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California 2015 Voter Apathy Guide

Updated on November 17, 2014

The big 2014 election has pathetically passed us by now without any cheering on my part. In preparation for whatever equally uninspiring, pre-determined, essentially meaningless political campaigns may be on the horizon for 2015, let me be the first to publish my review of the most recent developments in California voter apathy, a state where election turnouts have suffered tremendously. And why not? Since California has effectively become a one party state, what's the point in getting out and wasting time voting for politicians and propositions that I and most ordinary working people like me are lukewarm about at best.

Please don't be turned away by the title! Although this Voter Apathy Guide was designed in general for California's apathetic voters, it covers concepts that are extremely relevant for passionate proponents of apathy outside of the Golden State too, and perhaps for the detached, disinterested, and disenfranchised around the globe as well.

Governor Jerry Brown is always about maintaining high standards of apathy, from the tip of his toe to the top of his shiny head.
Governor Jerry Brown is always about maintaining high standards of apathy, from the tip of his toe to the top of his shiny head. | Source

A Word from the Governor

Dear California Apathetic Voter,

As a devoted fellow Californian who has contributed every ounce of effort toward promoting wasteful, utopian, essentially ridiculous projects like a high speed rail line through the dusty, empty, waterless agricultural fields of California's depopulated Central Valley, I can understand your apathy and will continue to do my best to maintain it at a high level.

I believe the Golden State should always be on the cutting edge of and set the national standard for everything, and apathy is certainly no exception. As Californians we should be very proud of the levels of indifference we have achieved in recent years, and toward the end of further deepening your electoral doldrums, I highly endorse this pamphlet and everything it does not stand for, being apathetic as it is.


No Colored Lenses, Please

Just a word in advance for hard core elephant and donkey readers out there that this voter apathy guide is not designed to be viewed through colored lenses, either red or blue. I think democrats and Republicans alike are both out to impoverish us, they just do it for different reasons using different sets of catch phrases. Republicans want to bring back near slave wages and the crowded tenement house living associated with them, whereas our Democrat Governor Jerry Brown is doing his best to keep the youth of California in debt forever by jacking up tuition fees again. Meanwhile, his fellow Democrats, Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, are impoverishing California's farmers and the people that depend upon them by shutting off the water valve to the desiccated dust bowl that the Central Valley has become.

So which colored glasses should I put on? People on both sides of the political spectrum like to quote the wonderfully witty aphorisms of Sarah Palin in telling me - "Mel get out of the middle of the road or you are going to get run over." I respond by saying that the can of dogmatic vitriol they are spilling all over the highway is making the pavement slippery and sooner or later they are going to drive off the shoulder, donkeys to the left and elephants to the right. So I think I will stay right where I'm at. It might not be safer here, but at least I'm more at peace with myself.

Do you look at the country through colored lenses?  This voter apathy guide may not be for you.
Do you look at the country through colored lenses? This voter apathy guide may not be for you. | Source

Personal Testimony - My Journey Toward Apathy

I haven't always been as apathetic as I am now. I admit I was never the most informed voter in the world - when I go to the polls I'm always confused about which Judge or School District Board of Supervisors candidate to vote for, but I've always done my best to get out there and do my civic duty. After a hard day's work hauling America's mail around I'm always proud to show up and affix that little "I voted" sticker to my mailman uniform, which I parade proudly through the house as an example to my children.

My children, as it turns out, achieved apathy at a much younger age than I did. My oldest son, for example, is 22 years old and I don't think he has ever voted. I can't blame his apathy on video games, football, or Dancing with the Stars, as is the case with a large percentage of our apathetic voters. No, he is a very intelligent, informed and self-educated young man who reads literature, history and philosophy. The other day he was carrying around a copy of Nietzche in his back pocket, and it wasn't just to impress the girls. It was clear from the dog ears and greasy thumb prints on the pages that he was actually reading it.

