American Elections: So Very…Un-American

The 2012 United States presidential election has just ended, and maybe you’re celebrating because you told everyone you voted for Barack Obama, and your man won!  On the other hand, you may be already in the midst of planning your big move to Canada because you wanted Romney.  Maybe you’re not either of these people, and you actually voted for Roseanne Barr (in which case I believe your right to vote should be rescinded).

There’s one thing that links every one of these voters to each other no matter which candidate’s name they cast a ballot for: none of them ever voted for any candidate, and what’s more, they never had a choice to begin with.

You may be thinking I’m out of my mind at this point.  I’m just some [insert-wing-here] nutcase conspiracy theorist who thinks there’s a Manchurian Candidate in every election.  I am, of course, not quite that crazy.  Having said that, the concept may not be as far from the truth as we’d all like to assume.

I’ll start by explaining my first point–that nobody who thinks they voted for a president ever actually did so.  Yes, you punched your ballot card, or maybe you tapped a computer screen that had your candidate’s name on it, but your vote was meaningless right from the start.  There are actually many reasons why, but for brevity’s sake, I’m going to condense this down to what I feel are the three most important reasons:

  1. Your vote was actually nothing more than a simple suggestion to your state’s electoral college officials, or the people whose votes actually count.  There is no actual federal law that forces electoral college officials to vote the way the public vote turned out, and the state laws governing their voting behavior vary, but almost half of the states in the country do not require electoral officials to actually vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state whatsoever!  They can, in fact, vote for anyone they desire regardless of their state’s choice.  There are some states who give small fines (read: slaps on the wrist) or disqualify “faithless electors” (as they are known) for voting against the public vote.  Crazy, right?  Never happens, you say?  Oh yes it has…187 times in fact.  Now, to be fair, this still constitutes less than 1% of the total number of electoral votes cast in U.S. history, so the practice is indeed rare, and the previously mentioned penalties can certainly provide incentive to vote “properly.”  Ultimately, though, you merely suggested your wishes to a random person in your state who doesn’t know you, doesn’t have any particular sense of loyalty to you, and may even disregard your voice entirely.
  2. Even if you assume your state’s electors will vote honorably, your vote is still worthless if you live in a state with a very low population.  This is because the number of electors needed to win the presidency is 270 (1 more than half of the total available).  Every state gets 2 votes automatically (per U.S. Senator).  This was written into the Constitution on the belief that it would help give a voting voice to those states with lower populations.  Beyond the 2 automatically assigned votes, your state also gets votes that are proportional to your state’s population (or actually your state’s number of House representatives, which is determined by your state’s population).  If you live in Montana, you get a measly 3 total electoral college votes (1 for the size of the population and 2 automatically assigned votes).  How many presidential ads have you Montanians seen in the last century?  None?  There’s a reason for that.  Your vote is meaningless.  They don’t care about your votes because it is rarely going to be the case where a presidency is going to be so close as to be determined by your almost invisible 3 votes.  Why would they care about you, when big bad California with her 55 electoral votes is oh so close by?  Of course, there are no presidential ads playing in California either, and that brings me to my next point…
  3. If you live in any state that isn’t Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, or Wisconsin, your vote is still worthless, even if you assume your electoral college official voted honorably and your state’s total electoral votes are enough to make a difference.  California has 10% of the total available electoral votes, but presidents almost never campaign anywhere near there.  Ask why, and you’ll quickly find out it’s because California will vote for an invading space alien whose stated clear intention is to wipe humans off the planet before it will ever vote for a Republican president, and due to the way our voting system is designed, almost every state in the union (except Maine and Nebraska) has a winner-take-all approach, meaning whoever wins the popular vote in that state gets all of the electoral votes, even if they only won by a single vote.  There’s no reason to campaign in the states who historically vote for the same party in every election, which unfortunately for this country constitutes the majority of the states in general.  The states who actually have shown some oscillation between their chosen parties are called “swing states,” and they are the aforementioned states.  Those are the only states where the votes actually matter, because they have both a large enough number of total votes to make a difference, and they might actually swing towards one party or the other.  If you don’t live in these states, then it doesn’t matter who you supposedly vote for, because your state is going to vote for the same party it always does.  If you’re a Republican in California, I can already tell you that in the 2068 election, California will vote for the Democrat, and your vote for the Republican candidate will be gone with the wind.

Feeling disheartened yet?  I’m not even finished yet!  Because even if you want to believe everything I just said is total malarkey, that you actually are voting for the President, that your state actually does matter, even if it has a low population and isn’t a swing state, then there’s still a minor detail about all elections that you will have to accept: you never had a choice to begin with.  That’s right, you were allowed to send in a little scorecard that told someone out there in the ether who you want to be president, but that’s the extent of your total participation and impact in the election, because, you see, the president was already chosen long before election day…by the campaign strategists, corporate sponsors, and backdoor dealings of the rich and powerful.  Oh, I know, I know…I can hear the catcalls already.  I’m not an Illuminati/New World Order extremist (although it’s interesting that a 7th grader recently found that 43 of the 44 U.S. presidents are all related through King John of England, the man who signed the Magna Carta).  I’m not going to go so far as to say there’s a secret organization out there that is controlling the minds and pulling the strings of everyone on the planet.  However, political “strategists” exist for one reason: they can strategize how to gain the necessary votes!  How could their jobs exist if every person in the country had free will to vote as he or she feels fit?

