No longer an election, but a referendum

There are probably 105 million registered voters ready to cast their ballots in the upcoming presidential election. That figure is unlikely to grow much by November since politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, seem to be courting the same true and tried electorate, the ultimate political cliché: the American Center.

As for the other “potential” voters, perhaps close to 100 million forgotten Americans… well, they don’t count… seldom have. Not since FDR, anyway!

Tapping for the votes of the now-disenfranchised, whether by indifference or political dissuasion, has never been a promising challenge for the Republicans, nor is it now. It would be like searching for tulips in a field of daisies. And the Democrats seem too lazy, or unwilling, to enlarge their ranks, to make theirs a grassroots party. It appears much easier to them, and far less controversial, to wait their turn at the trough… a turn bound to come since monopolistic special interest groups believe in an “equal opportunity” duopoly system.

A political scientist friend, who justly claims expertise in the field of statistical analysis, told me six months ago that the country is not divided in the sense most people feel that it is. Rather than bisected, the country is trisected, according to my friend. He is referring to the three groups that make up 95% of the electorate. Those who do not register, and vote, are not accorded by him the status of being part of the country in political terms.

As far as my friend is concerned, we have three slices of “political Americana ” playing a role (Greens, Libertarians, etc. are excluded) each with a very similar number of followers, approximately 35 million: staunch Republicans, traditional Democrats, and the “Weather Vane” rest. The rank-and-file which make up the first two groups are said to be immutable, unchangeable and politically spoken for.

The two political parties are expected to battle for the hearts and minds of those 35 million “Weather Vane” folk whose vote will ultimately determine who ends up with the reins of government. Political ads and biased media portrayals will shift the opinion of this “Weather Vane” group, as will significant events popping up, reported through the sieves and colorations of the media.

The so-called traditional Democrats, however, might be immutable and unchangeable as the Republican faithful… but are not so easily spoken for. Democrats are far more likely to sit out an election than are their Republican counterparts. And that is something that the Democratic Party can ill-afford at a time when they experience a lack of charismatic leadership. This 2004 bout happens to be one of those times for Democrats when the leading party figureheads fail to measure up. The “wheelers and dealers” of the party did not like Dean- forget about the excuses that ‘Dean could not beat Bush’ or the orchestrated implosion, and are now stuck with Kerry, a consummate politician from what to many Americans is the putrid Washington scene.

This past week, with Kerry holding the majority of delegates, the party elders had little choice but to show unity… and we saw them all on stage embracing Kerry’s candidacy, and the candidate himself. One would guess that the only thing remaining for both candidate and party is to repudiate and denounce anything that smacks of “liberal,” true or imaginary. Walter Cronkite’s recent warning to Democrats of not reneging on such epithet notwithstanding. To get the “Weather Vane” vote, Democratic politicians believe they must strongly deny liberalism and progressive activism as Peter denied Christ.

Meantime, this weekend in Oregon , Dennis Kucinich, one of the few progressive politicians left in the nation, was still trying to inject some social conscience to the Democratic Party’s platform. Dream on, Dennis!

A true pro-people candidate has not been in the cards for Americans for many a blue moon. It’s looking more and more as if this year, for a great many, the election will be strictly a referendum.

Bush vs. Any-Body (Anti-Bush).