By: Dan Stafford
I’m still amazed when people tell me they don’t know about the #FeelTheBern hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. Seriously, I just had a guy e-mail me that he had to Google it when reading my poem, “Peace, Love, And Bernie…” Honestly, I think it’s the generation just older than me who is missing out on that, but if any of you stumble on this post by some accident of web search, just click on the links above and you’ll get the drift.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to a very important topic: primary elections. Yes, I’ve actually included a Google search result for the Millennials and certain other lackadaisical citizens who do not understand how we get straddled with lame candidates in the general elections that actually put someone in office. (Although I suspect that many younger voters are finally getting the concept, I will not take that on faith given the mess we were handed in the 2012 election cycle.)
Simply put, primary elections are vastly-underrated, and far worse, under-attended. Primaries being ignored at double and even sometimes triple the rate of general elections for decades. Over at Bipartisanpolicy.org, they have an article titled “National Primary Turnout Hits A New Record Low” with regard to the 2012 primary season. There are articles all over Google about this. According to BPO’s article just referenced, overall voter turnout in the primary elections for 2012 were just over 15% of eligible voters. That is EXACTLY why we are in this mess.
Simply put, primary elections are where voters have the greatest choice. You can not continuously ignore the primary elections in a country and expect the outcome to be anything worthwhile. The only time we have a chance to put a non-corporate candidate into office is during the primary election.
It seems to me that the only people who have been voting in primaries are the radical right and Democrats who afraid to put in a candidate who is not somewhat right-wing corporatist because they know that the Democratic party will have to run against extremist candidates on the GOP side. These Democrats have fallen for the old media lines, because the young voters who ignore the old media have stayed home on primary day. Maybe they associate voting with being old, maybe they see it as putting energy into a corrupt system, but whatever it is, they had best get savvy about the primaries.
If the majority of the US Citizenry truly want a populist government, the only way to get one is to vote in a populist government. That means getting out there and voting for the candidates in the PRIMARIES who agree with your policy wishes.
This is where I think that those who #FeelTheBern could foil the political analysts calculations. Those who follow political analysis are used to calculating based on the traditionally abysmal primary voter turnout. They’re counting on the same mix of mush at the polls. If a tsunami of tuned-in voters actually shows up and votes for Bernie in the Primaries AND the generals, Bernie will win. But that’s not enough.
In order for Bernie to actually accomplish populist, progressive policies, those policies must be written and voted through both houses of Congress and passed to Bernie‘s desk for him to sign.
The only way we will all truly WIN is if the Congressional elections are given the same care and consideration as the Presidential elections. Bernie needs a Progressive majority in Congress to be effective.
Here is where I have to call on Coders For Bernie to do something I haven’t heard about them doing. We need a one-stop shop – before the primaries, well before – where we can evaluation Congressional candidates based on their compatibility with Bernie‘s platform. That is a tall order, but it needs to be done and handed to Berners ASAP.
As it stands right now, it is just about impossible for the average working adult to take the time to research every candidate’s voting record. That is likely something that the corporate overlords are counting on. It may well be behind the reasoning of the plot they’ve cooked to find ways to push workers ever harder and for longer hours over the past few decades. An exhausted populace is not only less likely to go vote, they are far less likely to be well-educated on the candidates if they do show up at the polls.
Thankfully, computers were invented to manipulate and summarize vast quantities of data. This is where Progressives need to have a cloud-driven super-computerish PoliticalMatch.com kind of service or app. That’s right, we need to play Suzy Matchmaker for our politicians of choice, and put them in office with like-minded pols, election cycle after election cycle. THAT, my fellow Berners, is what will save the world, and not just the day.