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View Diary: The FL GOP's worst fear come true: Cuban-Americans in Miami swung hard to Dems in 2012 (144 comments)

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  •  Yep, an unfortunate reality. As I said here way (1+ / 0-)
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    MichaelNY

    back, most people give more time and attention to a new suit of clothes than a political candidate. They have time in that busy life to shop and shop for the perfect outfit for little life events but none for supporting someone that will help them or at least not harm them.

    I cannot count the times when I've heard people the day or two before the election suddenly "considering" and using the mailings, door hangings and sound bites to do so. That is precisely why big money can make such a difference. As we just saw, carloads of money don't make much difference if an electorate is aroused and paying attention. Citizens United would be a joke in an alert electorate.

    Having cast my first vote in an era when the Great Depression and WW II were fresh in the minds of fairly young people, I had the choice of JFK or Nixon, I think more of "the masses" paid better attention. That background is probably why the only elections I've "sat out" were ones where I was too far and too remote for the exchange of absentee application and ballot to reach me. I've gotten the ballot a couple of times the in the next month's mail bag after the election (I missed a couple of little local specials for bonds and such simply because I never heard of them.).

    I do think we have a responsibility to try to spread the old word that every election, no matter how seemingly minor is worth paying attention to even if in making a considered judgment that this is one that can be missed. Lots of those people standing in long lines and having to worry about ID should remember that next time there is some little election that will determine who makes the rules at the polls.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:39:55 AM PST

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    •  While it's certainly possible voting rates (0+ / 0-)

      for white citizens over 21 have gone down (we know, of course, that most black citizens in the South and many other states were disenfranchised until the 1960s and 70s), I would bet a huge sum of money that there's always been a tremendous dropoff in voting between presidential years and midterm elections, and the only way that will ever change is if we adopt the Australian system, under which not only are there no partisanly- or racially-motivated laws or procedures that deliberately create impediments for voting, but voting is mandatory and failure to vote is punishable by a fine.

      Also, there is not the slightest doubt that money is of crucial importance. It's true, of course, that the campaign that spends the most money doesn't always win. However, it is necessary to spend enough money to get the message out, reply to scurrilous, misleading, and downright lying ads by the other party, and get the vote out. Cases in which candidates for major offices win on a shoestring (e.g., Senators Bill Proxmire and Paul Wellstone) are quite exceptional.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:35:34 PM PST

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      •  Agree in part. (0+ / 0-)
        voting is mandatory and failure to vote is punishable by a fine
        I have some experience with a country that has such a system. It also has far more modern methods than ours with satellite linked digital voting systems even in remote areas. Early machines had real flaws in security with almost all the questions about ours regarding software security and such. More secure machines are on the way and they will include biometric ID of voters (this is a country with a national ID card). There is also a holiday for national elections. That has not always meant there is much better politics. In fact it has led to some amusing incidents of popular zoo critters being elected locally (a "none of the above" option). Real vote buying is still a scandal. So, that is not a panacea.

        I would like to see several structural changes for federal office elections in rough order of what I think is importance:

        Required "no excuse" early voting with period, at least a full week, Saturday and Sunday included, and hours set by law with criminal penalties attached for non adherence (no more monkeying about with dates, hours and even places from state and local officials).

        National holiday on what is left of "election day" (since the Constitution sets one) with mandatory "liberal leave" enforced even on private entities (we all know how well those places "honor" veterans and now even Thanksgiving with sales and employees in "blackouts" for leave).

        A "None of the above" option in all elections so that removal of incumbents opposed by really unacceptable alternatives is possible. I'd even be willing to see a hard 50+% line for "none of the above" to win.

        Severe federal criminal penalties to include mandatory minimum prison terms for intentional and/or organized denials of registration or other voter suppression tactics. Do not exempt any official and apply strict liability to election officials such as SoS and local boards. (I would endorse the more moderate voter ID moves in exchange for this real voter fraud prevention)

        There are others, but I think those three would improve participation.

        By the way, Virginia's somewhat odd "year after Presidential" election for top state office was a purposeful effort to do so when only "real Virginians" tended to turn out. If I recall, it was a part of the package to preserve segregation and delay proponents becoming state officials when this was "being imposed" by the federal level. It is a fairly effective voter suppression effort to make sure that an "off year" even greater than mid-term is in place.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:09:03 AM PST

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