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Change History in One Afternoon (by Voting for the Wrong Guy)
This article does not support any particular political view or party. It will be as unbiased as possible. However, I may bring up specific politicians and elections but this will be for example only. Who you support is entirely up to you.
Also, these ideas reflect the democratic process in the United States. All readers are welcome here, of course, but some may be confused. In which case this article will be more entertaining than informative.
Finally and most important: safety first! Politics is tricky because it can get people passionate quickly. This is why weapons are not allowed in Capitol Hill or at your local city hall.
In the unlikely event you feel you are being threatened, just leave. Take one step back, turn around and walk away. Or, if you feel you are overreacting, you probably are. If so, apologize, sit down and shut up. It's always better to cool down in your chair rather than behind bars.
Let's register to vote
Vote? That's it? Well, not exactly. Don't get me wrong: voting is great and you should always vote when you can. I have a great article about being an armchair activist but even the armchair activist has to vote. Don't think that emails and online petitions alone will save the day.
Now, take another look at the title: register to vote. If you're already registered that's good! Now re-register. It's no secret that America has a two-party system. The Democrats and Republicans duke it out every other year for offices at all levels of the country.
But why re-register? You're probably registered with the party you favor more. If so, then re-register for the opposing party. That's right. For example, if you consider yourself a life-long Democrat then re-register as a Republican and vice versa. If you're an independent or registered with a third party, re-register with one of the main parties that makes your stomach turn the most.
This is something you can do in minutes usually online. Do it as soon as possible.
You're on the other team. Now what?
Remember, just because you're registered with the opposing party doesn't mean you're obligated to vote for any candidate it supports. You don't have to donate to said party either. Also, it doesn't mean you have to stop supporting the non-profits that your new party usually bumps heads with. You are still the same person.
However, as a party member, you will always have access to all of its primaries (or caucuses). This is very important. Months before every presidential election each party has to decide who they want as their presidential nominee. This nominee will go on to challenge the nominee of the opposing party in the general election. Whoever wins that becomes the next president. Hooray!
Choosing a party's nominee is done officially at the party's national convention. Don't sweat it, because you don't have to go there. Also you can't. So who goes? If your state has a caucus then YOU CHOOSE! The people who get the most votes in the caucus go and on to the national convention to vote for the candidate they promise to. However, if your state has a primary, then YOU CHOOSE the candidate!
For choosing the presidential nominee, every state has either a caucus or primary, never both. Also, primaries and caucuses of each state are often on different dates. For example, the Iowa caucus is the earliest, it is held in January of the presidential election year. Meanwhile, the California primary is five months later in June.
That's just the way it is. Tradition. States can always change dates and often do for one reason or another. When one state moves its date earlier then the number of delegates it can send to the national convention is penalized. So find out when and where your local event is and be there!
But always remember: We're all Americans first!
You might think this is like being a secret agent. It may conflict with your idea of democracy itself. However it isn't because we're all Americans first! As an American, your vote is your business. Where and when you vote is your business. And, as I write this, voting is still legal. Well, sort of.
Every one of us has an idea of what we want for this country. This is just one way to make it happen. So forget the partisan issues and candidates. Forget the screaming pundits and the talking heads. They all believe that by dividing us they can get more campaign contributions and higher ratings.
Don't fall for it for a second. You're too smart for that. To further illustrate this idea comes "Culture War" by Morris P. Fiorina. Take a look at it whenever you feel our nation is divided beyond repair.
You're waiting for your state's event. Now what?
Good! While we're waiting let's go over a few things.
The caucuses and primary elections are an important part of the nomination process in both parties. However, the fun doesn't stop the day you vote at your state's event. That's just the first step. For example, every candidate wants to win in a state primary. But to get the presidential nomination later, he needs that state's delegates. These state delegates will go to the national convention and support him.
