Monday, April 26, 2010

Get Them Back to the Polls in 2010

In 2008, fifteen million voters cast their ballot at a polling location for the very first time in their lives. And no, these weren’t all 18-year olds who registered to vote when they came of voting age. Some of these voters were middle aged. I know of several in my county that had never voted and cast their first vote in their 60s.

It was an historic election, everyone agrees. And I think we can get these voters back to the polls in 2012 to re-elect Barack Obama.

But that is not what we need right now. Right now we need these voters, voters who generally come out in presidential elections, especially “sexy” presidential elections like the one we just had, we need them to come out and vote in the midterm election this November.

Everyone I know talks about it. Some just shake their head and say it isn’t doable because it never has been done.

But I think giving in to the notion that we are somehow destined to see lower turnout numbers this year is self-defeating.

Self-defeating and dangerous, now, because the Party of the Dark Side is going to crank up the volume in a fear fest that has no precedent. News is good, too good. Much better than what the Republicans were expecting. In 1994 they swept in a majority because things were not going so well for Democrats. That apparently won’t repeat. So it’s going to get really, really shrill this year.

We need to counter the shrieks with votes. We need to get these first-time voters back to the polls.

This has become a priority item at the Democratic National Committee. Today they came out with a video announcing their intent. Announcing it in a short speech by the President. Here it is.

Rush Limbaugh, the de facto head of the Republican Party labeled the speech as racist.

Racist because some of these first-time voters were African-American. Racist because some of these first-time voters were Hispanic. Racist because he was calling these two groups back to the polls this year to vote against the people that Rush Limbaugh wants to rule our lives.

Frankly, I wonder why he pulled his punch. Why not go all the way and label the speech not only racist but sexist (he included women in his list of first-time voters, didn’t he) and ageist (getting young people back to the polls to vote against the elderly).

Why just racist?

Oh, yeah . . . I forgot. Obama’s a black man.

That’s all that really matters to these people.

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