by Paul Parker
ROCDSA has not published a voter guide this year, and I don’t expect that it will.
The first step in electoralism is having candidates worth voting for. As far as I’m concerned, none of the Democratic candidates on the ballot this year are appreciably better than the Republicans. In Buffalo earlier this year, Kathy Hochul rammed through $850 million of our tax money for a football stadium deal so corrupt it would have made Boss Tweed blush. In the House of Representatives, our esteemed Congressman Joe Morelle has been fighting alongside such legendary dirtbags as Sean Patrick Maloney, Josh Gottheimer and Henry Cuellar as a member of the conservative New Democrat Coalition. In the Senate, Chuck Schumer couldn’t be bothered to come up with any kind of plan for Roe V. Wade being overturned in the 24 years he’s been in office. Besides using it for fundraising, of course. At the local level, whenever our city’s State Assembly members and State Senators have been pushed on public safety, they have retreated to the Reaganite definition of public safety as meaning “more cops and more prisons”.
None of these worms are even pretending that they’ll fight for a better world if they win. Their main argument for voting for them is “look how bad the other guy is,” the last refuge of the scoundrel since politics was first invented. Worst of all, none of them have any urgency about winning their elections. Passing popular legislation in an election year to bribe voters is a long-running political tradition, but our current leaders can’t even be bothered to do that!
At the federal level, our Congressmen and Senators have bent over backward for Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and their corporate masters at every opportunity, preemptively abandoning the possibility of passing any worthwhile legislation in the name of civility. At the state level, our State Senators and State Assemblymembers have abandoned the New York Health Act and the Build Public Renewables Act at the first sign of pushback. At the local level, our City Council voted against even the most basic eviction protections (the three DSA-endorsed city council members voted YES). The best-case reason for this attitude is that they’re totally confident that they’re going to win regardless of how useless they are because of how blue New York is and how entrenched they are in their gerrymandered districts. The worst-case reason for that is that they’re incapable of passing popular legislation even if they want to, because they’re incompetent dullards whose only skills are kissing up to their superiors in the Democratic Party. Either way, they don’t appear to want our votes and they certainly don’t deserve them.
This is not to say electoral politics is a dead end permanently. Quite the opposite; the prospects for the next few electoral cycles are extremely hopeful, especially at the local level. This year, however, I look at my ballot and see nothing worth voting for. The worst part is that even by not voting, I am strengthening the rotten status quo. Everyone knows and accepts that midterm and off-year elections have absurdly low turnouts, so when the turnout for this year is 25%, no one will bat an eye. On the other hand, when one of these rotten candidates gets “80% of the vote”, they will use that as proof that they have some kind of popular mandate and that the people love them. By simply refusing to vote, we are helping them get away with this lie. Therefore, I suggest that readers go to their polling place and use the write-in option for every race. Personally, I recommend writing in Eugene Debs. If a lot of people do that, we will water down the winning percentage of whichever corrupt slug oozes across the finish line first. In Detroit in the 2016 general election, 200,000 Democratic voters voted straight Democrat for every race on the ballot all the way down to dogcatcher but left the president spot blank. Any sane person would have learned something from that.
Because of the corruption, apathy, and incompetence of the Democratic Party, it is entirely possible that the Republicans will win one or more of these races. If that happens, you can expect to see liberal media figures blaming the “far left” for their loss, exactly like they’ve done every time they’ve blown an election. To that accusation, I say: You are correct. It was socialists who tanked your campaigns on purpose, despite not being involved in them in any way. It was socialists who caused the Democratic base to hate you, not your constant pandering to conservatives. It was socialists who depressed your turnout, not your failure to deliver material benefits to people’s lives. And it’ll happen again. If you want to avoid this outcome next time, the solution is simple. Do what the people tell you to do and enact policies that help them. You’ve tried the “make people’s lives worse” strategy for the last 50 years, and it’s failed over and over again. Maybe a “make people’s lives better” strategy will work better.
PS: vote YES on the ballot measure for the Environmental Bond Act on the back of your ballot, it’s pretty good.