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My Voting Strategy: Are you better off now than you were 40 years ago?

Mrs. Winters' third grade class, Bandini Street School, San Pedro, CA

I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s.  Back when I was a kid, most mothers didn’t work.  Almost everyone we knew lived on one salary.  My dad was career military and although the work was steady back then, we weren’t exactly rich.  We moved frequently but always lived in nice lower middle class neighborhoods in townhouses and 3 bedroom ranches.  My family benefitted from socialized medicine.  Navy doctors saved my asthmatic sister’s life on more than one occasion.  In the summer, we went to day camp on the Navy base or to the all day activities at Bandini Street school in San Pedro.  You didn’t need to sign up or pay anything.  You just walked over to the school and dropped in without your parents and learned arts and crafts or competed in Chinese handball tournaments.

Meanwhile, the war waged all around us.  We watched Walter Cronkite on the CBS evening news tally up the dead in Vietnam and the dead in the streets of America after the riots.  But in our day to day existence, we were oblivious.  My classes were integrated and I never experienced the gender biased education of kids even a few years older than me.

By the time I reached middle school, the summer of love was long over.  The protest era had ended at Altamont Speedway but I barely knew who the Rolling Stones were.  I went to an experimental middle school in upstate New York, taught by those very same hippies who spent the summer in Woodstock.  They had traded in their long hair and bell bottom jeans for respectable attire and groomed hair but the spirit lingered on.  They taught us the old protest songs in assembly.  But for my generation, that was all ancient history.  We missed out.

My first protest was something entirely different.  It was on the steps of the Capital in Harrisburg, PA, when the legislature had was about to yank money from the state related university I was attending.  Reagan shortly followed, the cold war amped up to crazy heights and anyone who accepted anything from government was considered a parasite.  For kids like me on financial aid, life became very interesting.  Changes to income taxes meant I missed out on a lot of deductions my parents took for granted while I was saddled with a social security payroll tax hike that was guaranteed to keep the system running right through my retirement.

In short, I have never been able to break out of the class I was born into despite my college education and nice salary.  My salary buys me the same lifestyle my parents had.  On one salary in NJ, I have a nice townhouse in a middle class suburb and I pay for everything.  I don’t qualify for any governmental program.  My kid will never get a Pell grant and it doesn’t matter if I can’t pay her tuition myself.  I can’t save too much for her college education or my retirement.  I just pay and pay and pay.  Taxes, mortgages, my 401k and fees that are growing over time on everything.  The greedy have taken over and have decided to extract every last disposable dollar I have and there are no restraints on the unscrupulous or the criminal.

In the past 40 years, the country has been voting Republican and conservatively.  It has been one long pull to the right, at first starting slowly and now picking up steam.  The Democrats have been yielding ground as well.  The center is now where moderate Republicans used to be and the left is completely ostracized.

It should be obvious to people that they aren’t getting what they want by voting Republican but they keep doing it.  They do it because they are terrified and they do it because there was a generation before the baby boomers that also missed out on the cultural revolution of the 60’s.  There were the women who were slut shamed into believing their bodies were their enemies.  They were shut out of higher education and the workplace.  There are men who expected to be at the top of the pyramid and have had to steadily yield ground to the women and minorities of my generation who took advantage of the gains the babyboomers made for us.  The older generation indulges in its nostalgia for a simpler age and vote conservative because Republicans have their number.

But it’s pulling us all towards destruction.

It’s time we re-energized that protest age of the 60’s and this time let the ones who missed out carry that spirit forward.  That means the women and men of my age and younger and the women and men of my mother’s age and older.  Now is the time to hit the reset button.  You might have missed it the first time around.  But you can shake up the country now by sweeping out the powers that be that have a lock on our government now.

My voting strategy this year is to vote out every incumbent I can.

1.) I am not voting for any Republican.  I know nice Republicans.  Nice Republicans are friends of mine.  Unfortunately, none of them are running for office this year.  Republicans are determined to overturn the New Deal and cut social security for myself and my mother.  Oh yeah, they would do it.  They have no conscience.

