If Voting Made Any Difference, They Wouldn’t Let Us Do It

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  1. Buck111
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    Buck111 VIP Member

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    It’s Time Americans Realize If Voting Made Any Difference, They Wouldn’t Let Us Do It

    “The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”—Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union
    John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

    No, America, you don’t have to vote.

    In fact, vote or don’t vote, the police state will continue to trample us underfoot.

    Devil or deliverer, the candidate who wins the White House has already made a Faustian bargain to keep the police state in power. It’s no longer a question of which party will usher in totalitarianism but when the final hammer will fall.

    Sure we’re being given choices, but the differences between the candidates are purely cosmetic ones, lacking any real nutritional value for the nation. We’re being served a poisoned feast whose aftereffects will leave us in turmoil for years to come.

    We’ve been here before.

    Remember Barack Obama, the young candidate who campaigned on a message of hope, change and transparency, and promised an end to war and surveillance?

    Look how well that turned out.

    Under Obama, government whistleblowers are routinely prosecuted, U.S. arms sales have skyrocketed, police militarization has accelerated, and surveillance has become widespread. The U.S. government is literally arming the world, while bombing the heck out of the planet. And while they’re at it, the government is bringing the wars abroad home, transforming American communities into shell-shocked battlefields where the Constitution provides little in the way of protection.

    Yes, we’re worse off now than we were eight years ago.

    We’re being subjected to more government surveillance, more police abuse, more SWAT team raids, more roadside strip searches, more censorship, more prison time, more egregious laws, more endless wars, more invasive technology, more militarization, more injustice, more corruption, more cronyism, more graft, more lies, and more of everything that has turned the American dream into the American nightmare.

    What we’re not getting more of: elected officials who actually represent us.


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    "In Charlotte, the lines for the first wave of early balloting in North Carolina forced some voters to wait more than two hours. In Las Vegas over the weekend, voters were still waiting outside a polling place in a Mexican grocery store two hours after it was set to close. In Cincinnati, one epic queue on Sunday traveled half a mile (and then across Twitter).

    There are two ways to interpret these scenes.

    “It does give some indication of the health of our democracy that you have all these people who are excited enough to vote that they’ll wait in a long line,” said Stephen Pettigrew, a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard’s department of government who studies polling lines. “But it’s also an indication, at least in some areas, that there is a problem.”

    One problem is that some groups are much more likely to face long lines than others. Another, according to Mr. Pettigrew’s recent research, is that the people who do wait are less likely to vote in the future as a result.

    Early voters, urban voters and minority voters are all more likely to wait and wait and wait. In predominantly minority communities, the lines are about twice as long as in predominantly white ones, Mr. Pettigrew has found. And minority voters are six times as likely as whites to wait longer than an hour to vote. Those disparities persist even within the same town or county, suggesting they don’t reflect simply the greater difficulty of putting on elections in populous cities.

    “That means members of minority communities are forgoing wages; they’re having to juggle child and family care and all sorts of other things that white voters don’t have to do,” said Charles Stewart III, an M.I.T. political scientist. (In a presidential election, he has estimated, all this waiting nationwide adds up to about a billion dollars in lost wages.)

    Voting essentially costs people more in minority communities, and that also makes them particularly susceptible to the long wait’s other effect. Mr. Pettigrew’s research suggests that for each hour would-be voters wait, their probability of voting in the next election drops by one percentage point. That may not sound like a lot, but Mr. Pettigrew estimates that this means about 200,000 people didn’t vote in 2014 because of the lines they encountered in 2012 (and that’s accounting for the lower turnout we’d expect in a midterm election).

    Even the most effective get-out-the-vote tactics budge turnout by only three or four percentage points, at best. So long lines are a relatively powerful way to influence behavior. In concerns over minority turnout in particular, the public’s focus has fallen much more on the consequences of stricter voter ID laws and fewer early voting days. But scenes like this may matter, too:

    Mr. Pettigrew, whose data also shows that predominantly white precincts tend to receive more voting machines and poll workers, doesn’t argue that these patterns necessarily prove discrimination. Election officials may have reacted slowly, for example, to shifting dynamics in who votes. Historically, white turnout has been higher than black turnout — a pattern broken for the first time in 2012.

    But regardless of whether party officials are actively trying to depress minority turnout — a question litigated extensively over the last several years as the Supreme Court has weakened the Voting Rights Act — the effective outcome of these disparities matters."

    Why Long Voting Lines Today Could Have Long-Term Consequences
     

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