It's even more confusing for caucuses. For a caucus, each state is divided into the smallest parts (a town or neighborhood). Once a delegate-to-be is decided there, he will go on to the county convention to face other delegates-to-be from other towns. The ones chosen there will go on to the state convention and compete yet again. The ones who make it through that will go on to the national convention to support their nominee. Whew!
While all this is happening the media is buzzing. The media always reports who "wins" the day after the initial event even though delegates are awarded much later. But by then it's too late because the big money is really starting to flow. The PACs and the special interest groups start making bigger moves out in the open. These moves can make or break a candidate.
All this is happening while he is in a completely different state for its initial event. He's also thinking about the states coming in the weeks ahead. The media expects him to be at all these events alongside the other candidates who want the nomination. So while he seems confident on TV he's actually walking on eggshells and his head is spinning.
For all these reasons the last thing on his mind are the delegates from earlier events. He'll expect his team and local volunteers pick it up. He has no choice.
As your state's event gets closer start paying attention to who's on first and what's on second. It'll be important. Besides, it will be all over the news so it's pretty hard to miss.
Today's the big day. Now what?
Now that you're a member of the opposing party AND that today's the day you vote, you can choose any candidate who wants the nomination. Think about that. You can support anyone who will oppose your nominee on the other side. For now look around and pay attention.
People are talking. If there aren't speeches and motions there are probably lines and booths. It seems like a big confusing mess. It is and that's the exact reason you want to be here. Party members themselves are confused, votes are lost, votes are tossed and everyone--especially the young voters--are ripping their hair out. This craziness happens all the time in both parties. It has to happen here so it doesn't happen in the spotlight come November.
Before you know it, it's your turn to vote. You've waited a long time. Forget about the media. Forget about the craziness. Forget about November. This is your time to shine. Now vote for the candidate in last place. That's right, vote for the guy in last place. If you've been paying attention at all you should know who that is. If you don't know then vote for the candidate you've never heard of. The one the media refuses to talk about.
The one in last place will almost always be the one with the lowest chance of winning in November. It doesn't matter what his ideas are or what he thinks on the issues. Just vote for him.
Here's why: the more votes the candidate in last place gets the more hope he will have. He'll stay in it longer, even if it's a few days. Every extra minute the "little guy" stays in the race, the more he zaps the media coverage, money, volunteers and momentum of everyone in front of him, especially the candidate in first place.
Remember: everyone needs as much support as they can get to win the big one in November. So in just one afternoon, you can punish the opposing party's favorite candidate, especially if you live in one of the states with earlier voting days.
Also, your vote for the wrong guy will keep the party divided longer. The craziness you just witnessed will be harder to iron out later on. The longer the party is divided on candidates, the bigger it becomes as a news story. The candidates will be too busy slinging mud at each other to focus on November.
And whoever finally emerges from this zoo will be tired, battered and shorter on funds for the rest of his campaign. The road to the White House will be a lot tougher. Sure the party will be unified eventually but it will come at a bigger price. By the time he reaches your nominee on the other side, he'll barely have the will to win.
If you live in a state with a caucus your one afternoon can be the one deciding factor between sending an inexperienced or bitter party member to the national convention instead of someone who is "established." If you aren't paying attention you yourself might end up there!
Regardless of the state you live in, your vote on this day can be worth thousands of general election votes. This is how you change history in one afternoon. You'll have to get out of bed, maybe even take a day off from work but I promise it will be worth it!
But watch out! And get your cell phone cam ready
As we discussed earlier, some of the strangest things can happen at these events. They are local and can get heated. Here is just one example of such pandemonium. Such behavior has been known to happen all over the country in both parties.
If you see madness, zaniness or even violence, get as much of it as possible on your phone cam. Then put it on YouTube as soon as possible. It will embarrass the entire party only a few months before the general election and it's also history in the making!
Here are more resources for you - Want more? Great!
I hope this has all been clear and straightforward. However, if you want more information, take a look at the following link.
- Wikipedia US Primaries and Caucuses
If you are interested in how primaries and caucuses can change the world take a look at this Wikipedia link