Election Day

Miss Mia Sopaipilla, who has seen a few elections,
says this one is in the bag.

My first election was Nixon-McGovern, so I am no stranger to the thorough electoral beating.

Man, talk about taking a header right out of the gate. Forty-nine states; 520 electoral votes to 17; 60.7 percent of the popular vote.

For Nixon. Jesus H. Christ.

I had tried to register as a member of the Youth International Party (YIP), but the county clerk wasn’t having any of that bullshit.

Just as well. After the election Jerry Rubin swapped Yippie for yuppie and became a bidnessman. Abbie Hoffman got arrested for nose whiskey and took it on the Jesse Owens. So it goes.

After that thrashing I figured the GOP had all the votes it was ever gonna need. And so even when the Democrats pissed me off, which was and is often, I never voted for a Republican. Ever.

In 1976 I voted Socialist Workers Party (Peter Camejo and Willie Mae Reid). Four years later I gave my nod to independent John Anderson.

Fear and Loathing, Campaign Trail style

The more things change, etc.

But in 1984 and ’88 I held my beak and voted for Fritz Mondale and Michael Dukakis. By then I had friends in the Colorado political apparatus and had gotten personally involved in a few campaigns, in a small way. Pulling the lever in ’88 took some doing. The Dukakis people I met at a Denver event were some of the biggest douchebags I ever met in my life. They could’ve made a brother vote for David Duke, who was also on the ballot that year.

Gore. Kerry. Fuck me running. I’ve backed a long string of losers. “All horse players die broke,” as Damon Runyon has taught us. Especially if you bet on horses’ asses.

Still, I keep coming back to the track. Why? Because it’s the only game in town. Unless you want to start shooting people, which strikes me as a hamhanded way to win an argument.

I had doubts about that program even when I was a half-assed Maoist. Political power may indeed grow out of the barrel of a gun, but occasionally a fella finds himself on the wrong end of the ol’ smokepole.

And for what? Knock over all the ducks you want, Bubba. The carnival goes on.

In “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72,” Hunter S. Thompson recounted a chat he had with Edward Bennett Williams, a trial attorney and president of the Washington Redskins, who was backing Ed Muskie.

Said Williams:

“If Nixon wins again we’re in real trouble. That’s the real issue this time. Beating Nixon. It’s hard to even guess how much damage those bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”

Thompson found the argument familiar and depressing.

“How many of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame but “regrettably necessary” holding actions? And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?”

Quite a while, it seems. Because here we are, and without Herr Doktor Thompson to advise us. Imagine what he might have written about our latest stinking, double-downer sideshow if he could’ve gotten himself straight. This time around the greater of two evils makes Nixon look like Pat Paulsen.

That said, don’t expect any wisdom from me. Thomas McGuane’s Chet Pomeroy thought he could “handicap the track on this whole shit-heel civilization and truck paychecks till doomsday,” but I ain’t him. Me, I’ve picked exactly two winners since 1972 and they were the same guy.

This election is lucky No. 13. Oh, Christ. I’m crawling into a Sprouts sack with the cat. Let me know how it all turns out. If nothing else we’re gonna need a bigger sack.

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19 Responses to “Election Day”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Yeah. Make room in that sack. Like you, my first was Nixon-McGovern and my freshman dorm room was festooned with anti-Nixon propaganda for all the good it did.

    My only regret was voting for Ronny Ray-Guns in 1980 because sadly, I thought Jimmy Carter (who I voted for in ’76) was in over his head. I no longer think so. He was just in a world of shit with the inflation, Iran hostage crisis, and our long and deep hangover from Vietnam.

    We gave a bunch of money to John Kerry for all the good that did. It was a weak effort. Gave a bucket of money to Obama since we at that point were no longer in the university ashram but were overpaid DINKS and happy to write the check. I not only held my nose when voting for Billary in 2016 but went home and pitched lunch.

    But to steal your quote from Edward Bennett Williams, ““If Trump wins again we’re in real trouble. That’s the real issue this time. Beating Trump. It’s hard to even guess how much damage those (motherfucking) bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”

    So we voted for Grandpa and that crazy lady from Californication. Sigh. Back in the Day, at least I could vote for Gus Hall if I wanted to.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sheeeyit. The CPUSA doesn’t even have a candidate anymore, much less that old social-fascist Soviet apologist Gus Hall. Where are the real commies when you need one?

