For the first time, early voting was an option in The Golden State. Calfornians had just over a week, including weekends, to find a “station” and cast their ballots, and I was among them. I left feeling positive — about the process and my votes — and went home full of 21st Century, modernist pride. Then I heard.
My candidate dropped out of the race. What? On the eve of Super Tuesday? Before the big numbers came in? I was horrified. My vote had been wasted (for that office, at least). And voting doesn’t let you have do-overs.
The best laid plans
In a sense, I felt betrayed. My choice wasn’t someone who’d been hanging by a funding thread for weeks. Not someone who ignored the inevitable. My candidate had strengthened every week of the campaign, had earned the respect of every pundit, and was poised to make a difference. I thought.
Politics has always been an endless stream of negotiated/compromised agreements. Or it was until Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House. His take-no-prisoners approach was both intransigent and frequently insulting to opponents. He was the perfect precursor for the current Name Caller in Chief, and he served to foreshadow the Tea Party mantra of no compromise.
His successor in both substance and style is Kentucky’s senior senator, a man with no neck; his flesh goes directly from his chin to his chest in uninterrupted wattle. He has raised legislative obstruction to the status of immovable object, all in service to the Incredible Bulk who sits behind the Resolute Desk. The two of them, aided and abetted by others in their party, made Republican early voting an extinction event — by eliminating primaries in states that might run a Republican challenger to The Don, they made certain that their Chosen One would face no opposition. At least, not from inside. God only knows what they’re planning to do from outside.
A cautionary tale
But for Democrats, at least this time around, I have a humble suggestion: don’t cast your vote until you know who’s in the running: unlike at the racetrack, you do not get your bet back when your candidate is scratched.