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How Democracy Works

Hello, and welcome to the last 70 days before the US Presidential Election! For those of you new to the process, here's how things will unfold between now and November 2nd:

  • 95% of the electorate has performed their civic duty by paying attention to the candidates and issues surrounding the upcoming election, and therefore know who they are going to vote for. Because these people are responsible citizens of the republic, no one gives a rat's ass about them (except insofar as they can be shaken down for money).
  • Monies collected from the 95% will be spent on the 5% who have so far been too apathetic to learn about said candidates/issues.
  • The money can't be given to the 5% directly (as this would constitute bribery), so it will instead be given to television networks.
  • The networks utilize the public broadcast spectrum, so hypothetically the money will go right back to the people who contributed it, except it won't, because the government licensed the airwaves to the networks on the condition that they operate "in the public interest," which apparently involves taking millions of dollars to air ads that obfuscate the issues and misrepresent the candidates.
  • On November 2, the 5% of undecided voters will decide not to vote after all when they get drawn into an episode of some terrible sitcom that will be cancelled midseason after one of the aforementioned television networks realizes that it has squandered the millions of dollars they received for showing the ads funded by the 95% of people who paid attention.
I'm so glad we're exporting American-style democracy to the rest of the world.

Oh and hey, people of Washington State. Right now, according to most polls, Kerry is leading by 11 points. So, Republicans, I need a favor: next time a pollster asks who you are going to vote for, say Kerry. You don't have to actually vote for the guy, just say you're going to. Or we need about 30 points-worth of Democrats to say they are going to vote for Bush, that works too. What's important is that we get a vast majority to say they are going to go one way or the other, so we can get Washington out of "Swing State" category and the campaigns will stop blanketing us with ads. Because if I have to see one more commercial with Bush trying to look smirkily compassionate or Kerry trying to look stoically enthusiastic, I swear I'm going to write-in vote "Ben Dover."

Posted on August 25, 2004 to Politics


A good summary, aside from the 105% in the second bullet point. Bush's general smirkiness is well established, but well put with Kerry's attempts to look "stoically enthusiastic."

Posted by: Tristen on August 25, 2004 4:18 PM

That's why I've started the Cancel Your Vote campaign. That way we can find out who that 5% is and force them to watch 24 hours of campaign ads till they form an opinion.

Posted by: Duane on August 25, 2004 4:19 PM

Wow, that 105% got fixed quickly. Props.

Posted by: Tristen on August 25, 2004 4:21 PM

Washington is a Swing State? I don't know, I don't watch TV-- not because I think I'm better than you, the usual implication, but because I download all my TV from the internet. It takes hours and hours longer, but there are no ads. Just irritating automated phone calls.

Still, I'm a Republican in Seattle, and I can't imagine that the population of Eastern WA has gotten large enough to swing the lot of you Anybody-But-Bush lefties in King-Pierce-Snohomish Ctys, which still, as of 2003 Census estimates, constitute over half the state's population. I intend to vote, of course, but I don't have any illusions about my candidate losing the state. As far as I can tell, the only thing that'll swing this state is the anarcho-libertarian script-kiddie who'll be pwning the electonic voting centers here and there.

Posted by: Some Seattlite. on August 25, 2004 4:47 PM

Heh -- and no one in Florida is smart enough to figure Matt's proposed "Beat the swing-state BS" plan... We'll be carpet bombed the next 70 days because we're still too close to call.

Posted by: John F on August 25, 2004 4:54 PM

Here, here. Those ad suck. But because I live in the blue-est of blue states I have to watch them on the internet.

Posted by: Miel on August 25, 2004 6:27 PM

"Stoically enthusiastic". There, you've exposed yet another Kerry flip-flop. One who is stoically enthusiastic must bear some resemblance to....Al Gore, pre-2000 presidential campaign. Of course, now he has gone insane. "Smirkily compassionate" just plain fits.

Posted by: Dave on August 25, 2004 6:41 PM

Good write up ... very true. The scary thing is that I have a report/forecast by one of top US financial services companies and they've put their money on a very close Bush/Chaney victory ... because there is a proportionally larger sum of money backing up that pink elephant.

Posted by: Alex on August 26, 2004 1:15 AM

of course, you could always stop watching tv ;-)

Posted by: Sean Meade on August 26, 2004 4:28 AM

It always makes me wonder how America has taken a great thing like democracy and managed to balls it up so completely.

2 candidates, but both as bad as each other and both representing two parties that are as corrupt as each other. Great choice you guys have to make!

Posted by: Graf1771 on August 26, 2004 6:23 AM

Ben Dover.


Posted by: brittney (who is apparently 5 years old) on August 26, 2004 7:12 AM

(concerned announcer) John Kerry says he supports giving kids a good breakfast:

(cut to campaign footage)

(John Kerry) "When I'm President, I'll make sure our kids eat only 1/2 cup of sugary cereals a day, and will eat a lot of whole fruit for breakfast..."

(concerned announcer) Oh, REALLY?

On 72 occasions, John Kerry's kids ate an entire bowl of Honeycomb for breakfast.

(cut to footage of Honeycomb Hideout with Kerry's kids superimposed in the background)

(concerned announcer) There's what's John Kerry says, and then there's what John Kerry does.

Posted by: Lost Poke on August 26, 2004 8:46 AM

"95% of the electorate..."
Maybe I don't understand, but what world do you live in, Iraq? The US considers it a good turnout if 55% of its electorate votes.

Posted by: soy bomb on August 26, 2004 10:19 AM

"Someone pour me a cab... I just can't drink no more."
-Tom Waits

Posted by: Aaron on August 26, 2004 11:34 AM

I'm Bonkers, and I approve your idea...

Posted by: Bonkers on August 26, 2004 3:57 PM

You have just made me SO glad that I no longer have television in my house. That and Big Brother, but this wasn't a post about Big Brother.

Posted by: Shawn on August 27, 2004 1:35 PM

A friend was in toronto on the weekend, where he was asked to sign a petition opposing Bush. Then I read ">http://www.canada.com/national/story.html?id=aaed2e8e-18f5-4449-8992-8693af19a9a4"> this and understood.

Another friend, who is touring Europe, concurs with the Canadian politician.

The whole election is a sham, and makes America (and hence Americans) look rather ridiculous.

Posted by: canuck on August 27, 2004 2:57 PM

I'd vote for Ben Dover...and since I'm from Chicago, I get to vote more than once.

Posted by: gladys on August 27, 2004 9:01 PM

Oh, hell yes. I'm in Redmond, and I couldn't be sicker of them. Both of them.

Posted by: Chasmyn on August 28, 2004 12:45 PM