From across the car seat my son and I used to engage in debates about he importance of voting as I was chauffeuring him somewhere. I would always give him the standard feel good mantras about "exercising you constitutional rights," "participating in the democratic process," etc., but my fatherly authority and cheerleading skills were not enough to convince him. This young man was and is capable of thinking through the issues for himself, and he was convinced that none of the candidates represented what he stood for. Since he didn't think that voting for the lesser of evils was a wise option, as a lot of people do, then he wasn't going to vote at all.

Recent events in California and elsewhere have led me to follow my son down the path toward voter apathy. It took me many more years than my younger but wiser son to realize that our current two party system of democracy doesn't really represent the working man at all, but is actually just a sham, mock up illusion of democracy designed to keep us going through the democratic motions so we will believe that our freedoms still exist.

Your vote may or may not have made a difference, but it sure feels good to wear the little sticker around.
Your vote may or may not have made a difference, but it sure feels good to wear the little sticker around. | Source

Going Green, Brown, or just Blue?

If California's voters were not apathetic enough before, the state's 2012 change to what in true Orwellian double speak is known as the "Non-partisan Blanket Primary" system has ensured that voter apathy is stronger than ever and will be around for a long time to come.

Under the Non-partisan Blanket Primary only the top two finishers in the primary election make it to the general election ballot, regardless of party affiliation. In a state that leans decidedly to the left of the political spectrum, this means that in many California districts a lot of the elections are Democrat vs. Democrat battles. While I am certainly not bemoaning the damage this does to the Republican party, it does limit the range of options that we among the apathetic have to pick from while weighing whether or not to shake off our election-day blues and go to the polls.

In essence, what this change signifies is that the small parties and their adherents are virtually excluded. Why should an Independent or Libertarian voter show up on Super Tuesday if none of the flavors are to his or her liking? What about an advocate of the Peace and Freedom or Green Parties? No Green on this menu boys and girls, but certainly enough Brown to cause a pretty serious stomach ache.

Although the people of Hong Kong are fairly incensed about having their voting rights trampled upon, I don't see any of my fellow apathetic Californians getting too upset.
Although the people of Hong Kong are fairly incensed about having their voting rights trampled upon, I don't see any of my fellow apathetic Californians getting too upset. | Source

One Party Rule a la China

Advocates of democracy the world over were outraged earlier this year when the Chinese government changed the way that Hong Kong picks its chief executive. While the people of Hong Kong wish to maintain a long standing system whereby candidates of different political parties and views are allowed to run for the post, the Beijing government announced that heretofore candidates have to be approved by a nominating committee.

Advocates of apathy, on the other hand, perceived this move by bullying mainland China as business as usual, not much different than how things are run over here in the "Democratic" western world. The nominating committees of the Democrat and Republican parties in the US basically pick our candidates in California and pretty much throughout the country. I can envision all of you proponents of non-apathy getting outraged and red-faced as I write these words, but outside of Ross Perot's 18 percent in 1992, when was the last time a candidate who wasn't a stinking, bellowing pachyderm or a long-eared braying jackass received a significant amount of the vote? The secret central committees of the Democrat and Republican parties decide who is going to be on the primary ballot and from there it's just a matter of name your poison to get into the general election. So even though it's fun and satisfying to get all smug and self-righteously indignant about what goes on in China, it's really not much different than what happens here.

Even though he was sometimes a lying, cherry tree chopping hooligan, on occasion George knew what he was talking about through his wooden teeth.
Even though he was sometimes a lying, cherry tree chopping hooligan, on occasion George knew what he was talking about through his wooden teeth. | Source

True Confessions of an Apathetic Voter

As it turns out, my turn toward the dark side of voter apathy became complete when I failed to go to the polls this past November 4th. There wasn't a single issue or candidate that my poor one man's vote would make a meaningful difference in, I was tired, dirty, and sweaty after a long day at work, and my wife was still upset over washing my "I voted" sticker after the last election, which gummed up the washing machine pretty bad.

George Washington knew what he was talking about when he warned us that political parties are a danger to the government and to the country. He couldn't stop the feud between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, and that vendetta has now grown to the point where the two party system that slithered out of it threatens democracy and personal freedom, just like George said.

