#921 – Dick Bernard: The Primary Election

One week from today, in Minnesota, is the 2014 Primary Election. There are important state races, not to mention local. You can learn all you need to know here; you can find out information about the specific ballot in your area here; you will be asked your zip code, and street name, and you can view a sample ballot.
All elections are important, this one no less so.
But this is a non-presidential year, and there is normally a lower voter turnout for the general election, and lower still for the primary.
This is true in all places (other states have their primaries at different times, and rules are also different.)
It is as if far too many of we Americans think that the only time we need for vote is for President; once we do that, it seems, we say to the President, “your problem” (or “your fault”). We wash our hands of responsibility for four more years.
We richly deserve what we get.
Political organizers know that the American voter in general is careless and sloppy and lazy, and this is an exploitable weakness. People who don’t know the issues or the candidates or don’t even bother to vote at all assure the worst outcome.
Here is an example of this dynamic:
In 2010 there was an off-year election in my town, as in all towns. I looked up the voter turnout in 2010 just for my community (which is affluent and well educated) and found that 30% – three of ten – of the registered voters did not even vote for a candidate for local legislator.
2010, of course, was the year of the Tea Party triumph most everywhere.
In 2012, again for my town, this time the district slightly reconfigured due to the redistricting required after every census, roughly 10% – one of ten – of the registered voters stayed home.
30% no-shows versus 10% no-shows makes an immense amount of difference, especially if one ‘side’ is energized, the other side not.
It is no accident, in my opinion, that this Congress, the 113th, is almost a shoo-in to be the least productive Congress in recorded history, and why it is, as a body, generally reviled by the citizenry generally. It was the 2010 landslide for the Tea Party that gave the power to set legislative district boundaries, sealing its advantage far beyond that one election.
Basically, we get exactly what we deserve in any election. This one in 2014 will be no different.
Show up and not only make an informed vote, but urge others that you know to act similarly.
It is the people who show up that matter.

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