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Failure To Vote Should Never Be An Option

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Opponents of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have fallen to new, and unpatriotic, lows in putting up a TV ad in Nevada which encourages Latino voters in that state not to vote in the November election.

The ad takes Reid to task for failing to deliver passage this year of comprehensive immigration reform. It ends with the narrator saying, “Don’t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted. Don’t vote.”

Here is the ad in Spanish:

And English:

My problem isn’t that Nevada Latinos could be angry at Reid over a failure to pass much-needed immigration reform. (The fact is that the legislation died because of a Republican filibuster, but that’s grist for a separate column.)

My anger, rather, stems from the recommendation that Latinos just sit this election out, as if that would actually accomplish anything. No American, on either side of the political spectrum, should stay home on Election Day. We all need to get out to vote.

The truth is that the fastest way for a politician, any politician, to take you for granted is if he knows you won’t vote.

And no issue, not immigration, not tax policy, not anything, has ever been helped by concerned Americans staying home on election day.

The fact is that Reid is locked in an extremely tight race for re-election, and the people behind this ad clearly want him defeated. They know Reid’s ouster becomes more likely if they can convince potential supporters to stay home.

That’s the rationale here, pure and simple.

Because the group who put up this cowardly ad, who would rather win by default than on the strength of ideas, knows another truth. That truth is that Latinos in Nevada have more than enough power to swing the Senate race whichever way they want.

The Silver State is one of those states where immigrants and their children, known collectively as “New American” voters, could mean the difference between winning and losing an election.

Instead of staying home, Latinos and others in Nevada need to get out on Election Day and demonstrate just how potent their political power is, whether that means voting for Reid, Republican Sharron Angle, or, as is legal in Nevada, “None of the Above.”

Our nation already has a shameful history when it comes to voter suppression, which is exactly what this new ad is, pure and simple. Such suppression became infamous with the Jim Crow laws, and continued right up through 2008.

Rather than suppress the vote as partisans seeking an advantage, we should be Americans are encourage all our fellow citizens to vote.

Voter suppression is the coward’s way out. Those who employ it have no honor, and they know they don’t have much else to stand on.

Republicans love to claim 2010 as a re-run of 1994. But the truth is that as decisive as the GOP likes to say ’94 was, just a meager 38.8 percent of eligible Americans cast ballots that year.

Even the historic election of 2008 saw voter participation that was just a few percentage ponts higher than 50 percent.

It may be a cliche, but one I believe bears repeating. Men and women of all racial and ethic identities gave their lives in wartime so that you and I could continue to return to the ballot box, year after year.

We say we support our troops, but anyone who fails to vote — or discourages others from doing so — clearly does not.

In fact, it’s plain that the people responsible for this new ad in Nevada hate our freedoms, and hate America, as surely as Osama bin Laden.

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About Scott Nance

  • Watched a documentary last night in which Morgan Spurlock (the Super Size Me guy) and his fiancée attempted to live on minimum wage for 30 days.

    Might be quite illuminating, Doug, if you ever get a chance to see it.

  • Just because Doug doesn’t personally know anyone living in poverty, he believes there are no poor people in the US? What?

  • Doug Hunter

    I shouldn’t describe it that way, although when I get frustrated I do. Never subscribe to an evil conspiracy when ignorance (or the perception thereof) will suffice. Yes, I believe racism is vastly overplayed as an explanation for modern reality. As I said, I think it perpetuates itself because it has some convenient political uses. (so does religion and look how hard that is to get rid of on even flimsier evidence, we just ain’t that smart zingy)

    Certainly, no one is in poverty by the accepted worldwide definition. Poor (and rich) are simply a relative measure and can never be gotten rid of without equalizing everyone’s income. Perhaps you could give me an example of someone you know who is ‘poor’ an idea of their living arrangement and exactly what material good they’re in short supply of. I can do that for you.

    The only person I know well enough to know for a fact they report a poverty level income is a family of four, high school sweethearts who got married right out and started having kids. He has a relative who owns a shop and does work there (maybe 30 hours a week average) enough to get him by which, incidentally, is all he publicly admits to wanting. The children and their healthcare are all paid by the government and food stamps carry most of their grocery bill. Their house, built in the 90’s cost around $80K so the payments are easily maneagable on a ‘poverty’ income plus there is always babysitting work or off time jobs at the shop that pay cash make ends meet. The wife has been able to stay at home and work with the kids, but now that they are well into school she has had time to earn a degree using loans/grants and here income will soon jettison them into the middle class. Every measure used by social scientists would classify these people as poor or in poverty, but their situation is actually almost enviable. He works little compared to most and has time to coach his kids leagues and generally be part of the community while the wife has time to stay home and raise the kids without participating in the rat race. I’m not going to shed crocodile tears becuase they can’t afford the latest SUV or fancy vacations.

