Not much to say after Election Day. Numbers speak for themselves: low turnout (defined by THE PLANET and anything that is not 50% plus 1 person) combined with machine politics = no change + plus still unsolved problems x even-increased apathy. THE PLANET would suggest three immediate reforms of Election Day:
(1) Make it Election Week or Election Days. Thinks about it. We conduct the most important day for participatory democracy on a weekday, when people who have jobs are working, and only keep the polls open to 8 p.m. Why not conduct voting on more than one day, one of them being Saturday? This would increase turnout.
(2) Allow for a “none of the above” option to be on every ballot of every race. This would provide an alternative to machine candidates in races where they face no opposition or token opposition and give people authentic choice in every race, even in those that go unopposed.
(3) Introduce legislation that would reject the result of any election that did not draw 50% + 1 of the electorate on the grounds that pluralities are not mandates. As happened last night, no candidate in the entire state won a majority of the total electorate. They won a majority of the low turnout (the definition of a plurality). For example, Deval Patrick won 49% of the 40% who voted. Translation: Patrick won support from about 20% of the entire possible vote. Eight of every 10 potential voters either chose not to vote or voted for someone else. This analysis applies to every winner in the Commonwealth. That’s why the anger and frustration of the populace will continue and why elected officials will continue to ignore common sense.
EDITOR’S NOTE: OUR JETSONIAN TECHNOLOGY IS NOT LETTING US LOAD PICTURES OF THE PLANET AND LARRY THE K DELIVERING ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE ON THE VOX-BERKSHIRE NEWS NETWORK. THE PIX FILES WON’T FIT, THE GREAT WEB WIZARD IS TELLING US. SOMEHOW, TRY TO GET OVER THE DISAPPOINTMENT. WE NOW RETURN TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING.
Surprises and Ho-Hums
— Surprise: Green-Rainbow Party candidate Mark Miller putting the scare into Chris “No Show” Speranzo, roughly 4900 to 4100. We hope “No Show” got the message.
— Ho-Hum: No Show’s quote following his “victory”: “The campaign I ran was to reach the people directly,” said Speranzo, who was first elected in 2005. “My [five years] worth of work showed through at the polls.” He ran to “reach people directly” by ducking three forums and not making himself available to people or press. The Planet shall continue to attempt to contact No Show for the interview he never gave. He is, after all, at least for a few days, a state representative.
— Surprise: The resiliency of every candidate except “No Show.” We mean, those who actually campaigned. It’s tough on families, friends, and loved ones, to say nothing of the exhaustion that sets in during and after. You can tell those who really want it and admire that. Paul Mark REALLY wanted it. Mike Case REALLY wanted it. Scott Laugenour and Smitty Pignatelli REALLY wanted it. So did everyone else who pulled out all the stops.
— Ho-Hum: Every pre-election interview you do, where campaigns are always “optimistic” and “hearing good things,” and every post-election interview, where winners “knew they had it all along” and losers rationalize.
— Surprise: Vox radio and The Berkshire News Network slumming on their promise of greasy pizza. When THE PLANET, Larry Kratka, and other staff went for a slice during one of our coverage breaks, we found the miserable teen thieves who served as runners at the polls stole all the pizza. We are consulting with our barristers, since pizza was part of the hard bargain for sitting in and co-anchoring. Maybe Mike Case and Stephan Rocz can chip in with Paul Mark to buy us pizza, in honor of “Pizzagate.” All seriousness aside, as Steve Allen used to say, there’s no better place to be on Election Night than in a newsroom with a typewriter or in a broadcast studio with a live mic. Thanks, Larry and Vox.
William Blake, Sage Political Guru, Sums It Up
To share the sense of what The People are feeling today, we turn to our resident political consultant, William Blake, who penned these words (from Chapter IX, “The First Book of Urizen”):
Then the Inhabitants of those Cities
Felt their nerves change into marrow,
And hardening bones began
In swift diseases and torments,
In throbbings & shootings & grindings
Through all the coasts, till weakened
The senses inward rushed, shrinking
Beneath the dark net of infection.
Now admit it, except for Machine Politics, don’t those words describe our situation, and don’t you think nationwide we are worse off today than we were yesterday?
Analyzing the Topless Vote
Fraulein Gungelfinger, the Betsy Ross of the petition allowing women to go topless, will win this, overwhelmingly, if she makes two slight changes in how the question is worded. She will win in a landslide if she takes out the words “of any age” after the word “women,” restricts it to females “over 18 but not older than 35,” and gets home-rule to allow that only men can voted. This formula can’t lose, because, as the poet Robert Burns write, “A man’s a man, for all that.”