Those of you who are planning to vote Republican because you are so angry should know what you’re getting yourselves and the rest of us into.  You are obligated to not throw us in front of a speeding train.  The Republican party is now composed of predators.  They’ve picked off the poor, the sick and the old.  Now, they are moving in for the kill.  Don’t let them do it.  You know what their plan is.  They offer nothing but more of the same but much, much harsher.  You know it will bring hardship and misery to millions of Americans and you know that Democrats are cowardly.  Don’t give the Democrats an excuse to punt and sell us all out.  Get tough.

2.) I am not voting for any incumbent Democrat.  Fortunately, there is one Democrat running in my district who is not an incumbent who shares my values.  That would be Ed Potasnak.  He gets my vote.  However, if any of your Democratic candidates were endorsed by Bill Clinton, I’d vote for him/her.  They’re going to owe him someday if they win.

3.) I’m going to seek out an vote for every left wing alternative party candidate I can.  We need new blood in Congress.  I may not share all of their goals but without substantial pull from the left, the government will continue its radical slide to the right.

My goal is to vote out as many Republicans as I can and replace them with people on the left.  My fear is that Obama and the Democrats are hoping the Republicans will take over at least one house of Congress so the Democrats get political cover for imposing an austerity plan on us that they don’t have the courage to fight.  And with David Broder banging the gong for another war in Iran, I’m concerned that they will give in to another bloody mess to distract us and ruin the lives of countless more innocent people.

So be it.  Now’s the time to restart the cultural revolution.  No matter what happens tomorrow, things will never be the same.  But going back is not an option.  If we want to have it as good as we did 40 years ago, we have to move forward in a radical new way.

Now’s the time all of you who didn’t participate the first time to wash out the old and bring in the new.

Throw the bastards out.

125 Responses

  1. Throw the b@stards out. We’ll suffer, but it’s the only way to get rid of the Democratic leadership that said we and our candidate were not needed or wanted.

    • I agree with this statement. But I still do not know who or what to vote for in my election. (Georgia) I don’t think Bill Clinton has endorsed anyone in my state since the primaries for Gov. (He endorsed Baker) Anyway, I just am reaching the point to say fuck it all, I’ll just stay home.

      • I’m feeling this way too – I’ll just stay home. But, I know I won’t when tomorrow comes. I am a baby boomer; grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. I can’t ‘vote out’ Barbara Boxer in my state because I cannot vote for Fiorina (God help us if she wins). I feel that my vote will be cancelled out and help Fiorina if I vote a 3rd party.

        • I’m voting Boxer to vote anti-Fiorini.

          Boxer’s grandson is Hillary’s nephew, but Boxer was one of the gang of six or so Senators led by Shumer and Reid who pumped up Obama as a contender for the 2008 Presidency.

          Boxer is a guaranteed liberal vote on all issues, isn’t she?

          • I’m also voting for Boxer in order to vote anti-Fiorina.

            And please vote for Kamela Harris for California Attorney General. I’ve been engaged for 20 years and I’d really like to marry my partner next year. Steve Cooley, her opponent, intends to appeal the overturning of Prop 8 if elected. I don’t want to have to wait another twenty years because then I’ll have to walk down the aisle wearing Depends and false teeth and my wedding photos will suck.

      • Vote for Barnes. It’s what I did. He’s not perfect but Deal is a criminal.

  2. Yeah, a vote for Republicans sends the wrong message (at least not MY preferred message) …. I don’t want to look like I’m jumping on the Republican Train.

    I’m not.

  3. I was in college ion the 60s, and like many people I believed we were going to have a social and political revolution. You practically couldn’t avoid protests if you were anywhere near a college. I once got tear-gassed after applying for a job at the University of Maryland. I moved to Boston and that night watched as police and dogs chased a ragtag group of student-age people. You get the idea. I just can’t believe that most of those people aren’t still around, somewhere, somehow. We didn’t all become yuppies and we haven’t all given up. I am waiting for the sleeping giant, the baby boomers, to join our children and march to save our world. Okay — you may say I’m a dreamer, in Lennon’s immortal words.

  4. ” Now’s the time to restart the cultural revolution. ”

    This has now become a Maoist site?

