For sure, it is not a new idea. But to give credit where credit is due, I most recently heard the phrase on The Rachel Maddow Show on Monday night. She was being sarcastic, of course, using this starkly declaratory sentence to lament the way Republicans have been using misinformation, disinformation and outright lies to promote their candidates in the upcoming midterms. The thrust of her commentary: our very democracy is at stake in the upcoming midterm elections.

So, vote.

I googled the phrase Maddow used and discovered a host of examples of how often unseen forces behind our voting preferences have created the mirage that the premise of one person/one vote prevails. Election seasons have long been rife with examples that would lead to this conclusion despite frequent examples to the contrary. Indeed, the first entry in my google search was not from our current campaign season, but was actually the title of an article written by Robert Sheer in The Nation in 2012.

The writer takes on both political parties. The issue then was not the rampant misinformation we see today but campaign financing, especially the secrecy behind investments made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and untoward ways that voters were led by candidates’ super PACs. Another egregious example was the case (of which I was, candidly, unaware) of Pappy O’Daniel from Fort Worth in the middle of the last century—a fascinating read.

Added to the historic tendency in this country to allow ourselves to be duped by charlatans and snake-oil salesmen, since the dawn of the Trump era what passes as the truth has become totally untethered to reality, resulting in Republican candidates whose loyalty to Donald Trump supersedes their competence for governance. Even Mitch McConnell has called candidate quality into question. Candidates who openly disavow Joe Biden’s legitimacy as president and who challenge the integrity of the electoral process or who are unwilling to say that they will support the voters’ choice if it is not them have found favor among Republicans.

Herschel Walker, the Republican Senate candidate in Georgia who is running on an anti-abortion platform coupled with family values has now had a second accuser say that he encouraged her to have an abortion of his illegitimate child. (Her on-camera interview is both compelling and heart-breaking).

If you have already voted, thank you. If you have not vet voted, go to the polls on election day. Vote!

As Americans continue to cast their ballots over the next week (indeed, more than 23 million have voted in advance of Election Day), it is essential to understand that without confidence in election outcomes, democracy itself is imperiled. As each of us cast our vote, this fact should loom large. Yes, inflation can eat us up—especially those who are poor and marginalized; yes, Ukraine continues to experience horrific violence; yes, the new RSV scare is especially scary for parents with small children; yes, abortion rights are critical (really, do you want a “local politician” deciding on your pregnancy?); yes, we have a host of other issues—from gun violence to the crisis at our southern border. But, unless we have elected officials who vouch for the safety and security of our elections, then all else pales in comparison and we risk becoming victim to the whims of autocrats and crackpots.

So, Americans—elections are not for suckers. They are a sacred responsibility where each of us—despite the array of force aligned against us—has agency. Be courageous and confident that truth will win out—and vote.  

One thought on “Elections Are For Suckers

  1. This mail-in ballot voter wishes you had also mentioned the harrowing ways in which election officials, voting precinct workers as well as in-person early voters have been targeted by MAGA supporters, some wielding ‘permit to carry’ weaponry.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.