  • zingzing

    “your ‘reality’ as zing puts it manufactured to scare the populous into handing over more authority to the state.”

    mhmm… and you don’t see your story of race relations in america as one giant scare tactic to get you to give up your freedoms to the state as one big orwellian scare story? come on. that’s the narrative you’ll subscribe to? it’s a conspiracy theory.

    and nobody is poor in america? tell that to a poor person.

  • Doug Hunter

    The message is that we don’t buy your scare stories, your ‘reality’ as zing puts it manufactured to scare the populous into handing over more authority to the state. Every bit as much as you can’t understand why I can’t see the horrible, evil, terrible, hellhole of a world we have the misfortune of being born into and how desperately important it is that I devote my entire life to generating tax revenue for the state, I can’t understand why you don’t see the marionette strings tied to your emotions manipulating you into being a tool of said state.

    It’s really not that bad out there. It’s amazingly easy how little actual physical work us modern Americans in exchange for a livelihood of ease that no person at any recorded point in history prior to the last century could even dream of. Even those in ‘poverty*’ have private, low occupancy single family dwelling larger than 90% of the worlds population, multiple TV’s, cable, so much food they’re obese. We’ve inherited cures for diseases, infrastructure, knowledge, and systems that millions sweated, bled, and died for yet our society is stuck in some bizarre macro version of suburban angst.

    *I use quotes because we don’t have any version of poverty that the rest of the world would understand, we have some manufactured relative measure that ensures the bleeding hearts always have something to bleed for. It’s based on food cost, yet virtually everyone qualifies for food stamps anyway meaning it’s a fairly useless measure. If you dig down to the actual research on most of your bad societal indicators you’ll find their usually interpreted in a way that exagerates the problem as much as possible making a very scary number for maximum ‘awareness’ effect. If you want some examples I’d be happy to provide them as I have time.

  • Still, there’s a message in there for Obama et al. The message that works is never going to be: “Al Gore says eat your broccoli.”

  • zingzing

    handy: “There’s a lesson there somewhere. Still trying to figure it out.”

    money in their pocket. simple as that. of course, if more on the right would agree to spend a little, they could make a shitload on green energy. it’s a whole new bubble to burst.

  • zingzing

    doug: “The left is constantly drumming up race and class hatred.”

    no, they address it. the right is perfectly content to ignore reality as long as it doesn’t poop on their lawn.

    i suppose it’s all in how you look at it. if there’s a side drumming up hatred, i think it’s blatantly obvious that comes from the right. how you come around to your conclusions on it is beyond me, but i guess that’s why we disagree.

  • I’m not sure the answer can be rolled up into a neat sound bite. The simplistic version is: open to government solutions/distrustful of government solutions.

    But people’s opinions are not always fact-based. They can be misled. They can mislead themselves.

    There was a really interesting article in the NY Times this week about energy-saving initiatives catching on in Kansas — by removing the political rhetoric. Approached politically, most Kansans rejected global warming as an issue, perceiving it as ‘liberal’ and ‘other.’ But when the emphasis was on being thrifty and patriotic and even religious by using less energy, the ‘green’ initiatives caught on, big time.

    There’s a lesson there somewhere. Still trying to figure it out.

  • Clavos

    Dems have succeeded in getting more urban, [some] suburban, East and West Coast, younger, and ethnic minority voters to identify with their Blue team.

    Why,handy? What is it about the Dems that appeals to these particular cohorts? Why doesn’t that appeal to the “…Southern, Western, rural, exurban, white and older voters…”?

  • The fact that the two parties both get racially polarized voter patterns should disturb all of us, because the issues and the ethnicities shouldn’t match up that neatly.

    Also, I find the notion that blacks vote for Democrats so they can get government handouts deeply offensive, and I bet you’d have a hard time proving it.

    I’d describe it more as two teams, Red and Blue.

    The GOP has succeeded in getting more Southern, Western, rural, exurban, white and older voters to identify with the Red team [sometimes against their individual economic interest].

    Dems have succeeded in getting more urban, [some] suburban, East and West Coast, younger, and ethnic minority voters to identify with their Blue team.

    It’s branding/marketing.

  • Doug Hunter

    From the other side it looks like your tactics are just as despicable. The left is constantly drumming up race and class hatred. The GOP may get a better percentage of white males, but you guys scared 90+% of all blacks into a lemminglike voting pattern. It takes two sides to make a wedge issue. As an added bonus, you get to buy votes with promises of other peoples money. It’s amazing that the GOP has held on this long. Don’t fear though, we’ll all be “progressive”, bankrupt, and equally miserable soon.

