#881 – Dick Bernard: Election 2014 #1. Six Months to the 2014 Elections in the United States.

These posts will continue at approximately one per week till the November 4 election. #2 is here.
Minnesota voter turnout in recent years:
2006 – 61%
2008 – 78% (Presidential year)
2010 – 56%
2012 – 76% (Presidential year)
Comment below….
Yesterdays edition of the local Woodbury Bulletin carried a Letter to the Editor headlined “Minnesotans face fork in the road”. The writer was “the Republican candidate” for one of our local state legislative districts. She is running to hopefully replace the current Republican representative who is not running again.
This is a local issue, so no need to bother you with details except…(see NOTE at end).
But there is a story in this, applicable to all of us.
The erstwhile candidate, in her letter, predictably blamed the Democrats for all the sins of the town, state, nation and world, and in a relatively short letter managed to convey all of the sound bites of Republican rhetoric, while saying nothing about herself.
Her website is up and easily found, for those who will look, and even there you have to look and find out much about who she really is: a very conservative Republican operative who has been very active in the party and, in fact, was Deputy Chair of the State Republican Party during the time when it was wracked with scandal, almost went bankrupt, and managed to lose the governorship, and majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate.
The Democrats are the ones who’ve had to clean up abundant messes left behind by her crew.
Hers was hardly a glorious tenure as a Very Important Leader of the State Republican party, but she’ll market herself, convincingly, as just a nice local Mom and Churchlady, etc., a person who really, really cares.
So goes American politics everywhere, as it goes into full gear here and everywhere else in our democracy.
A few days ago I was visiting with a friend from a country whose name most every American would recognize. He’s been here about a year now.
He had earlier observed that in his own country there is much animosity towards the United States.
By no means has our nation been a benevolent presence there, mucking around in all sorts of ways in the nations local and regional affairs.
Then he came here, for a year, and he marvels at how nice the people he and his wife and child meet, Americans, are.
Why the very real difference between how America is perceived there, and here?
The answers are complex, certainly, but I said that in our democracy it is we citizens who pick the people who represent us, and we far too often do a very sloppy job of that.
Far too many of us don’t vote at all; and many of us who vote have not the slightest clue of who we are voting for; or we in one way or another convey to even our preferred candidates an attitude: “go ahead and run, but don’t expect any help, physical, financial or otherwise, from me. You’re on your own.”
I’ve written a lot about politics at this space, and something I wrote January 7, 2014 seems worth revisiting. You can read it here.
My succinct opinion in all of this is that everyone of us who are eligible to vote (whether we vote or not makes no difference) deserve exactly who and what we get in all of the many offices we elect this November.
This is an uncomfortable truth.

Here again is the Minnesota election turnout for the four cycles preceding 2014 (and Minnesota is a high-turnout state)
2006 – 61%
2008 – 78% (Presidential year)
2010 – 56%
2012 – 76% (Presidential year)
2014 – ?
The 5% lower voter turnout in 2010 had immense consequences for Democrats and their more leftward colleague Progressives who in disproportionate numbers did not vote at all, or voted for candidates who had no chance of winning, while an energized Tea Party went to the polls and had far more influence than their numbers should warrant in many places. The margin leading to a tip of the legislature to the Republicans in 2010 was in the hundreds of votes.
We deserved exactly what we got. Unfortunately (in my opinion), so did the rest of the citizenry who will have reason to rue the day that they elected individualists to represent us all….
Get to know the candidates and the issues for all of the offices. Go to the meetings. Contribute time, energy and money to the candidates of your preference.
And ignore the damned billions in media ads. They are all dishonest. And we’ll be barraged by them for the next six months, to an extent never seen before.

NOTE: As pointed out by a current legislator in our town, folks tend to be turned off by what is seen as “partisan” wrangling. It is a difficult question. In this state, Republican politics is still dominated by Tea Party “take no prisoners” and “no compromise” policies, and to pretend that isn’t so with the candidate described above is to pretend that this can be dealt with in a non-partisan even-handed old-fashioned way.

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