For those who can’t watch the video (or just doesn’t feel like listening to Rush’s obnoxious, grating voice), a summary: Rush explains that the Democratic Party in Florida has requested that early voting be extended through the weekend, so that everyone can have a chance to vote.
Lest anyone mistakenly think this is a pretty reasonable request (Protip: it totally is), he then goes on to say that this is ridiculous. Election day is on Tuesday the 6th; if someone doesn’t get to vote by the end of early voting (he admits he isn’t sure when early voting ends, because “we don’t early vote, because we don’t cheat”), why not go vote on Tuesday? Novel idea! He also explains that Obama is ahead in the early voting numbers, and therefore this is an attempt to “change the rules” in favor of the Democratic Party.
Where to start?
Why not go vote on Election Day?: Umm… because it’s on a work day? (Seriously, I thought the Republicans were all about this whole “get a job” thing??) Look, I understand that from your privileged position, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Just take the day off! Or call out sick, or leave early, or come in late. Except that it doesn’t work like that. First, if everyone did that (and doesn’t everyone have a right to vote?) the world would essentially shut down on Election Day. That means no child care to watch your toddler while you stand in line for over an hour to vote. No fast food places to get a burger afterwards. No 911 responders, ambulance drivers, doctors, tow trucks, mechanics, or insurance customer service lines if you get into a terrible car accident trying to get out of the voting place’s parking lot. Do you get what I’m saying? Second, a lot of people do not have the luxury of taking time off in any case. Employers aren’t stupid; they know full well there are more people seeking jobs than there are jobs to go around, and they have no problem enforcing draconian attendance rules as a result. There are plenty of people out there who would get fired, flat-out fired, if they were scheduled to work on Election Day and decided to skip it to go vote. But their voice still matters. They still have a right to vote. Hence, early voting options – and the more flexible those options are, the better the chance that everyone who wants to vote can.
It’s biased because Obama is in the lead!: Are… are you seriously suggesting that we should restrict people’s ability to vote because they might vote for someone you don’t like? Because it sounds like that’s what you’re saying. And I mean, we’ve all suspected that the Republican Party is trying to do that anyway, what with the i.d. laws and the scare tactics and whatnot, but most of them at least have the good grace not to come out and say it.
Look, this ties into what I was saying above. Ever since Romney’s 47% comment, it’s no use pretending he actually cares about the middle-to-lower class. Some folks in that demographic still support him anyway, gods know why (Stockholm Syndrome? I dunno), but his main demographic is those who, due to their privilege and economic standing, are able to take the afternoon off to go vote on Election Day without suffering massive negative repercussions. But the fact that they have more freedom and flexibility with their schedule doesn’t make their vote count more and doesn’t mean that those without that flexibility don’t deserve a say.
So no, I’m not surprised that the people taking advantage of early voting – the people who know they need to get it done now, because they cannot just “make time” on Tuesday without being fired – are more likely to be Obama voters. That does not, however, mean that early voting or the need to extend early voting is somehow biased. (Though it does speak volumes about which candidate the common man believes has his back.)
They’re changing the rules!: Actually… no. Traditionally, early voting in Florida does go through the weekend. The governor was the one who changed it for this election – for, some say, suspect reasons.
See, there’s this thing. It’s called Souls to the Polls. Essentially, it’s the big push from churches – specifically, black and Latino churches – to encourage their congregation to vote. Not telling them who to vote for, mind you – just reminding and encouraging them to do it. (I wasn’t aware of this, being neither a POC or Christian, but I looked it up, and it’s a real thing.) In 2008, on the Sunday before the election, the churches turned out en masse (no pun intended), with whole congregations going together to the polls. It was a political statement, it was a social event, it was a show of solidarity, and it was a way to make sure that these voters got to their polling places and stuck it out until their turn came. 33.2% of black voters and 23.6% of Hispanic voters voted on that day in Florida.
Ending early voting before the weekend means that won’t happen this election. And given that the population that is most affected is a) largely black and Latino and b) overwhelmingly Democrat, that decision has the unfortunate double-whammy of seeming both racist and politically biased.
To recap, for those not quite following: “We want elections to run the same way they did last year, to ensure that everyone who wants to vote has a chance to” = not biased. “We noticed that our opponent got a huge chunk of his support from the people who voted on Sunday, so let’s eliminate Sunday as an early voting day and maybe those people will just forget or give up” = biased. See how that works?
“We don’t early vote, because we don’t cheat”: What is this I don’t even.
…although, stupid as it is, the last one made me think for a minute. I always kinda wonder about early voting, because the candidates are campaigning hard up until the very last minute. Obviously they think that these last few days can make a difference. Don’t I owe it to them, as a responsible voter, to hear them through to the very end before casting my ballot?
To answer, I suppose I should consider the question: is there anything that the candidates could do in these last few days that could change how I vote? Let’s examine this:
Romney: if, at the eleventh hour, Romney turned around and said “I’ve seen the light, I changed my mind. I’m now totes in favor of all LGBT rights, women’s reproductive rights, universal health care, fair and compassionate programs to aid the poor and unemployed, and bringing all our troops home as soon as possible. I have completely renounced the austerity philosophy. I have converted to Wicca, practice nudism on the weekends, and discovered I enjoy a good boffer larp. Also, if elected I will provide every parent with a neverending supply of diapers and new school clothes, and every American will get a fluffy pet bunny”, well… that’d be nice, but honestly? I wouldn’t believe a word of it. Not only do I think a candidate so closely tailored to me, personally, is statistically dubious 😛 , but… I wouldn’t believe a word of it. Because Romney is a liar. He is a lying liar who lies, out loud and on purpose. So no, I would have absolutely zero reason to believe he wasn’t lying to me.
Obama: if it suddenly came out that Obama were, in fact, a socialist Kenyan Muslim who also worships Satan and tortures puppies and cheats at solitaire, welll… y’know, at least he doesn’t want to cut Medicaid.
So there’s that.