    I see the same issue with fiscal/social conservatism zing. I go with my fiscal leanings a bit more though. There’s no logic behind social/moral issues so I just try to avoid asserting my correctness in them. I don’t have alot of respect for for anyone, religious or progressive, who claims to have ownership of the ‘right’ answers in these cases. Your opinion is just a slightly modified version of that which society indoctrinated you with. We pat ourselves on the back for logically supporting homosexuality, other cultures approve of cannibalism, various forms of pedophilia, incest and familial relationships that are illegal or frowned up here, etc., etc. I’m not sure what type of progress is gained from different moral codes, just looks like different opinions to me, wedge issues to make you feel morally superior.

  • zingzing

    mmmm. sharron angle. if you look at her website, she talks about a “lock box.” sheee-it.

  • zingzing

    no matter how despicable the southern strategy is, you have to admire the genius of it. it basically lit ignorance on electoral fire. at its core deviousness, it’s perfect and true, and treats its intended target like it wants to be treated. that they’re the victim is beside the point in the end. it’s pure sadomasochism. addictive stuff, i hear.

  • Your focus is overly narrow. The only “national election” we have in this country is every four years for President and Vice President. All other elected officials in our federal government represent states (senators) or districts within each state (congressmen), and are therefore neither national office holders nor are they voted upon by a national electorate.

    To say that “Republicans are continuing to win” because we’ve elected since 1968 exactly one more Republican than Democratic presidents (4 to 3) is a stretch.

  • Republicans have won more national elections than they have lost, from 1968 to the present, in part [zing and I would say large part] by the ‘Southern Strategy’ of appealing to nervous or aggrieved white voters, and by cynically using wedge issues like gay rights, abortion, immigration, and nervousness/prejudice about Islam.

    In that sense, they are ‘continuing’ to win. Despite the nominal focus on fiscal issues, the wedge issues are very much still with us.

  • The Associated Press reports not only that Latinos for Reform is a “Republican group,” but that Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid has “sought to link the ad” to his Republican opponent Sharron Angle. “Listen to her latest,” the AP quotes Reid, “running ads on Hispanic television telling people not to vote. She is trying to keep people from voting.” Obviously, Dave Nalle is misinformed.

  • #1 – Not sure what Dave means by ‘left wing.’ From the Las Vegas Sun:

    “[The group ‘Latinos for Reform’] made a name for itself during the 2008 election cycle campaigning against Obama, on the grounds that he favored blacks over Hispanics.

    The leader of that group [is] Robert Deposada, a conservative pundit on Spanish-language Univision who once ran President George W. Bush’s commission to advance privatization of Social Security…”

    Sounds like a partisan pot-stirrer to me.

  • zingzing

    first sentence switch “which” for “that.” before the grammar police come around.

  • zingzing

    being a fiscal conservative is a difference of opinion which i can understand. but social conservatives are just idiots. unfortunately, our party structure dictates that in order to get fiscal conservatism, you have to vote for social conservatism as well. i place a higher value on social issues than i do fiscal issues (even if they are sometimes intertwined,) and i think that anyone who would vote for republicans, knowing that the gop kowtows to socially conservative values in order to meet their fiscal goals… well, that’s just stupid. it’s disgusting.

  • zingzing

    by even being a factor… they win elections all the time in regions where they just shouldn’t.

  • how the republicans continue to win is beyond me.

    Did I miss something? We have a Democratic President and Vice President. Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Democrats control the U.S. Senate, led by Democrat Harry Reid. Around the country, there are more Democratic state governors than Republican.

    What exactly is it that Republicans are continuing to win?

  • zingzing

    yeah, well, the dems should certainly come out and vote, because you know damn well the republicans will. cliches be damned, this vote coming up is important. democratic voting apathy is our biggest downfall. how the republicans continue to win is beyond me. we’re not all white rich southern religious retarded hicks, are we? damn. xo.

  • Men and women of all racial and ethic identities gave their lives in wartime so that you and I could continue to return to the ballot box, year after year.

    You’re right: that is a cliché. It’s also a lie. When was the last time Americans’ right to vote was threatened by a foreign enemy? It certainly didn’t happen during the 20th century, not even in World War II. Neither Nazis in Europe nor Japs in the South Pacific stood between us and our ballot boxes.

    Nor has it happened in this century. Al-Qaeda? The Taliban? Saddam Hussein? Iraqi insurgents?

    Bad as they were and remain, not one of those enemies ever attempted to interfere with the U.S. electoral process.

    At some point, your cliché needs to be embalmed and properly interred. Its rotting corpse is stinking up the joint.

  • Scott, you do understand that this Latino group is from the political left and is going after Reid because he didn’t push hard enough for amnesty, right?