Voting Needs To Impove
Voting Needs To Impove

How To Fix The Political System When Both Candidates Stink

Are You Going To Refuse To Vote Because Both Candidates Are Bad?

Posted by:
Thom Baccus on Tuesday May 10, 2016

Back Roads to Victory




How voters can push the agendas of our broken parties by focusing our efforts down the ballot.


Ye gods this year is the apotheosis of sucking.  Both major parties are electing the most universally disliked candidates in their respective fields.  As a rule, when the voters cry: ‘a pox on both your houses!’  we don’t get the lesser of the two evils; and this year that greater evil is so bad it has me wondering how strong the Cascadian National Party ( (independence_movement) is and if the Timber’s Army ( ) can be effectively mobilized against the forces of Trumpanistan.  It has been almost a decade since I last lobbied for the formation of a liberal bicycle mounted militia but suddenly I am staring down the barrel of the past waiting for a bullet, that came too close last time it was fired.  The Bush era made me the deranged and tormented soul I now am; I cannot contemplate a Trump era.


This country is an awful mess and I can’t look away no matter how hard I try or how many pills they give me.  In fact, this is probably the worst time for me to be starting a new regiment of ADD medication.  Who would want to be focused on a horrible situation such as we now face?


If you cannot look away you must change the picture.  Stop looking at the forest and figure out which of these trees we have the best chance to build a future out of.  If the top of the ticket is septic tank mud vs bile flavored pudding we are going to have to look down ballot, not just to governors, senators, and congressmen; but also state legislators, mayors, county and city councils.  Every advisory board is a chance to change your community; every party meeting is a chance to change the party.


The people who are most likely to get involved in politics are the already successful people or their chronically unemployed children; the people who need to be involved in local politics are the people who barely have time to reshare a tweet.  A nurse and single mother of two does not have time to sit on the local school board let alone campaign for it.  The two teachers, raising a family under a cloud of student debt while serving their community in a position that is underpaid and vilified by politicians on the right, aren’t going to mount a bid for the open seat on the county board.  Our communities suffer from being the springboards of the next generation of career politicians.  Our parties become disconnected from the workers who can’t make time for their voice to be heard.  Those who seek to reduce poll access time give power to employers to leash their employees franchise; you can’t vote if don’t have time off when you can get to the polls.


We need a society that places a proper value on our time.  This not only means better wages and more paid leave but also a restructuring of how we manage our election calendar. Each person only has X amount, and the farther you are born and/or fall from the highest stations of privilege, the shorter that amount will span.  There should be laws that make it so onerous to have (non emergency service) employees on-duty on election day that businesses will simply say: see you tomorrow.  It should in fact be seen as un-American to conduct commerce on election day.  


More than that we should create a system that encourages discourse on every level and finds ways to make involvement easier.  I see applications like Google Opinion Rewards and wonder: if I can earn free Play Store credit for giving marketing information, why can’t I earn an EBT cash benefit (or tax credit for those who do not receive EBT) for answering push polls on policy, posed by government officials, government agencies, and outside groups (political parties, political campaigns, news agencies, think tanks)  Have fees collected when outside groups use the service pay the modest rewards accrued for this most basic level of civic engagement and in that way take all the money being wasted on professional polling and spread it among the broader electorate.  It would also give politicians a much clearer view on how their voters feel about the issues; like cannabis legalization.


To pull these dreams out of the clouds we are going to have to get off our couches.  That open seat on the county water management board doesn’t pay and you’ll have to sacrifice Netflix n’ chill for a few months to get the job; but when else will you get the chance to raise rates on big beverage bottlers so you can lower them on small farms and residential ratepayers (see also: home growers)  Your county Democratic Party meeting might be a collection of people who weren’t bland enough for the county school board by a very small fraction; but they are the people who are going to help shape the local party voice as it decides the local candidates, so who else is going to make them see the dispensary owner’s roundtable as a legitimate business group with the goals of the community at their heart.  If you can’t get your family excited about helping Mommy or Daddy distribute flyers and attend rallies, don’t bother, because that is what family time will look like.  If that price sounds too high consider the cost of doing nothing.

Political involvement is a form of battle meant to avoid combat but it still requires sacrifice.   Time is a dear thing to sacrifice but the longer we wait to sacrifice our own time, and rid this world of its ills, the more we condemn our children to fight the battles we left unanswered.





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