  5. I wish the left would launch a third party or even multiple third parties. Whether it be a Single Payer party or A Womens Party or even a Working Class Party or Accountabilty Party . I just want some sort of hope that there might be a time when ideas like the ones I believe in might be mainstream and it’s pretty clear the Democrats aren’t going to advance them.

    • Honk!

    • Love it! Great Idea.

    • “cultural revolution” has a bad connotation for me too, actually.
      I just want reform. A return to FDR’s policies.

      • oops, meant as a comment to FL surfer.

      • You can call it whatever you want but that’s what it’s going to take. It doesn’t mean we’re going red. It means AMERICANS need to take back their country.
        Don’t be afraid of it.

      • The problem is we’re well into a “cultural revolution”. Corporate internationals, doing business in China and other cheap labor markets like what they get there. The revolution that is taking place is a devolution to a neo-feudal system where money/power sets the rules and the working force is reduced to industrial units to be picked out of a bin if and when needed. The goal has never been to raise global living standards, it’s been to reduce “ours” to “theirs”.

        • “The revolt of the haves”–it’s been going on for at least 40 years now. 😦

          • Yep but younger people weren’t aware to see it so they think it all started with Reagan. It started 10-15 years earlier but Reagan managed to speed it up a lot.

          • Ralph, you and I and the other antique flatulences here have the advantage of having grown up before journalism was completely bought and “re-yellowed” into “All-Propaganda-All-The-Time” pro-corporate brainwashing.

            I marvel that so many young people, several of whom post here, still have managed to “take the red pill”–learn the truth– despite having grown up in the Corporate Media Matrix.

          • I marvel the same. To tell the truth, I think the powers that be discovered they could get away with anything during the Vietnam War. All those no bid contracts with the $500 hammers and such emboldened them all to take it further. Now it’s near it’s endpoint.

          • Vietnam and Watergate. If Nixon had died in prison, the elites might at least be more circumspect now.

          • Also, it was the remaining objective journalism in both the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that made the elites decide they’d better spend the money to buy the media.

          • “the Corporate Media Matrix.”

            Love this term and so apt 😉

          • It certainly was.

    • How about a people’s (non-corporatist) party? And all qualified (according to certain sane rules) candidates for all parties need to run with public financing and have substantial ads that discuss policy, as is required in Britain. As for those who try to buy an election with personal money (the Huffington-ex-husband method), there should be a special place in hades for those egotists.

  6. I just got a robo-call from Joe Biden telling me to vote Democratic. (But the call was carefully not endorsed by any particular candidate.LOL)

  7. Honk, honk. Nicely said. And the obvious question, which one is you in that picture?

    • Top row, 2nd from left?

    • I love the glasses on the girl in the top row, second from the right. I am cross-eyed and wore crazy looking glasses all through school, but none quite so perfect as those. Wish is was a color picture and I could tell if they were pink or blue. Back then the glasses were real glass (I think), anyway I was always breaking mine.

      • I loved glass glasses — the kind I had really never scratched and had beautiful clarity of vision. If you dropped them though they would’nt just crack — the would shatter. But they got so heavy (I am so nearsighted).
        They don’t make em like that anymore, unfortunately.

  8. I got 3 Dems to vote for here actually. The two because Big Dawg endorsed them, and the 3rd, my state senator, because he actually went door to door 2 years ago in sweltering heat to meet constituents. Plus he’s ok on issues.
    The congress race though is an entrenched GOPer vs some newbie guy endorsed by Kos, so I will be voting NOTA on that.

  9. I was the first woman in my family to go to college. Most of my family are working class though my father and his brothers broke away and started a small business after WWII. They were reasonably successful, were suspicious of the government, taxes and banks [they’d grown up and come of age during the Great Depression] but were none too happy with the ideas of change I brought home in the late 60’s, early 70s. They were Republicans until they day they died.

    My mother’s people remained working class–fishermen, mill workers, brick layers, printers. Strong union types. Dedicated Democrats.

    So, I come from a mixed family. But my heart has always been with the Dems, which is why it pains me to see what the party has done to itself. That being said, there’s no way I was voting for neo-conservative Republicans or authoritarian Tea Party candidates [I voted early].

