Very Deep Thoughts on a Very Important Primary

So, I’m tired, too lazy to write a real post — especially since I haven’t even read the friggen news today — and yet still have too many thoughts floating around in my head. Therefore, I am going to share those scattered and probably pointless thoughts on the primary. Lucky you.

In no hugely particular order:

Voting is anti-climactic. This may be because I don’t have anyone to vote with. The only person I know in my district who I would be happy to vote with is my husband. Unfortunately, he doesn’t love America enough to be able to vote (eh, some citizenship thing) and is reduced to saying to me as I walk out the door “if you don’t vote for Obama, I’ll kick your ass,” while I tell him that I’ll vote for Mike Gravel just to spite him. (um, no, I didn’t)

The bastards didn’t even give me a sticker. I didn’t get one in 2006, either. Where is my fucking sticker? How can I feel righteous and superior to everyone else if I don’t have an ugly cheap sticky thing hanging off of my lapel?

I witnessed no vote stealing or disenfranchisement. In fact, things were pretty dead. The worst I came across was as I entered, an obviously Democratic voter was talking to a Republican volunteer and said “I feel like the odd one out,” and the volunteer joked “maybe its time to switch parties.” Which I thought was inappropriate. But it’s also a very small town, and I’m about 80% sure that the two knew each other. Which still makes it inappropriate but hardly something to call a voting hotline about.

But here is something that did bother me. When you went in, the voting booths were not split up between Republican and Democrat (if they were, the Dem side would probably get a dull pencil and a scrap of paper), nor were the check-in tables. In the very small room in the very small town, they asked you which party you were with and you had to give your answer out loud. This didn’t bother me because I couldn’t care less if someone knows which party I’m registered with. I don’t actually consider myself a Democrat (if that ever happens, the Dems have either become a different party or someone needs to shoot me). But I also sure as hell don’t want anyone thinking that I’m a Republican. I didn’t mind being the odd one out, and in fact felt quite proud and relieved that I have a brain in my head. But I still had to wonder about a person who did mind. Could that keep someone from voting? The thing is, everyone has the right to a secret ballot and accepts that what you do in the voting booth is their own business. In an actual election. Yeah, asking what party you’re with doesn’t say who you’re voting for, but it could serve as a kind of outing. Again, especially in a small town. What do you think? And how does your district do it? Are there better ways? Do you think that this is a legitimate concern?

A silly musing: how is the order of the candidates on the ballot decided? Because In NY, Clinton’s name is right at the top, and with the lever voting machines, pretty much at eye level. Obama’s name was down at my rib cage crowded by all of the other candidates who are no longer in the race but still on the ballot. It actually took me a good 10 to 15 seconds to find his name. That’s not long, but here’s the thing: do you think that gives Clinton an advantage? You know, like how they put Coke at eye level in the store so that you’re more likely to buy it; that works. Just saying.

A largely pointless quandary: my dad didn’t vote. I expected him to, and asked if he did, and he shook his head and said “is there supposed to be a candidate that I like?” Now, first thoughts label this good. I think I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I do not agree on . . . anything . . . with my dad when it comes to politics, and that he is a lifelong Republican. In 2004, he actually considered not voting for the first time. In the end, he apparently became frightened by Kerry’s East Coat Liberal ways (*scoffs*), but he was so unhappy with Bush that he considered sitting it out. Again, this says that progress is being made. Though I still disagree with him on everything, it seems that even he is starting to realize what a sad, pathetic, incompetent bunch the Republicans have become. And yet, I’m still left with the question: should I be happy that my dad no longer feels strongly Republican enough to vote in the primaries, or sad that the one and only other voter in my family is giving up on the political process? My mom isn’t coming around, and you couldn’t get my 20-year-old brother to act like he cares if you threatened to set his hair on fire. My dad and I may have been at each other’s throats over everything (we don’t talk politics anymore), but voting was the one thing that we both believed in.

But hey, maybe the anticipation weariness is making me stupidly nostalgic.

