Show up at the polls not because you are enthusiastic, not because your choices are perfect, not because nobody has disappointed you, but because only by persistent political pressure from below will things change, and only by determining who wins in November can we avoid certain outcomes.
We're emotional creatures. Question is, how do we channel that emotion? How do we make decisions based on it?
One way to do it, the way that is often seen as most honest, is to just let yourself be washed along on the tides of your enthusiasms and your lack of same. We've let that guide our behavior on elections, so we get these sort of teeter-totter effects, showing up for certain elections, especially presidential ones, while our more conservative counterparts take up the complementary rhythm of the midterms.
Because of that, we swung all the way from having a Democratic Congress and White House to having those dumbass sons of bitches sitting on the House of Representatives. Can't say the consequences of that have been pleasant. How the hell, though, do we avoid such outcomes when we let ourselves be the mayflies of our moods, when we let all the disappointments and disillusionments plant our asses at home?
We don't. But then what happens? Well, the public or the politicians get the idea that the whole surge of Liberalism and progressivism were flashes in the pan, deviations from the norm. And in a certain respect, they'd be right.
In another respect, though, they'd be wrong. The Republicans are no more immune to the cycles of political shifts than we are. They won big in 2010, lost in 2012. They also lost in the 2006 midterms. Shouldn't they have done better? Of course they should have, if you treat this cyclical idea as if its some sort of deterministic principle of nature, rather than a result of current habits.
The big trouble for us is this bad habit of staying home. It's a habit our counterparts have only rarely indulged in recent times, with the apocalyptic frenzy spewing out of the mouths of their pundits, panicking them to go to the polls.
Given all the consequences for having Republicans in charge, and the way I would say the results are demonstrably worse, demonstrably corrupting for our party, I would think we would look at our situation and say to ourselves, you know what? Whether I like the candidates or not, I'm going to find the one who comes closest to what I want, who gets me where I need to go, and I'm going to put them in place.
Yes, there might be more overlap between their policies and the Republican policies than what I'd like. That, though, will decline the more it becomes clear that the politicians have nothing to gain from straddling the fence. We can't push the nation left the way we need to, if every midterm we stay home while the old folks show up.
We need to create a consistent condition of our presence, and make sure our leaders in Washington know we're going to show up.
They're not going to acknowledge absent voters. They're not going to be afraid of those who don't show up. They will seek out those who do.
This is a matter of concentration, really The greater the percentage of liberals and progressives at the polls, the more liberal and progressive candidates will win, the more candidates will seek to please liberal and progressive voters, and support our platforms.
We have plenty of motivating factors we can channel into this encouragement to show up. God knows we don't lack for bad consequences of having Republicans in charge of the House. That doesn't end until there are more Democratic voters showing up at the polls in key districts than Republicans.
Let's stop waiting for events to get so bad that our presence is almost compelled. Let's show up because we deliberately want to shift the nature of the electorate. As far as other voters go? Stop conceding arguments to the Right, stop conceding ground to them. Stop resigning yourself to corpocracy, or all that other crap.
Start making the deliberate decision now to change things. It's the attitude that informs the return of Republican midterm voters. Why don't we copy their persistence, so we can turn the tide against it? If those who vote for Democrats in Presidential elections show up, we win.