I'm frantically thumbing through this useless apathetic voter guide for an answer, but there's not one in here. I really don't want to be apathetic, but I don't know what it's going to take to get me excited about exercising my voting rights again. In the meantime I'll be sitting here exercising my right to be apathetic - just me and my buddy Jerry watching Dancing with the Stars and my son with a copy of "Thus Spake Zarathustra" covering his face.

Does your vote matter?

Has the American two party system compromised democracy and eroded the power of the vote?

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    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      That was strange and rather rambling and irrelevent to the discussion, but thank you anyway Ceyhun. I hope you get that medication you need soon.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      The electoral coeglle is not antiquated. Without the electoral coeglle, all Presidents would be elected from New York and California. No candidates or sitting Presidents would ever even visit us here in the middle.Elections come down to those three states because they are the least homogenized states in the Union. I was going to say the rest of the states are frightened subcultures hiding in their basements, but there have actually been some interesting studies on population grouping that indicates just because people group with people similar to themselves does not mean they are making a conscious decision to do so.NASA is useless in any capacity right now. They might as well be doing something. NASA has been mostly useless for a very long time now. Their inability to come up with anything more elegant than great big rockets has marginalized themselves.I think The Beaver has been in the pipeline for quite a while now. There are rumors that it is actually pretty funny. That is too good of a story line for Vince McMahon, by the way.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      I absolutely agree that voting is a great thing, misterhollywood, but we have to get away from the standard, uninspiring two party system and start voting for people that can truly make a difference. Thanks for reading!

    • misterhollywood profile image

      John Hollywood 

      4 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      I really connected to so much of what you wrote about in this hub. I am hoping it motivates people to get out and vote! I voted this hub up!

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      I don't think I have the required level of deviousness and dishonesty Deb to succeed in politics, but I'll take your write-in vote. Thanks for reading!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Maybe you should go on the ballot--things might get better.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Everybody is voting twice in California Eric Dierker, even dead people, so why not you? Thanks for dropping in!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I really did not care but voted up and awesome on your hub. Oops my apathy is spilling over to even if I eat GMO or not. I am sure I voted this last go around because I saw the sticker on something in my house. Of course it was in Vietnamese and another in Tagalog so I think I voted twice without understanding one word. Maybe next year I will shoot for English.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you DDE. I think in the good old USA we try to pretend to be a model democracy that everybody else should copy, by force if necessary! But instead of forcing our system on everyone else we should try to fix our own problems. Thanks for reading.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A topic of debate indeed and I see the corruption in the USA as every where else. You had made your points loud and clear.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      kalinin1158 I would gladly give you my "Didn't Vote" sticker, but turns out I washed it and the washing machine is gummed up again. Thank you for reading, I always enjoy your visits.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Yes I am aware of all of the California craziness and although I'm not sure about splitting California up in several states something has to be done to halt the decline. I keep hoping Cal voters will wake up and take back control from the Red Chinese legislature under the Capitol dome but as you said, they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. The problem is that a high proportion of the people being fed aren't even Americans. Thank you for reading!

    • profile image

      bradmaster from orange county ca 

      4 years ago


      I have always contended that apathy prevents voting, and sheeple loyal party voters prevent intelligent voting.

      4 terms of Jerry Brown should have been a real voter draw to make sure he didn't get reelected, but in Givafornia you don't remove the hand that feeds you.

      My solution has been to go for make California into 2, 4 or 6 states. There is no common denominator within the borders of the state, other than handouts.

      With I5 or so million in the Seven S Ca counties that would be one state. The other state would be Gilroy to Marin County west of I5.

      The Central Valley could be another state and the from north of Marin County to the Oregon Border could be another state, and finally Lake Tahoe west to the I5.

      38 million people is just too large for one state. Democrat control

      decade after decade has made California the highest in the bad column and low in the good column.

      Ca went from 20 to 38 million people without doing anything thing to ensure that we would have adequate resources like water, gasoline refineries, electricity and roads.

      California has always been semi arid and yet the politicians didn't keep up the water for S Ca. Decades ago we lost the water from the Colorado River, and then we continue to lose water from the California Aqueduct.

