By the time you read this, Super Tuesday will be a thing of the past. But, since this was my first time participating in an election that wasn’t directly for the next President, I thought I’d share some first-timer experience.
Yes, that’s correct. I am…um…old enough to have participated in many elections, and have never before exercised my right to check boxes in a primary, caucus, or any other non-general election.
Now, before you go flogging me with the judgement whip – let me explain.
First, I’ve only lived in this state for about 10 years. In my prior state, I wasn’t ALLOWED to vote in the primaries, because I’m not affiliated with any political party. I spent most of my adult life in a state that shut out those of us not willing to provide external support to one of the two major players in this twisted, broken game we call “politics.”
And why don’t I align myself with a party? Because parties are supposed to be fun, with friends, dancing, music, and great munchies. They’re NOT supposed to be some twisted version of Satan’s Zoo, where all the monkeys hoot and snort around their territory while flinging virtual dung at each other. We innocent observers stand at what we hope is a safe distance – we know the whole thing stinks, yet we’re unwilling to intervene because we might end up getting a steaming, grain-laden fecal pie right in the kisser.
So yeah, if THAT is what political “parties” are like, I think I’ll be a hermit and sit at home on the couch, eating popcorn and NOT dodging poo and NOT affiliating with either group of classless Neanderthals.
I suppose I have that in common with our esteemed former Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura. (My dad and my brother were totally into WWE, back when it was WWF – we watched as religiously as we went to Mass – and I didn’t live here when he was Governor, so he’ll always be Jesse “The Body” to me.)
That, and these impressive guns:
It’s like we’re twins.
Anyway, he’s a bit more…well, you can view his thoughts on the whole mess here, if you’re curious. But suffice it to say I’m not the biggest fan of the whole political machine, either. Normally, I happily stick my head in the sand and ignore it all until it comes time to vote for President, at which time I try to pick the least unpalatable option.
This is no easy feat. It’s much like choosing which poison to drink. Death by suffocation or severe intestinal distress?
This year, though, was a little bit different. While I haven’t yet decided which of the current frontrunners is least likely to force me to flee to a deserted island*, I did know that there was at least one candidate I wanted to push out of the running.
*I used to say “move to Canada” – but that shiz is FREAKIN COLD YO. So no.
When I first heard that Trump was running for President, I (and, I suspect, much of America) was amused. Initially, it wasn’t a terrible thing, really. Since he’s a personality of pop culture, he got a lot of people paying attention to politics that couldn’t be bothered with it all in the past. Let’s face it, if you’re of the can’t-miss-The-Bachelor, Kardashians-are-fascinating** set, there isn’t much in American politics that likely interests you.
**For the record, I don’t care about either of those, OR politics, because boring.
But once the “You’re Fired” guy runs for office? THINGS JUST GOT INTERESTING.
Trump is unabashedly and decidedly different. He’s not your mother’s politician. He’s bold, he’s brash, and he’s saying a lot of things that a lot of people want to hear. He made politics entertaining, which made it interesting to those of us who’d rather do yard work or go to the dentist than follow politics.
But we all knew that this was just a role he was playing. Right? The man’s not a politician. HE’S A FREAKING CARICATURE. He’s only making a statement. He can’t REALLY want to be President. Eventually, he’ll do the right thing and bow out.
COME ON, AMERICA. What in the exact hell is happening here? You DO realize that this walking satire might ACTUALLY have a shot at leading the nation in a few short months?
<insert collective “oh shi@($@#$” moment>
And you know what else totally puzzles me? Trump has a HUGE following…but I have yet to meet a person that admits publicly that they’re voting for this clown. He’s like the most popular politician that NO ONE will admit they support.
ZOMG. TRUMP IS THE WAL-MART OF POLITICS.
