Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Nobody for President in 1996

Jerry Stratton, July 13, 1996

Everyone, almost literally, complains that there’s nobody to vote for. In polls, we say right up front that Bill Clinton is a liar and a cheat, that he has no character worth speaking of. But we’ll vote for him anyway. Others say the same about Bob Dole--and they’ll vote for him as well.


Because you don’t think your vote will count otherwise? I’ve got news for you: if you’re willing to vote for a candidate under those circumstances, your vote doesn’t count anyway. These politicians take your vote for granted. As long as they don’t have to worry about you taking your vote elsewhere, they’ll never get any better.

  • If you’re a black, Bill Clinton takes your vote for granted. It’s his, he deserves it, and he’ll tell you that in no uncertain terms as he hands you off to the U.S. prison system.
  • If you’re a gun owner, Bob Dole takes your vote for granted. What’re you gonna do, vote for Clinton? You’ve got nowhere to go and he knows it, and he can kick you whenever he feels like it. You’ll lick his feet and come back for more.
  • And if you’re a black gun owner, they’ll still get you. Both candidates want to take your gun away. Nobody likes an independent nigger.
  • If you’re gay, what’re you gonna do, vote for Bob Dole?
  • If you’re pro-life, what’re you gonna do, vote for Clinton?
  • If you’re a marijuana smoker, what’re you gonna do, vote for Bob Dole?
  • You smoke tobacco and you’re going to vote for Bill Clinton? Why not just hie yourself down to the local slammer right now and save him the effort?

And what’s going to happen is that yet again, record numbers of us are going to stay home and completely ignore the elections.

We don’t want to vote for the Libertarians, or Peace and Freedom, or Ralph Nader, or Pat Buchanan because then our vote “wouldn’t count”, never mind that our vote doesn’t count now.

The only way our vote will count is if we vote for someone who, first, stands for something we believe in and, second, doesn’t take our vote for granted.

If there’s nobody who fills those requirements, we can still make our vote count: vote for Nobody. Turn in an empty ballot. Do something to show that nobody takes your vote for granted. As long as we continue to vote for the same old candidates long after they’ve ceased to represent us, we will continue to be ignored. If we vote for someone else, the winner and the loser will scramble to co-opt that platform.

If gays vote for the Libertarian in races where the Democrat has been soft on gay issues, Democrats are going to start paying a lot more attention to gay issues. And liberal Republicans, seeing that the “gay vote” can be swung, may well try and co-opt gay issues.

If gun owners turn in empty ballots in races where the Republican has been soft on second amendment issues, Republicans are going to start paying a lot more attention to the second amendment. And pro-second Democrats are going to be even more vocal about their views.

Can you imagine a race where the Democrat and Republican candidates are falling over each other trying to win your vote? It’ll never happen unless you vote your conscience. It’ll never happen as long as you continue to vote for the candidate who takes your vote for granted. It will happen if you show clearly that you’re perfectly willing to take your vote elsewhere.

Even if that means taking your vote to Nobody.

On the other hand, if you vote for the candidate who takes your vote for granted, you aren’t just throwing your vote away, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. If gun owners help elect Bob Dole after he came out opposing repeal of gun control laws, Dole knows he’s never going to lose those voters. But if he signs gun control bills, and vetoes pro-gun bills, he stands to gain at least some of the anti-gun vote. So what if it isn’t much? What has he got to lose? You’re going to vote for him regardless of what he does.

The same goes for any other issue. Bill Clinton knows that he can sign the anti-marriage act if it gets to his desk. It might gain him some anti-gay votes, and it isn’t going to lose him any gay-rights votes.

At least, that’s what he thinks. Whether or not he’s right depends on whether or not you’re willing to vote Nobody for president. In no election has the choice between nobody and somebody been so clear as it is today. Clinton has torn down everything the Democratic party stands for. He signed the anti-marriage bill. He signed the welfare-gutting bill. He caved in on gays in the military, he campaigned for and signed widespread censorship. He supports curfews, for God’s sake. What century does he think we’re living in?

And Dole? He caved in on abortion, he single-handedly brought the rifle ban back from the dead, he’s the biggest proponent of big government and high taxes the Republicans have. What a wonderful choice they made to rejuvenate the Republican Revolution.

Has there ever been an election where the choices are so clearly decided only on party lines? Dole and Clinton could switch parties tomorrow and nobody would notice. Anyone who still votes on principle rather than along party lines has no reason whatsoever to vote this year. Nobody wants their votes.

So give your votes to Nobody.

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