Terrance Heath

No One To Vote For

Filed By Terrance Heath | January 25, 2008 11:36 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: 2008 Election, Dennis Kucinich

Since turning 18, I have never not voted. In every election in which I've been eligible—local, state, and national—I have cast a ballot.

Maybe it's because I had parents who lived during the civil rights era. They made sure I knew what my right to vote had cost. They encouraged me to vote even when there are no good choices. My dad used to say to me, "If you can't find someone to vote for, find someone to vote against. But vote."

Now it appears that in the Maryland primary on February 12 I'll have no one to vote for.

Democrat Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second, long-shot bid for the White House as he faces a tough fight to hold onto his other job — U.S. congressman.

In an interview with Cleveland's Plain Dealer, the six-term House member said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday.

"I will be announcing that I'm transitioning out of the presidential campaign," Kucinich said. "I'm making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction."

Kucinich has received little support in his presidential bid; he got 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses. He did have a devoted following.

So, I guess I'm sitting things out until November. I had looked forward to having the opportunity to vote my hopes in the primaries—to vote for someone. Now, I guess I'll just fold my arms until I know who I'm voting against in November, and who I'm settling for.

And before anyone jumps on me, I will vote in the general election. I just can't see myself getting excited about or supporting any of the remaining Democratic candidates with any degree of enthusiasm. Of those who remain, Mike Gravel is the only who supports marriage equality, but he loses me with his whole tax position. At this point, the least unsatisfactory Democrat in my view may be John Edwards, but I can't work up a good head of steam over him either.

And it's more than "just" gay issues (though I think that's rather dismissive of the day-to-day concerns in the lives of many gay Americans). It's the way the entire discourse has been artificially and arbitrarily narrowed, typified by media efforts to shut Kucinich out of one debate and then another, and to keep him off the ballot entirely in at least one state.

The effect is to take certain issues off the table, and diminish the discourse.

Much is made of the populist turn the presidential race has taken as economic conditions have worsened. But when none of the other candidates were taking pointed stands on trade policy, the mortgage crisis and real health-care reform, it was Kucinich who staked out precise positions and forced the other candidates to offer working Americans more than mere rhetoric.

...One of things that most debate moderators found so frustrating about Kucinich was his determination to talk about the bread-and-butter issues that matter most to working Americans, rather than to play their games. Kucinich forced the anchormen and the reporters, as well as the other candidates, to pay a little attention to the problems of factory workers, shop clerks and farmers. There is no question that the Ohioan's determination to do this influenced more prominent and well-funded contenders, especially former North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

Kucinich never got much credit from the media or the other candidates. But he influenced the national debate for the better, and the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is diminished by his exit.

I'm sure there are people who could tell me, with great eloquence, why I should support one of the remaining—and apparently corporate-approved—candidates. I don't see much difference between them, though, and I'm not convinced that any of them need my vote in the primaries or will miss having it.

But it's not just that which has me thinking about sitting out the primaries now. It's what the process has become, who gets heard and who doesn't, and who decides. It's clear that I won't get to choose the candidate I want in the primary, unless I write-in his name. But it's also clear that I don't need to choose.

A candidate will be chosen for me, and perhaps has been chosen already. I just have to wait until November to find out who I'm settling for.

Crossposted from The Republic of T.

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Michael Bedwell | January 25, 2008 2:23 PM

Forgive a now, unfortunately, discredited comment, but, "I feel your pain." At least to a degree, and of a type. Who to vote for in my primary which is in California—the results of which everyone agrees will have a major impact on who ends up with the nomination? And I want WHOEVER THAT IS to win in November.

1. Should I vote for Obama who throws kisses at us but I've decided after pulling back the curtain doesn't genuinely empathize with us? As President, I think the most proACTIVE thing he might do is trying to convince the Pentagon to shut up while people in Congress try to repeal DADTDP. I think he would sign any progay bills that came his way, but nothing more except, perhaps, try to increase global AIDS funding, though the numbers I've seen are paltry, and, wherever else he addresses it, the issue, even for people of color, is nowhere to be found in his official "Blueprint for Change." And his Sunday School kindergarten belief that homohating lions will change and lay down with LGBT lambs is so laughable Still, are those who say he'd be the strongest candidate against any Republican right?

2. Or Hillary? The shit being thrown at her for her husband's sins don't stick to my belief that she means it when she says she'd be proACTIVE for gay equality and that she understands how the federal government and Congress work [or don't] as it relates to advancing legislation, which, we can't remind people enough, is where most such progress be initiated—not the White House. But the scat monsoons make it difficult for me to figure out whether or not she could win. Did the "vast right wing conspiracy" [and there WAS one, funded by millions from fascist psycho William Scaife, and, to a degree, still is] work that well. Did you cause a kind of cancer of common sense among too many voters? I don't want to believe it did, but my track record is poor: I never imagined so many "good people" could elect/reelect Nixon, Reagan, and Bush fils. And the number of gays still "infected," and not just self-deluding gay Republicans like Andrew Sullivan and Chris Crain whose queer leading for Obama is transparently more motivated by their pathological hatred of the Clintons than any objective view of him. They're still campaigning against BILL Clinton even though, as much as he might like, lol, he's not on the ballot anywhere.
But how much of what some media/pollsters are telling us about her electibility is distorted by their own antipathy for her? Cue Chris Matthews' last startling sexist smear....

