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post-election thoughts

I feel obliged to write something about my response to the presidential election, but I haven't bothered to organize my thoughts into a coherent entry. And I won't. I'll just list them as bulleted quasi-factoids.
  • I voted on Tuesday after work, around 5:45 p.m., and there was no line at my polling place.
  • This was the first presidential election in which I voted for a major-party candidate.
  • We need far more open, accountable voting systems. I just joined the Open Voting Consortium and encourage you to do the same.
  • While I lean toward the conservative side when it comes to fiscal policy, I don't think Bush is any more responsible than a Democrat would be. So I voted largely on social issues (what you might call "morals and values"), on which I don't think Kerry was liberal enough. (Motto: "Kerry 2004: He'll do".) Needless to say, I was especially disappointed at the eleven states voting to ban gay marriage.
  • I know a couple people who will be emigrating from the U.S. at least partially because of the direction we're headed in politically. Emigration has crossed my mind, but not very seriously. Not because I want to stay to fight it out, but because I have a husband, job, friends, and family here, and I'm a wuss.
  • I've heard a number of people theorize about a new political party to replace the Democrats. Challenging, but intriguing.
  • Why is it that the liberal nutjobs supposedly discredit the Democratic party while the religious right nutjobs don't seem to discredit the Republican party?
  • A few years ago, I read some David Horowitz book wherein he said that Republicans could learn a few lesson in PR from the Democrats, who seemed to be so much better at marketing themselves. How times change. Now I hear hope that this election will spark a Goldwater-esque turning point for Democrats.
  • Like many of my fellow webloggers, I feel a little taken aback when I see how socially conservative the "rest" of the country is. It's like I'm in a bubble of tolerance, along with most of my friends and acquaintances.
  • I wonder what this country would be like if the South had won the Civil War and seceded? Your thoughts are welcome. I'd like the idea of being in a separate country from most of the socially conservative folks, but I'm sure there must be some downsides I'm not thinking of. I mean, other than the absence of Cracker Barrel.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
pwinkler
Nov. 4th, 2004 09:50 pm (UTC)
One thing I think it's important to note is that the gay marriage vote wasn't a north versus south thing. North Dakota, Utah, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, and Michigan all passed these laws, and they're not southern states.

If you look at the divide of supporters for Bush versus Kerry (a tangential issue), you'll see the obvious divide: Urban area vote more for democrats, rural more for republican. I've had MANY conversations about this sort of thing with my republican friend, which has resulted in numerous interesting concepts. Anyway, even if you look in states that voted Kerry, it's the same: counties with cities are democrat, counties without are republican. It's especially interesting in places like Illinois, practically the entire state was Bush, except Cook county, which was Kerry. Of course, Cook county has Chicago, and thus many more people, so Kerry won that state 55-45. In PA this sort of phenomena is true.

An interesting quote on Rebelzero's blog said "It's the red states' country. The blue states are just paying the taxes to support it.". I wonder if this is really true... I'd like to see a map of amount of tax paid per area, so I could compare the 2 maps. I'm not for weighting votes by amount of money owned, but it WOULD be interesting to see the results of. Especially since Bush won the popular vote this time, I think the results would be interesting to see.
radhardened
Nov. 4th, 2004 11:23 pm (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply South=Red and North=Blue. But I'm guessing—too lazy to verify—that the total of electoral votes north of the good ol' Mason-Dixon line would favor Kerry and those south would favor Bush.
pwinkler
Nov. 4th, 2004 11:56 pm (UTC)
This is likely true, but, to be fair, that info is probably biased, too... there are many attributes about the south that could be what makes inhabitants likely to back Bush/north=Kerry... for instance, the north-east is practically one long city (megalopolis), so perhaps it's the urban/rural thing.

It may not be the north/south thing necesarily, and the civil war might not have had as significant an impact on elections as it might seem. Also, I dont' know how many of the western states would fair with the civil war thing. That'd certainly make it complicated. Also, Texas is quite close to considering itself a separate country, at least in many people's minds.

