Recently, some people have complained about the political content, or lack thereof, in our fine humor magazine. “Hey The Heuristic Squelch,” they write, “why so little election coverage?” The simple answer is that we just don’t care very much. Neither Gore or Bush would be a great president, but they also probably wouldn’t screw things up too badly either, though I can’t shake the feeling that Bush’s election would be the political equivalent of a PE teacher being promoted to principal. If it were up to me, I’d just as soon see Clinton return for another four swinging years, but on the whole, it doesn’t really matter.
The most notable element of the campaign is Gore’s choice of Joseph Lieberman as his running mate. Though we live in seemingly enlightened times, putting an Orthodox Jew on the ticket seems like a ridiculously overconfident move. It’s as if Gore were saying to Bush, “I’ll beat you with one hand tied behind my back. You can have the electoral votes from Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky – I don’t even want them.”
The Ralph Nader phenomenon has been mildly compelling, but no matter how many appearances on late-night talk shows he makes, he still doesn’t have a prayer of even coming close in this campaign. His only chance of winning the election comes if the American people conspire together, like a band of cruel high schoolers, and elects him as an elaborate joke. Then, at the inauguration, just as the Chief Justice is swears Nader in, a big bucket of pig’s blood will be dumped out over his head. Of course, at that point, he might begin to display previously dormant telekinetic powers. And if so, look out corporations!
All the same, you’re not really throwing your vote away much more with a vote for Nader. Casting your one vote among millions makes about as much difference as tossing a glass of water into the ocean. In fact, the American electoral process emphasizes one’s ballot box impotence with the arcane electoral college. Your proportionally miniscule vote doesn’t even get to choose a millionaire directly, but rather through an elaborate system of “electors” (read: “other millionaires and their friends and/or sycophants”).
So, why vote at all? On the plus side, voting is free, relatively simple, and carries no real negative consequences. You have more right to complain and bitch about politicians and government if you’ve actually voted. Plus, if the candidate you vote for actually wins, you can share in the warm afterglow of victory. Come November, the feeling of having supported the winning team will likely be scarce for Cal football fans, so you may as well pick the guy who’s leading in the polls, and hop on that victory bandwagon.