      • khal spencer Says:

        Old Gus Hall was somehow always on the ballot in NYS back in the day.

        Real commies. Sigh, that brings back a memory. I was on the meal plan my first three years at the Univ. of Rochester. There was this guy, a student, who would occasionally jump up on a tabletop at the dining hall in the Frederick Douglass Building and start haranguing us about the need for Marxism. That almost always led to several minutes of being harangued followed by a volley of mashed potatoes hurled at the man from all points of the compass. It was quite amusing.

        Nowdays people just punch or shoot each other.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ol’ Gus was a red-diaper baby. Did time in Leavenworth too. He was known to do a job of actual work as well. No wonder all us parlor pinks hated his ass. We were intellectuals and in the vanguard, don’t you know.

  2. carl duellman Says:

  3. B Lester Says:

    Dixville Notch reports a 5-0 landslide for Biden, as nationwide results begin pouring in!

    On a lighter note, as I was speeding down County B to work, I spotted a lawn sign that looked like the popular Biden-Harris, but it wasn’t. It was the same colors and font, but no Harris. Even the red “E” with no left side. Except they swapped the “I” for a “Y”, added an “O” and moved them around. It didn’t say BIDEN, is said BYE DON.

    Arf arf arf!

  4. JG Says:

    ooof – my voting record mirrors yours in most ways. My better half & I are heading out for a couple of days camping & riding – with the bonus of no internet or cell service. We’ll deal with this shit show when we re-enter.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Lots of folks doing likewise, JG. Hunkering down and hoping the shitstorm passes overhead. I’m steering clear of the news for a while yet, but I may stroll by the polling place just to see what’s what.

  5. Dale Says:

    There is a lesson that the Donks and their core voters still haven’t learned; and that is that the down ballot races really matter. I worked canvassing absentee and provisional ballots in 2016. The vast majority of the ballots cast for Hillary had no other votes – as if the president can do magic without senate and house backing.

    On off-year elections, it gets even worse. Turnout is lower. The Donks haven’t groomed valid candidates for state, county, and city offices, and get beaten by oafs who have plenty if backing from the dark side. Karl Rove knew this, and that it what he was after for his “permanent republican majority”.

    As the republican voter demographic is shrinking, the party has control of most states and works tirelessly to gerrymander, obstruct, and deny the franchise to the other side.

    We gotta get smarter and meaner.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Or at least smarter. Back in ’16, Billary said little about the Federal judiciary, leaving that huge gap for the Trump voters to pour through as though it was Gen. Paulus’ northern flank.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I think it depends on where you are. In Bibleburg, the Donks didn’t even bother fielding candidates in some races because they knew the GOP had the place by the plums with a downhill pull.

      Here it’s the opposite. You see a lot of Donks with no opposition down-ballot.

      And the BernCo Donks do a pretty decent job of pitching and backing the local candidates. Herself and I sent out a round of cards on behalf of our state rep, Melanie Stansbury, and Herself made a ton of GOTV phone calls too.

      Melanie kicked the pins out from under an Elefink who thought the seat had his name on it. He got all upset, sold his house, and moved out of town, to Oklahoma, I heard. She has a pretty tough race for re-election — this once was a reliably red district — and we’re hoping she pulls out the V again.

      • khal spencer Says:

        A couple years ago I did a tally and something like a third or more of our legislative races were uncontested. Seems to me that pointed out a glaring flaw in the two parties: rather than broaden their tents to appeal to voters in districts dominated by the other party, they just gave up. So we end up with losers like Andrea Romero in District 46 and a nobody running against Brian Egolf in my district. Mind you, I don’t mind Brian except when he uses his power to put his thumb on the scale in other races where I think we as a party are dead wrong, but all elections should be contested.

        But the GOP will only run folks to the right of Genghis Khan and increasingly, the Dems will kill their own if they are not left wing enough. Pretty soon we need a third party to run right up the middle of the field because the D’s and R’s are staying to the left and right of the hashmarks..

        But what do I know?

  6. Stan Thomas Says:

    Yeah, once, just once, it would be nice to be able vote *for* something, rather than against the worst shit-show. Anyway, finger-crossed you guys get rid of that moron tonight.

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