ones who will try to help us in the future! The Republicans will be happy if you don't vote because that's just another vote for them!
You cannot protest by saying nothing; you must speak and speak loudly - VOTE! If you want help for us, VOTE!
(editor's note: CN used quite a few more exclamation points for emphasis.)
CN has a very good point: each vote that stays home is, in essence, a vote for the GOP. Consider the following two voters:
- One votes for a Democrat, one votes for a Republican. The result? A tie.
- One stays home, one votes for a Republican. The result? A GOP win.
Each voter who stays at home forces Democrats to come up with two additional voters to make up the difference: one for the tie, and a second for the win. That's a total of three Democrats for each Republican, and in a year when Republican votes seem to be exhibiting the most enthusiasm, getting Democrats to show up in those numbers is going to be next to impossible.
We seem to be working in a three-party system, composed of Democrats, Blue Dog "Conservadems" and Tea Party/Republicans. We've seen exactly what Republicans have done since the nation elected President Obama: they've executed a slow-motion shutdown of the government, by using the filibuster as a weapon of mass legislative destruction. Ask yourself: where else but the United States Senate does a vote of 59-39 mean that a measure fails?
You might support the Republican Party's strategy and goals. If so, get out and vote.
On the other hand, you might support President Obama's agenda. If you do, and you don't get out and vote, you're not just not helping, you're hurting his chances of fixing the economy and putting the nation on the path back to restored prosperity. Every Democratic vote tells the Blue Dogs that we stand for a progressive policy agenda, not a conservative one.
So, get out and vote. (and for CN, here's the exclamation points I edited out earlier: !!!!!!!)
Update: M.S. at The Economist's Democracy In America blog maps out a strategy for gay voters and the Democratic Party. The same strategy can be applied to any issue... including our own:
There is, however, a way for gay voters to exert influence on the priorities of the Democratic Party. It's the same way the tea-party movement has successfully influenced the priorities of the Republican Party. They can mount and back primary challenges to Democratic candidates seen as insufficiently supportive of gay rights. For that matter, they could try mounting and backing primary challenges by libertarian-leaning Republican candidates who do support gay rights, but those seem less likely to succeed. In any case, this is the way you influence political priorities in a two-party system: through the primary process. There are lots of gay Americans, they are relatively well-educated and affluent, and they should be able to make their concerns felt as strongly as anybody else's, if they apply pressure in ways that are effective.