      California also has higher emission standards than the federal standards, and that requires a unique blend of fuel. Yet, the number of refineries hasn't increased, and when the seasonal change for the gas recipe occurs, there is always a shortage of fuel.

      You know all this because you live in CA.



    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Adler 

      4 years ago from California

      We're ahead of the curve on apathy!! Yey... Hey, brilliant article, as always, a pleasure to read. I didn't vote. There, I said it. Can I get my "I didn't vote" sticker now?

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      They haven't done any meaningful work in decades, breakfastpop, no reason to start now. Regardless of political affiliation I think it is time to shake up the system but I don't see this happening soon. Thanks for reading!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      4 years ago

      Der Mel,

      I have to say the last election surprised me. The apathetic must have woken up a bit. The dead must have decided to stay home. The frequent voters must have become exhausted and so the Republicans took the Senate. Let's hope for a better outcome when Congress (hopefully) decides to go to work.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Nice to hear from you again too Old Poolman. I think if the voters really cared and really did the research, I think we would sweep the whole corrupt lot of them out of office and start over again. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      4 years ago

      Mel - A great read as always my friend. I have mixed feelings about voter apathy. Man-in-the-street inverviews proove we have a number of elgible voters who should never set foot in a polling place. That particularly goes for those who could not even name the Vice President, and especially the guy who hoped we would not go to war with Ebola.

      Like you, I am also baffled by my choices for Judges and School District officials I have never heard of, and hope I never meet in person. My choice was not to vote for any of them rather than make a guess.

      My own daughter didn't vote this year because she didn't know what day she was supposed to vote? I bit my tongue and said nothing when I heard this.

      I doubt this voter apathy will improve over the years. Too many just don't care and will not spend the time to do any research.

      Great to hear from you again.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you James for the compliment. I am glad I could catch your interest. We would all like to hear and see something different, I'm afraid. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Bill for stopping in. If I can give you a laugh before breakfast than I've done my job, but as always there are ugly grim truths behind the mirth. Thanks for reading!

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Will Starr for reading. I am glad I could give you a little chuckle while summarizing the grim realities of the political system.

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 

      4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      I don't read many hubs anymore, Mel, but yours caught my eye.

      All I can say to you, and the others who commented: "I hear you...and wish I heard something different."

      Good hub, sir!

      James W. Nelson

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This would be hilarious if it weren't so damn true. Our political system is such a mess that I fear it will take decades to correct it. Anyway, I take back what I said...this was hilarious. :)

    • WillStarr profile image


      4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'm all for apathy. In fact, if you're one of those people on the street who doesn't know how many states there are, or what the Constitution says. stay home.

      If you are on the government dole, then you should lose your voting privileges until you have been of for at least two years. No one should be able to vote themselves a place at the government trough.

      I think we should all have to know at least as much as an immigrant has to know to pass the citizenship test before we go to the polls.

      Some of the apathy comes from knowing your well thought out vote will probably be nullified by some air head voting for a candidate because of race, or because he/she has nice hair.

      Good Hub, and that Jerry 'Moonbeam' Brown letter was hilarious!

    • Mel Carriere profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      My first visitor shows up from down under! Must be fairly early down there, whereas here it's well past bedtime. Anyhow, your system doesn't sound much different from ours. One President stays in two terms, makes a mess, then is replaced by one from the oppositiin party. But at least your small parties have a chance. Here it is practically unheard of for a 3rd party canidate to get elected to Congress. The system is rigged! Thanks for dropping in!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub Mel, and the problem is more far reaching. Apathy is rife, even in countries like Australia where voting is compulsory. I am sure at least two of my sons don't vote...willing to risk being fined rather than vote for, as you say "the lesser of two evils". ALthough we have numerous small parties running the final outcome is always between the two major parties, Labor and Liberal/National coalition. People are so disenfranchised that they actually voted a lot of the minor parties into the Senate (like your Congress) and the Government has to fight to get everything approved. It seems the norm here is to leave one party in power for two terms and see how many promises they break, then vote the other party in to repair everything they have stuffed up. Voted up.


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