My Experience with Democracy

First an apology for not posting for a while. I lost my internet connection for a few days and it wasn’t restored until today. So I wasn’t able to follow the election results all that closely yesterday, but I was certain that Obama was going to win. For that matter, I was sure Obama was going to win back in 2006. It just didn’t seem any big mystery back then that the nation was tired of George Bush and that whichever Republican won the nomination was not going to be able to combat the last eight years of a sagging economy and an unpopular war in Iraq. There was another election I was fairly sure the result of my own. 

Yes, for those of you who don’t know, I ran for office. Specifically I ran for State Representative District 115. The Libertarian Party asked me to. I felt bad that they didn’t have a gung-ho guy in District 115, so I signed on as a “not so gung-ho” candidate of District 115. My campaign wasn’t the most inspired ever run. I printed neither signs nor buttons. In fact, I spend no money to promote myself whatsoever. I did answer a couple of questionaries sent to me by the League of Women Voters and other voter information groups and I did attend one GEICO sponsored “come meet the candidates” luncheon. Yes despite my complete lack of enthusiasm, I somehow managed to appeal to 8248 people. Yes, I won a full 19% of the popular vote in the race for State Representative against Incumbent Jim Jackson. Don’t believe me, you can read it for yourself at USA Today.

I must confess I was astounded at the number. I don’t know 8248 people. How on Earth could that many people have voted for me, without ever meeting me? Well I did get a chance to vote for me, so that’s only 8247 unaccounted for. My mother said she voted for me, and I suppose I can believe her. And an ex-girlfriend whom I hadn’t heard from in a while who saw my name on a ballot. As for the remaining 8245, I have no idea. I’m beginning to suspect that they may have voted for me without knowing me at all. 

Come to think of it, how many of Jim Jackson’s 35,599 actually knew his name before stepping into the booth? I know I’ve often gone into the booth to vote for some candidate of issue at the national or local level and then started befuddled at the array of candidate I had to chose for local elections. I think it’s highly possible that the vast majority of the roughly 44,000 voter could not pick either of us out of a line up. Let’s be frank, I don’t think those voters knew us from Adam. 

So it was with astonishment and mirth that I saw that somehow over 19% of the voters (8248) actually voted for me. Given that I was the only choice other than Republican Incumbent Jim Jackson, I think that this is a fairly good indicator of how many people just decided to vote against the Republican on sheer principle. Well, I suppose I was happy to make my name available to people so they had someone to vote for other than the Republican. 

Recently I began to have doubts that Democracy worked at all. After this experience, I feel fairly certain that it doesn’t. Until tomorrow, your steadfast candidate is signing off.

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