I stand by my previous assertion that I cannot wait until I never have to see or hear Ron Paul’s racist, misogynist, xenophobic, delusional name ever again. No more signs along the highway, or banners hanging from the overpass? No more angry letters to magazines or comments on blogs because someone dared to point out that the guy is severely fucked in the head? Ah. That will be the day. But I don’t really expect him to concede until the very last delegate is counted.

I can’t promise that this will be the last useless Super Tuesday post for the evening, nor can I promise that any others will be written 100% sober. Though I do promise that if I can no longer type coherently, I’ll spare you. Because that’s just the kind of thoughtful person I am.

0 thoughts on “Very Deep Thoughts on a Very Important Primary

  1. Ran

    In the very small room in the very small town, they asked you which party you were with and you had to give your answer out loud.

    At one point, the Michigan Democratic Party had caucuses and the Michigan Republican Party had primaries, so they weren’t even in the same buildings or anything.

    I guess primaries are supposed to be for people who genuinely belong to a specific party and therefore have the right to participate in its nominating process.

  2. Anna

    Cara! Thanks! Your post is a wonderful antidote to CNN coverage that’s been blethering in my ears all night.

    I live in a red state – you have my sympathies . . .

  3. Cara Post author

    God, I’ve been watching CNN, too. Christ, get rid of Wolf, give us some more Anderson Cooper and for fuck’s sake, cut Huckabee off. The sad thing is that CNN coverage always seems to strike me as the best of bad options.

  4. Pizzadiavola

    I was also wondering about how the candidates are ordered on ballots, because I was reading down the list of names this morning and didn’t see Clinton anywhere. Then I got to the bottom, and there it was, right at the end (after Edwards, Kucinich, and some of the other candidates that have dropped out). I had assumed that Clinton and Obama would be up near the top, since they’re the only candidates running now, but since ballots are printed in advance of the primary, I guess that doesn’t make sense. Barring that, I would have thought the candidates would be ordered alphabetically, but that may be the product of too many hours spent working in a library. 😛

  5. Cara Post author

    Yeah, I kind of assumed that they were alphabetical because Clinton was at the top and Obama was almost at the bottom. But I went back and looked, and saw that no, Biden came after Clinton, and Kucinich came after Obama. No fucking clue.

  6. Paul

    McCain is home and hosed – he owes Huckabee big time for locking Romney out of the South and Middle.

    A McCain-Huckabee ticket seems likely which is good for the Dems since Huckabee will terrify moderates away from McCain.

  7. Leeann

    I live in a small town, too, and voted in a primary for the first time this year (way back on January 15th). They just had us fill out a little form that included checking one box for a Dem ballot or a different box for a Republican one. I had actually worried about how they were going to do that and I found it a pretty satisfactory method.

    Also, omg, I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU on crazy Ron Paul!

  8. Feminist Avatar

    There is actually some evidence to support that unsure voters select the first name on the ballot. In Scotland, at the last election the SNP renamed themselves ‘Alex Salmond for First Minister’ so that they could be first on the ballot (the order is alphabetical here at least), based on this belief. Then, there were lots of discounted votes (for various complex reasons)so the elctoral commission people had to investigate and that was something they directly criticised. They said that the SNP put getting votes over ensuring that they were easily identifiable on the ballot (and that important as it was a indicative of the general (bad) attitude towards the election by the parties).

  9. laurie

    On voting in NY–I’ve asked around to my friends in different districts (all in the NYC Metro area) and it seems that the setup on the lever machines was different for each area. For example some areas still had Edwards on the ballot and others didn’t (mine didn’t). And the candidates names were in different locations. A friend of mine who lives on the Harlem/Washington Heights border had trouble finding Obama and the Obama delegates, which apparently were put off to one side and kind of scatted around, but on my machine (in Bedford-Stuyvesant) Obama and the Obama delegates were all placed in a neat row, right at eye level in the center of the booth while Hill’s row was waay over to the left. Since I’m an Obama zealot I wasn’t complaining about my set-up, but I do worry that someone walking into the booth undecided could be swayed by something as simple as which name they see first. Shouldn’t they be uniform? And shouldn’t NY invest in some voting machines that aren’t 100 years old?


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