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A New Strategy for the 2016 Presidential Election

amghru's picture

Now that the quadrennial dog and pony show is behind us, I have been reflecting on the failure of every attempt to revive the voice of the citizens in post Citizens United America. The dismal turnout numbers that “More Money = More Free Speech” helps facilitate is purely understandable. I can no longer argue with people who refuse to participate in a rigged system. Yet the potential of this group of non-voters is undeniable. Non-voters have been the Holy Grail of progressives throughout our Republic’s history. The 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th & 26th Amendments were all purposed toward adding more voters and thus strengthening the Power of the People.

For these purposes, a “Non-voter” is a voting age citizen who has the means to vote but consciously chooses not to participate. However, this protest by abstinence is at best marginalized and mostly accepted as a natural law of American elections. Low turn out is never discussed inside the bubble as a systemic problem. There are many reasons people give for not voting but the overriding reason is that they feel their vote will not make a difference. If they know that no matter how they may choose to cast a “protest vote” one of the Legacy Party candidates is always going to win, they don’t bother to vote. If people are passionate about voting, if they feel that the act of voting is important enough, they will overcome the impediments that politicians put between them and their Constitutional Right to vote. Non-voters will only become voters if they feel their vote will make a difference.

My strategy for the 2016 General Election is to give these voters a guaranteed way to ensure their vote matters, an organized “Under-vote Campaign”. Every race, in every election has a percentage of under-votes, both intentional and unintentional. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) counts this. The EAC defined an “under vote” as an occurrence “when a voter makes less than that allowed number of selections in a single race/contest or when a voter votes on less than all of the races/contests for which he/she is eligible to vote.” This chart (page 15) shows that the national under vote in the 2004 General Election for President was 0.91%. Obviously within the statistical models that election official’s use, but what about an under vote of 5%, 10%, 12.5% (approx. 16 million voters)? Numbers like that could not be ignored by the Main Stream Media. It would certainly trigger statewide recounts all across the country. The whole system would come to a grinding halt. It would be awesome. It would be months before they sorted it all out.

This strategy was used successfully in the Nov 6 election in Puerto Rico.

Census Bureau and FEC statistics show that in the 2010 General election, over 15 million registered voters did not vote, nearly 80 million voting age citizens did not vote, and over 1.35 million voters did not vote for either Obama or McCain.

It would send an unmistakable message to the political elite that we have had enough of their ignoring the needs of the 99.9%. It will serve notice to the corporate and financial elite that we can be mobilized, en masse, when the results are immediate and tangible. If 16 million people can be mobilized to vote, they can be mobilized to not buy your stuff.

The beauty of the whole thing is that it breaks down most of the psychological barriers to active dissent. It doesn’t break any law. It doesn’t require protesting in the streets. It is done completely in private and anonymously. It doesn’t require any new laws. The easier it is to participate the more likely people are to participate.

Once people have been empowered in such a tangible and immediate way, they will be much more likely to begin the real work necessary to advance real change. It would be a gigantic step toward establishing the foundation of a true “People’s Party”.

Originally posted at Firedoglake, Tuesday November 6, 2012

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