I was going to say that it's more a federation of smaller states that won it for Bush, but apparently that's not ENTIRELY true... If you look at the top 11 states, by electoral votes, they pretty much alternate between Bush and Kerry. Of course CA is almost as much as the #2 (TX) and #3 (NY) together, and it went for Kerry, so that makes it sort of weird.

Let's see what the minumum states it'd take to win (I can't imagine any candidate would be able to get all these and not the others):
CA 55, TX 34, NY 31, FL 27, IL 21, OH 20, MI 17, NC 15, NJ 15, GA 15, VA 13, WA 11 = 274 electoral votes, so you'd only need the top 12 states, if I sorted that correctly. Less than 1/4 of the federation can elect the president.
princessleia2
Nov. 5th, 2004 12:15 pm (UTC)
Not because I want to stay to fight it out, but because I have a husband, job, friends, and family here, and I'm a wuss.

Me too.

The passing of the bans on gay marriage infuriates me.

And about living "in a bubble of tolerance," I feel it too. Over the past couple years I even found myself losing perspective because so many of my friends and acquaintances share my views. It wasn't until I started working again with "normal people" that I began to realize that my views were quite liberal and a minority. The outcome of the election is further proof that our bubble of tolerance is far too small.
pylocatabasis
Nov. 6th, 2004 05:02 pm (UTC)
I posted this in Kevin's journal, but it seems appropraite to repost here.

I suppose the most aggravating bits of the election, for me, were:

1) Urban areas are the most directly affected by terrorism. Rural areas are quite safe. However, it's the urban areas who overwhelmingly voted against the man in charge of the current War On Terror, while the rural areas push ahead.

2) I honestly thought I might vomit if I heard "my opponent is a tax-and-spend liberal" just ONE MORE TIME. Am I against tax cuts, for individuals or corporations? No. Hell, taxing corps doesn't even really make sense to me, since a) the costs will just get passed to the consumer and b) it's just giving corporations incentive to move elsewhere. But if you're going to slash taxes, you have to slash spending. I suppose the real irony about people railing about wealth redistribution is that the states who voted for Kerry produce more than their share of income, while the states who voted for Bush tend to accept more than they give.

3) The healthcare issue IS the economic issue. This is a post in and of itself, but what it boils down to is that national single-payer insurance (NOT nationalized healthcare) goes a huge way toward fixing many of our economic woes. One huge reason companies outsource is because the cost of providing healthcare for fulltime US workers is prohibitive. National single-payer insurance removes the burden of providing healthcare from the companies' shoulders, and GM can be an auto manufacturer, not a healthcare provider who incidentally makes Cadillacs. The plain fact of the matter is that we have national health insurance already, but the costs are spread around so you never see a simple column on a spreadsheet that says "the cost of providing healthcare to people without insurance". It's better to build a good national healthcare insurance policy -- where we can see the costs up front -- than it is to waste fucktons of money with the current system, pretending that we DON'T pay for others' healthcare. (And you always will. You can't avoid it. A bill that says "no man should ever pay for another's healthcare still wouldn't touch the issue.)

4) It boggles my mind that people could even think twice when comparing the combat records of the two candidates. Frontline did a decent synopsis: Kerry is a man who volunteered for duty and became disillusioned. Bush is a man who had some strings pulled so he didn't have to go, and then supported the war fully, remaining forever convinced that America's military might would pull through. Do I blame Bush? Hell no. But I'd rather support a man who has been there and then changed his mind than a man who avoided it and never thought twice. A less rational response: the Swift Boat Vets can go fuck themselves.

5) Is Kerry REALLY the best that the Democrats could do? Jesus Christ, I hated the majority of the decisions that Bush made and I was STILL barely able to drag myself to the polls to vote against him.

All I can say, really, is that I'm somewhat glad that Bush won simply because this could very well be the first time he has to clean up after himself. Fixing our economic problems (for real, not by redefining terms so more people count toward the manufacturing force) and getting Iraq back on its feet are both hugely complicated tasks given our fuckups to date, and I'm not sure ANYONE can turn things around. I'd rather let the people who got us to this point try to pull us out, because then they've got no one to blame.
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