The strategists, and their affluent campaign donors who finance tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign costs, find the target material and the target audience to attract the votes they need.  This isn’t to say that they’re controlling our minds; I would be more inclined to analogize this to a hypnotist.  Campaign strategists devise a very subtle and suggestive way of influencing voters to vote one way or the other, and the voters won’t even realize it’s happening.  Mitt Romney recently caught some flak for suggesting that Obama granted “gifts” to voters to attract their votes.  While Romney certainly would fail a class in political correctness, what nobody in the media wanted to point out was that he was absolutely correct!  Of course, Romney did the same thing, just not as effectively or to as wide an audience (he focused on helping the rich, who constitute a very small minority of the population).  Obama’s “gifts” were to hold off on tuition hikes (gifts for college kids and their parents), Obamacare (gifts to the elderly and uninsured), his promises to women that he is pro-choice (a gift to an increasingly large number of women), and Obama’s insistence that Arizona requiring people to *gasp* show some I.D. that proves their legal residency in the country should be struck down (gifts for those sympathetic to illegal immigrants…i.e. the Latino community).

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying I either agree or disagree with any one or all of these concepts.  I am making no judgment whatsoever (at least not in this blog post) as to their righteousness or lack thereof.  I am merely pointing out that these are all political stances the President takes not because he actually believes in them, but because there was a political strategist somewhere in his life who sat down with him and told him, “We can get X% of votes in Y state if you say ____.”  It’s the very reason why the stereotype of the flip-flopping politician exists.  If every politician only said what they truly believed and nothing more, they would never be elected.  They would never be able to adapt to the changing whims of the mass public, and the public never votes for a politician who…well let’s face it, the vast majority of voters never vote for a candidate who’s not in their party first of all, but secondly, almost paradoxically, voters will habitually reject any politician who doesn’t practice extreme political correctness.  “Political correctness,” by the way, is a politically correct term for “lie.”

Unfortunately for the mass public, and as a direct result of their voting behavior, politicians will say and do anything that will earn them a vote, including lie.  The end result is that we all choose to vote for someone based on an intricate method of hypnosis they have been conducting on all of us for over a year leading up to an election.  There are many people who voted for Obama in ’08 because they really believed he wanted to shut down the clearly unconstitutional Guantanamo Bay prison as soon as possible, as he promised he would.  Four years later, that prison is still quite operational.  People voted for George Bush Sr. because they honestly believed he would never create new taxes (“Read my lips!”).  Soon after the election, new taxes were surely created.  All of these voters believed they were making a choice; what they were really doing was exactly what they were hypnotically programmed to do long before they ever opened their car door to begin their journey to the ballot box.

And now we’ve arrived at the Illuminati argument that I know you’ve all been thinking I would drop on you, and here it is!  No, I still don’t believe the Illuminati controls all of us, but I want to make it clear to you that your choices for president appear limited because they are!  And in order to have a limit, someone or something must be setting that limit.  Have you ever wondered why there are certain families in American history who seem to dominate all areas of leadership, regardless of generation?  How is it that the Kennedy family continues to wield such power and prestige over American politics long after JFK was assassinated?  How does George Bush Sr. become President, his son also becomes President, his other son becomes a governor (and already there’s talk of him becoming a future presidential candidate), and his grandson has already become a vested and influential figure in local politics by his early twenties?  Why are the Clintons the Democrat version of the Bush family?  How did John Rockefeller have personal ties to every single president to have existed during his time?  Why on Earth do we only hear from two major political parties and almost no others?  Maybe you asked yourself, while you were at that ballot box, why there are suddenly so many names on the ballot for the presidential election who AREN’T named “Obama” or “Romney”?  The answer lies in the fact that the same families continue to hold power in this country because those families, and their friends, control the wealth.  They control who will get enough funding and political clout to continue their political aspirations and who will not.  When the country “elected” George W. Bush to the presidency, they were latecomers.  The oil barons and Wall Street elite of this country had decided decades ago that George Jr. would be sitting in the Oval office one day, and he was guided every step of the way to that seat.  We had absolutely no choice in the matter.  He was going to be our president because those who control the power in the U.S. had deemed it so.

Ask yourself why Millard Fillmore was the last non-Democrat/Republican president to be elected.  How is it that the highest office in the land only has two parties vying for that spot?  Does that seem logical to you?  The most powerful position on the planet only has two political parties who covet its authority?  You don’t hear from the Libertarian party, or the Green party, or the Whig party (which is now defunct as a result of the system I’m about to describe) because the media chooses to focus on the two major parties.  Every once in a while an exceptional 3rd party candidate is heard from sporadically (Ron Paul would be the most recent example), but they get only a fraction of the airtime that the major parties do, and as stated, they have to be exceptional candidates (i.e. actually have a solid base of voters pre-established) to even get that much.  Those rare 3rd party candidates who actually make it onto the national stage are still immediately discredited by major media and are universally recognized as not having any hope whatsoever of getting more than a small percentage of the total vote.  Why?  Why is there an automatic assumption that the winning candidate has to be a Republican or a Democrat?  The answer is very simple, though oh so inconspicuous:  the media, the debates, and the political ads are all owned and controlled by a very select few, and those select few are selecting fewer individuals still whom you, the voter, are allowed to see.

Only the rich and powerful in this country have the money, time, and strategists to truly decide who will be the next president of the U.S; the rest of us are nothing more than witnesses to history.