Get-out-the-vote campaigns are clearly detrimental to the future of the United States of America. Individuals who do not care enough to learn about the candidates and their positions and then insist on voting, no matter how inconvenient it is, should not be encouraged to vote just for the sake of voting. I’m all for Get-Educated and Get-Informed campaigns and Meet-The-Candidate events and televised debates, etc., but voting should be at hard-to-find places and at inconvenient times so that only those who truly care will actually cast ballots. Lets have no more of these bus trips through neighborhoods rounding up people to go vote because it’s their right to do so. I’m convinced people only have such campaigns when they are pretty sure how the people so gathered are going to vote.
A recent case in the South Carolina Democratic Primary proves my point. One relatively unknown but viable candidate, former state lawmaker Vic Rawl, was defeated in the US Senate primary by a totally unknown candidate, Alvin Somebody, who is a 32 year old unemployed veteran currently facing charges of showing pornographic pictures to a USC coed and asking to go to her room with her. The unknown insists he won and is the choice of the people and will take on incumbent Republican Senator Jim DeMint in November.
Alvin has a point. With no campaigning, no advertising, and no funds raised, he got 100,351 votes to Rawl’s 69,830. (Senator DeMint got 342,000 votes in the Republican primary.) Maybe some people had heard of Rawl and figured he was an incumbent and that they should always vote against incumbents. Maybe some had heard of neither and voted for the total unknown simply because his name was first on the ballot. Maybe a small number of those votes were cast for Alvin just because he is African American. Maybe some of Rawl’s votes were because he is not African American. (I wish we were beyond all that.) Maybe some thought that if they voted at all, they had to vote on all races on the ballot even if they didn’t have any interest in or knowledge about them. One lady calling in to a talk show during a discussion of the election said that she didn’t know a lot of the candidates so she just went down the ballot and picked out a few names. I doubt that anybody except perhaps his mother voted for Alvin because they know him and like him and think he would be a good United States Senator.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks in South Carolina, and probably in some other states as well, who vote a straight party ticket and some even vote the straight Democratic Party ticket. I guess that means that Alvin will get lots of votes for senator in the November election, but it raises the question whether or not the Democratic Party has any responsibility for vetting of candidates it puts forth or can just accept all comers. Democratic Congressman James Clyburn smells a rat in the process and thinks Alvin might have been put on the ticket by some Republicans. If that is so, shame on them for doing so and shame on the Democratic Party Officials for not realizing and revealing it on day one.
It’s a sad story and another embarrassment to South Carolina and to the Democratic Party. Let’s forget Get-Out-The-Vote and get focused on Get-Educated! Or at least on paying attention.