    Am I angry with the Dems, most particularly the Obamacrats? Yes, I am. But I’m not willing to put a gun to my head to prove I’m angry. I researched each and every candidate on my state ballot and voted for individuals rather than strictly on party lines. I voted Independent and Democratic. I voted against incumbents [from both parties] where I could.

    I did my job. Now it’s just waiting around to see the results.

  10. I am voting based on the individuals – not the party. There will be some Dems and there will be some Repubs. I no longer believe the mantra ALL DEMS GOOD, ALL REPUBS BAD. I firmly believe individuals in both parties are completely responsible for where we are now. So, I don’t have a “strategy” per se…just trying to review every individual record where I can and vote accordingly. Probably won’t do much good anyway…I never seem to vote for the “winner” (the last president I voted for who won was Clinton).

  11. rd, hope you are doing well NICE post. Another perspective (sad) to this is…

    Living in CA = modest representive democracy
    Living in TX = wingnut feudalism

    I don’t need to vote tomorrow, but I’ll treat my mom to a nice dinner 🙂

  12. Joe Moneybags Daily Newsletter:

    There will also be a lot more Republican governors in office come January. It looks like six heartland states stretching from Pennsylvania to Iowa will trade a Democratic governor for a Republican one. A common theme in all the races is that white, working-class Democrats who tended to vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008 are prepared to vote for Republicans.

    But none of this means that Republicans are winning. The reality is that voters in 2010 are doing the same thing they did in 2006 and 2008: They are voting against the party in power.

    I can hear the Obots now:

    “They’re racists!”

    • Unfortunately, WI will be one of those states. Then Walker will privatize like there’s no tomorrow. urggh

  13. My parents were Eisenhower Republicans. Man, those were the days!

    At 18, I registered as a Dem and I still am a Dem (my definition, that is). I thought I was going to vote Republican tomorrow to teach those DINOs a lesson, but I simply cannot. Even Eisenhower couldn’t vote Republican if he were alive today.

    Yes, I’m voting against all incumbents, as is most everyone I know. Out this way that means mostly Green, although I plan to vote for Gavin Newsom.

  14. In short, I have never been able to break out of the class I was born into despite my college education and nice salary. My salary buys me the same lifestyle my parents had….
    This graph summarizes the effect that Rethug economic policies have had on the “middle class” over the past 30 years. This true situation is even worse. The graph shows income rather then “wealth” and the redistribution to the 1% is worse in 2010 than 2005. The Clinton years were the only time the middle class did better.


    The Rethug/Reagan message of “Welfare Queens and Socialism” has been very effective in getting many Americans to support economic policies that redistribute income and wealth to the 1%.

  15. I read this and am STILL envious of those who can vote 3rd party. Our “top 2” primary system pretty much ensures the choices are Democrat and Republican and “write in”.

    My answer was to “write in”.

  16. There have been a lot of dumb things said in the past few years, but this one has to be in the top ten. Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei of Politico did a hit piece on Sarah Palin and included this line:

    Still, she has never faced serious criticism in public in a campaign setting, and it’s impossible to anticipate how she would react to it — or whether she would want to give up the money and celebrity to put herself through that.

    WTF? Where were they in 2008?

    • That’s funny! Maybe they have come to realize that the criticism wasn’t “serious”?

      • Nah, they just know that criticizing women doesn’t count. That whole hit piece is about how the GOP establishment’s big job now is to “Stop Palin”. I like it that any “establishment” fears someone that much.

    • They were in Alaska, rummaging through her garbage.

    • There you go again, working for the Palin campaign.

      Actually, the worst part is that all the sources were completely anonymous, and probably all working for Romney.

    • Good quote.

      On Monday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin mocked her media detractors – Politico, specifically — as “puppy-kicking, chain-smoking porn producers” for their heavy use of anonymous sources

      • Full quote…ouch…

        “I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers…really, they are… I’ve seen it myself…but I’ll only give you the information off-the-record, on deep, deep background; attribute these ‘facts’ to an ‘anonymous source’ and I’ll give you more.”

