Much to the consternation of my peers, Republican cheerleaders all, I am not predicting the Senate slips from Harry Reid’s slimy grasp this week. Despite polling which suggests otherwise, I see this as a 50-50 proposition with a slight presumption in favor of Democrat retention. But hey, go ahead, vote your head off Tuesday and prove me wrong.
In truth it always takes a miracle for Republicans to win an election; any election on any level. Pretty much every child in this country, whether in public or private school, in secular or religious school, is inculcated by teachers with the Democrat version of reality. Democrats are wonderful kindhearted broadminded scientific individuals who look out for the little guy — and are often the little guys themselves — on the long march into the Age of Enlightenment. Republicans are mean predatory phobic obscurantist revanchist pietists for whom the Dark Ages cannot get back here soon enough. After a full dose of this hooey through elementary, junior high, high school, university and graduate school, it is a wonder anyone ever casts a single vote for a Republican.
That should tell you something about how much truer Republican positions are to real life. After all the indoctrination, half the public still finds its way to the Republican side.
Yet there are Democrat advantages in the practical plane of the plebiscitary process that makes them hard to beat. One is the union voting card. In my campaign manager days for both local and national elections, that card was the deadliest torpedo of door-to-door canvassing. Even workers not nominally in a union would grab one of those cards from a friend, assuming the names thereon most liable to serve their interests. It goes without saying that every one of those cards reflects the straight Democrat ticket.
Another important voting bloc that belongs to Democrats one hundred percent is the infirm. People (most recently the President himself) commonly joke about the dead casting ballots in Chicago, but it is no joke that the comatose, the committed, and the incommunicado vote everywhere — or at least their surrogates do. While the paralyzed or catatonic patient lies insensate, his or her vote is being recorded. The give and take of political debate do not sway the caregivers and caretakers, all of whom vote Democrat on behalf of their charges.
Another Democrat franchise is vote fraud. Phony manipulation of votes, whether through the laborious task of lining up fake citizens or the more efficient task of doctoring totals, is an activity most compatible with urban settings. And one thing your great urban centers have in common — your New Yorks and Chicagos and Bostons and Detroits — is they all — yes, even your Phillys and Saint Louies and Milwaukees — repose in the hands of our Democrat colleagues.
All these edges are old stories. They were as true six decades and three decades ago as they are today. But now there is a new wrinkle. It is called “early voting.”
One of the tricky things about elections back in the day was the pesky one-shot nature of the thing. You had to be at a certain place on a certain day. That kind of thing favors a particular sort of person; namely, the sort of person who can schedule himself to be at a certain place on a certain day. There is a challenge inherent in this that defeats so many of us in life. It is a fair bet that the kind of fellow who can keep his calendar orderly is the kind who prefers balanced budgets and less government intrusion. Which goes a long way toward explaining why the one-day election is skewed against Democrats.
Now we live in the golden era of electoral access. You can vote two weeks early, even before debates in some states. An interesting sidelight of early voting is that it takes place in scattered locations. So even if your voter registration says your polling place is in Primrose High on Mulberry Way, you can vote early right next to your office or behind the fast-food joint where you grab lunch.
This helps all the scatterbrains among us, the disorganized, the irresponsible, the flighty, the dependent, the followers, the impulsive, the impetuous, the flibbertigibbets, the unfocused, the undisciplined. Every one of these can find a time in there somewhere and a place out there somewhere to vote his conscience. As for the organized types, they wait until Election Day when their DayTimer says “VOTE”… unless of course an emergency strikes and, oops, they do not get to vote after all.
As I was saying, my toast to the incoming Republican Senate will have to wait until all the votes have been counted.
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