Why is it that certain groups of voters seem to consistently vote against their own interests? The results of the Wisconsin recall seem to be quite the claptrap for all of us who hoped that the political great awakening, which, after all, started in Madison, would lead to something resembling measurable change. Scott Walker has held on, and though the Democrats have taken the house, the overhaul of repressive labor legislation seems now a pipe dream. Maybe the reinstated governor will learn his lesson; politics, after all, is about compromise more than anything. The fact that he rode to victory on the coattails of wealthy donors, however, seems to suggest otherwise.
What may be more at stake here is the “lesser of two evils” voting mentality which has occupied the minds of us, the more cynical, jaded voters, for quite some time. Granted, I’m young, but I can’t remember or even fathom any candidate who I could unequivocally support. Indeed, in the society of the spectacle, it’s hard for anyone to be sincere on cue: this is true for politicians, voters, and the single-issue interest groups that lay in between. The result is that we, the masses, are inundated with smear campaigns, the very premise of which (“vote for me because anything but that, &c. &c.) seems to be the antithesis of political compromise and the gentle moderation which quietly drives political progress.
Now, as a gushing-heart radical, I am more inclined to see change more like a wave of popular support overwhelming reactionary, anti-progressive forces; though I see this mode of thinking as symptomatic of the partisan polarization which is plaguing American politics, and has been since JFK was assassinated. If you’re voting for the lesser of two evils, you’re still voting against your interests, real or perceived; and though the ideal of manifold educated voters flocking to the polls seems farcical in a country where the turnout rate is below 50% and personality politics reign absolute, a return to real democracy is increasingly becoming a chimerical goal. “Democratic freedoms,” after all, is but another politician catch-phrase to be thrown, consumed, and disposed as any meaning floods out of it.
But I suppose complaining isn’t going to get pot or gay marriage legalized, so let’s stop this and focus our efforts on stopping Mitt Romney before finds out the truth about President Obama’s birth certificate and proves that he actually hates country clubs to get in with the middle class (whatever that means) while Michelle Obama counters by attacking Ann Romney for wearing articles of clothing which cost more than my monthly income.