  17. Throw the bums out it is!

  18. Obama prepared to dust off veto pen should GOP take the House

    Hello? There are TWO HOUSES OF CONGRESS.

    If Democrats keep the Senate why would Obama need to veto anything?

  19. I am scared of the austerity that I know the republicans want to impose and still give themselves a tax breaks. I think if they do that the people will riot. I hope they are ready for it.
    People are so much more engaged! I voting hoping to blow Obama image within the party so he will be asked not to run and that will leave the “draft Hillary” movement an opening.

  20. Oh Goody!

    I got an email from Jane Hamsandwich:

    Hi Myiq2xu,

    We’ve received urgent requests from Hispanic community leaders for a Spanish language version of our phone banking tool to help get out the vote, and we need your help.

    Shadowy Republican groups have flooded the airwaves with ads urging Latino voters not to vote. But their participation in this election is critical.

    Can you chip in $5 or more to help us get Latino voters to the polls tomorrow?

    No tengo dinero

  21. Voting for women. Regardless of party. No race with two women running so the choices are clear. Hope to send the only woman in the MA delegation back to Washington. A vote to remove all incumbents must not include our only woman.

  22. Clueless CNN

    Washington (CNN) — The number of Americans who say things are going badly in the country, at 75 percent, is higher than it has been on the eve of any midterm election since the question was first asked in the mid-1970s, according to a new national poll.

    A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that the economy remains, by far, the top issue on the minds of Americans. Fifty-two percent of people questioned say the economy’s the most important issue facing the country.

    The idiots seem surprised by it all.

    • I’m sure they are surprised. They got theirs.

      • Exactly. They have no idea of what life is like for the vast majority of Americans, and dare I say, they don’t share the values, either. They are in some kind of weird, esoteric cloud. Or they’re just mindless drones repeating the lines they are given. You pick, I can’t decide.

  23. Fortunately, I don’t have any tough decisions to make tomorrow. The Big Dawg was here early this morning campaigning for my district rep–Scott Murphy–who took over after Senator Gillibrand inherited HRC’s seat. Both Gillibrand and Clinton were flanking Scott today, who was 17 points up and is now behind within one month. Not a good situation. Gillibrand also definitely gets my vote. She is a mini-Hillary–it’s in her blood. Wonky to the core, tireless, and dedicated to her role as a representative. She has had far more courage and principle as a new Senator than Obama with all his fancy rhetoric and power–stepping forward to fight Stupak and push them on DADT among other things.

    No matter how you look at it, it’s depressing as hell. To think we had such an opportunity two years ago, and now it’s this dark. The economy is really frightening for many, and we have either cowardly hypocritical leadership on one side or…the alternative. Nothing to celebrate here.

    • I’m happy for you to have a chance to vote for someone like Gillibrand, who I agree has been a shining light in the Congress. For me, ugh. The choices are not very inspiring in California.

  24. The only thing to say:

    “Republicans are a Cookbook!!!!”

  25. Here’s my entry for today in the Oregon Annals of Dumb — Sending out property tax bills that are higher than last year’s taxes to homeowners who very probably are underwater on their homes thanks to the housing market. And sending those bills out so that they arrive around the same time as our vote-by-mail ballots. Gee, I wonder how our statewide races are going to turn out?(*)

    Topic? I loved this piece. Will add my voice to say that I *almost* escaped the class of my birth — until I had kids. Between the day care, the health care, and the inadequate amount we are able to save for their educations, it’s mathematically impossible for us to get ahead, and increasingly difficult even to tread water.

    (*)Yes, I know a lot of the reasons that people are getting sc*rewed on the property taxes relate to voter-approved initiatives of decades gone by that nobody can do much about. But I don’t think that most folks are going to care much about that when they are writing out those big checks. For the last couple of months, I have basically been working pretty much to pay the taxes. And that just is not sitting very well, because they just go up and up and up even though I am making about the same or a little less year-to-year.

  26. The notion is that Democrats know they have the female and minority vote and they take it for granted. The ‘Just shut up and vote Democrat’ mantra seems to be working.