3. Or Edwards? Despite being no better on marriage or "states' rights" than the other two, despite the shit thrown at him about "discomfort" by a failed political mercenary with an ax to grind [who admitted, for those who cared to notice, that he no longer thought that was true], I believe that Edwards now "gets it" about us as much as any straight man can this side of SF Mayor Gavin Newsom. Edwards never got credit [even notice beyond these pages] for his revolutionary agreement in the LOGO forum that public school kids should be TAUGHT respect for gays and gay families. While the general public and most media ignoring what candidates cast in stone, that is print, versus what they've said, applies to all candidates, its particularly sad that few have bothered to read Edwards' positions on LGBT issues on his site that are far more action-oriented than Obama's, and relatively more than Hillary's. But even if he makes a comeback in South Carolina or later, can he beat any Republican. I want to believe his populist message could take him there when not obscured by the blinding light surrounding the two Dem "celebrity candidates."

As for other issues, I respect your disappointment, but these three have addressed enough of them that I've concluded that they come close enough to what I would like to see happen. Would I like to see them all agree about getting American troops out of Iraq as fast as ships and planes can carry them? Yes. Would I like them to be genuinely UNIVERSAL in their health care plans? Of course. But I am convinced that none of these three would ever nominate for the Supreme Court—and the next President WILL be put in that position—who is remotely anti-LGBT, racist, or sexist, or for overturning Roe v. Wade and every cell in this old body tells me that any Republican running WILL.

Electability is the question and my crystal ball is refusing to give me an answer.

Like you, at the ripe old age of 58 I have never missed voting in a single election since I came of age, and like you I no longer see any point in it.

I will not be able to cast my primary vote for Dennis, literally the only candidate running for president I could actually feel good about voting for since 'Clean Gene' McCarthy. I have watched in horror as all the elections from 2000 on have openly been stolen and that issue never addressed. I cannot stomach watching even another media pundit trash good people and then ignore them and effectively cut them out of the race.

Unlike you I may not bother with the national election next fall.......I've come to the point in my life where a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil makes more sense to me.

Goddess help our country, it's already lost.

I'm with you Terrance. I stuck with Dennis all the way to the convention against Kerry last time even though he wasn't on my ballot in Indiana for the primary. But you know, our primary almost always just has one name on it. I'm actually hoping that more than one stays in long enough for me to really vote at all.

Just do what I have done in the past if his name is still on the ballot vote for him anyways. More than once a candiate I have gotten behind dropped out but low and behold there was there name still so I voted even if it didnt count delelgate wise.

Now that Kucinich is gone the Democrats are going to try to stick us with either Barak Obama, who openly panders to foul mouthed bigots or Clinton who sat on the Board of Directors for the union busters at Wal-Mart. The Republican candidates are just as bad.

Their theory of a ‘lesser evil’ candidate is an insulting scam. Obama and Clinton both oppose socialized medicine and support Bush’s genocidal war in Iraq. Clinton wants to extend the war into Iran unsing nukes and Obama one-ups her, calling for an attack on Pakistan. Both support NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement but both turn a cold shoulder to immigrant workers fleeing the economic devastation it caused in Mexico. Since the Reagan era the twin parties have double teamed us, cutting taxes for the rich and cutting welfare, Medicare, and unemployment insurance for the poor. Now their deregulation and attacks on unions are sending the economy into a tailspin. The Republicans are just as bad.

In the last few months the Democratic Party gutted the employment protection bill ENDA, dropped buried the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill so it wouldn't be an election issue and refused to repeal the Clinton military discrimination bill DADT and the Clinton bill forbidding samesex marriage, DOMA. The Democrats have been sabotaging our chances for protective laws while upholding bigoted laws. The Republicans are just as bad.

This year tens of millions of others will vote for any left wing party or just ignore the elections because we refuse to be caught in the lesser evil trap. After the elections as the Democratic or Republican Party replays it's dismal record of betrayal they'll begin to splinter and divide. We'll do all we can to help those leaving the politics of lesser evil in a politically less suicidal direction.

With Democrats like that who needs Respublicans.

What's up with Kucinich endorsing Obama? I thought Edwards' politics were closer....

But yeah, what Bil said - we vote three months after Super Duper Tuesday in Indiana. Talk about not mattering!

If you think you have it bad, what about Republican voters?