  27. I live in Florida, so there are a couple of interesting races that might actually motivate me to go vote.

    In the governor’s race, an intelligent and experienced Democratic woman is trailing a tea party billionaire with a long record of fraud and deceit. Senate is a joke: the ineffectual Kendrick Meek has run a sloppy campaign that fell behind early, and the shameless opportunist Charlie Crist is trying to portray himself as the man of principle in the race. It’s all for nothing, though, since the tebagger Marco Rubio has it all locked up.

    I’m very glad to be heading to Italy for a long-term work assignment on Friday morning. It’ll be interesting to see what’s left of the place when I return in the spring.

  28. I’m not voting GOP, but it’s depressing. In order to throw the b@stards out we help other voters give the baton to the GOP; we’re a two party system. Let the bloodletting of the corrupt Democratic Party begin. American independent voters know it. Most don’t like the GOP either.

  29. A good lefty friend of mine emailed me a post titled “In Case You Are Thinking of Not Voting” with a link to some Oberman show.

    Since my anger management skills are slim to nonexistent, I teed off, explaining that I Never think about not voting but am not going to be scared one more time by the Dems” “But The World Will End If You Don’t Vote For Us” game.

    So I riffed on a bit about O pissing away the largest Dem House Majority EVAH (I think) and the majority Senate and said I would shed no tears if the Dems lost a load of seats.

    Click….Click…crickets from the original sender. But, since I had BCC’s the original message and my reply to several other lefty friends, I did hear from one person. She supported Hillary, but reluctantly voted for Obama in the general. Her worry was about her local liberal rep losing….i.e., the bathwater oops, lost the baby syndrome.

    I checked this morning on a good link & found her Rep has an 80% chance of reelection. Whew….I’m glad because he wuz my Rep at one time too.

    Still, what say you? Are you ready to lose some of the good, along with the bad and the ugly? I am, but acknowledge it is a high price. If some of these folks lose, any chance of bringing them into a more leftward party?

  30. Speaking of ‘face-palm’ Obama is doing an Election Day interview with Ryan Seacrest.


    Does anyone have the ability to steer him from these type of events? I guess being the coolest guy in the room is more important than leader of the free world.

    And notice that label isn’t used much with Obama….while it was used with Bush when he was being all Dubya-like. Whether that means leading/lying us into war or ripping the Constitution into bits. It was still a topic of debate. A bad President and the world-wide implications. That debate has changed.

    Yahoo search, because Google likes to scrub results, inspired by Obama’s Seacrest interview.

    “Leader of the Free World” + Bush = 79 million results.

    Compared to……. + Obama = 234,000 results. Ouch.

    • Ha ha ha!!!!!!!
      How many teevee shows does that make now? The View, Mythbusters (not yet aired), MTV, Jon Stewart, now Ryan Seacrest….
      Is he trying to compete with Ricky Hollywood? Pathetic.
      It’s not like he’s got an economy to save or a nation to protect or anything like that …

      • Don’t forget all the cook shows last year. I remember because there was a cook show they wanted to snub with astounding malice “Let’s F* her” alegedly Obama said at the time – as that particular cook had a Faux following and was ‘not cooking healthy”. So he smote her!

    • did you try “follower of the free world”?

    • His fawning audiences are getting harder to come by. What’s next? Dancing with the Stars?

  31. As an Australian I find US politics fascinating although not without its flaws. Whatever the outcome, the world is a better place when America is at its best. It may be wishful thinking, but let’s hope that after the heat has come out of this bitterly divisive campaign that some semblance of unity can be harnessed to appropriately govern one of the world’s great democracies. You can read my take on the mid terns here – http://danieljames.com.au/?p=1055

    • The American MSM view is near identical to your own. You should suspect your sources mate, they’re a bit buggy.

    • Didn’t you guys send us Rupert Murdock? Thanks for nuthin’, buddy.


  32. This post is so very painful and accurate.

  33. OT, but you went to Bandini School? I grew up in Wilmington, then moved to Pedro and went to San Pedro HS. Of course, today I’m in SF, celebrating a World Series win.

    I always enjoy your work!

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