(You know how THAT is, right? When you’re mingling in your social circle, everyone is singing the praises of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and how they only buy free range quinoa and antibiotic-free tofu and would NEVER EVER support Evil Corporate Giants and their dirty High Fructose Corn Syrup profits. But if you peeked into their pantries, I suspect the contents would Equate to their Great Values coming from you-know-where. It’s the biggest retail company that NOBODY SHOPS AT. Mysterious.) <cough>
Anyway. As an Independent in this state, I can participate in either party’s caucus, as long as I agree to only participate in one or the other. I also have to have voted for that party at least once before, and generally agree with stuff they support. (I assume if you don’t really care about either party, that counts. School of Close Enough gave me a C.) So I thought it might be a good time to use my one small voice at the state caucus to vote thusly:
So off to the Republican caucus I went, to cast my vote for Not Trump.
The process started at 7. I showed up at 6:30 so I could sign in and figure out what I was supposed to actually DO. And I’m glad I did, because the place was a flippin’ madhouse. (You’d think Prince came home to visit or something.) I wedged my truck into a questionable half-space between another car and a lamppost, and headed inside.
By this time, it was 6:42, and from the end of the rather formidable line, I heard “we’re out of forms already.” Even though this state has the highest voter turnout, they simply weren’t prepared for the flood of people wanting to have a say this early in the process.
Eventually, we all got directed to different rooms, separated by “precinct.” (My precinct was green on the map. Thus begins and ends my knowledge of precincts. ???)
Once I found my room (since I’m still in my work heels, OF COURSE it was the furthest one from the door) we all had to sign in. They wanted my name, address, phone number, and email address. They got my name, my signature, my address, and a dirty look. (When you’re an independent, EVERYONE wants a piece of you come election time. Why make it easy? COME FIND ME BRO.)
There was one more spot on the form to complete….I was asked to “initial this box if you’re voting in the next election.”
I took a look at the box the volunteer was pointing to. It said, “Voting GOP Next Election?”
“I only initial this if I’m voting Republican, then – not if I’m just planning to vote, right?”
The volunteer confirmed this. “Right. Are you voting Republican for our next President?”
What I wanted to say: Well, that depends. BUT CERTAINLY AND MOST DEFINITIVELY NOT IF YOU CLOWNS PICK TRUMP.
What I actually said: “I’m…still undecided.”
He then gave me a name tag with my first name printed on it. I stuck it on and watched a few others sign in. Turns out that if you ARE voting GOP in the fall, you get a red dot on your name tag.
Out of fifty or so caucus attendees in my little room, guess how many weren’t marked with a red dot?
I remember scanning the room, my eyes locating red dot after red dot, one affixed to every. single. name tag on every. single. person. Every last ever-loving one of ’em was claiming to vote Republican, no matter what.
That was a solo I wasn’t planning on singing. But I grabbed the mike and ran with it. The Scarlet Lemming, I ain’t.
(But seriously. Really? REALLY??!?? Even if it’s TRUMP? I judge you, Red Dot Society. I. JUDGE. YOU.)
Now it was time to get down to business.
We opened up with the Pledge of Allegiance (a nice touch, although someone needs to remind people to take their hats off. Do they not teach this in schools anymore?)
Next, after “electing” the emcee (who probably has a more official title that I can’t recall), a secretary, and two vote counters, the leader emcee dude read a statement from each of the candidates “in the running.” YAWN. No surprises there. I’m sure your mothers all think you’re as fabulous as you say you are. I’ll admit it was really difficult to
refrain from playing a few rounds of Candy Crush focus on these little love letters. I give myself C+ for the effort (and beat two more levels. GO ME)
Finally, it was time to vote. Paper ballots (ah, good ol’ 1890’s technology!) were handed out, marked, and collected.
Then, because it was nearly 8 PM and I was hungry, I left. (Which is totally OK – you can stay and listen as some boring politics stuff gets discussed, or you can go home and eat a turkey burger. In my house, the burger ALWAYS wins. #teamhungry)
On the way out (and there were STILL people coming in!) I overheard a few of the volunteers commenting on the turnout. Last go-round, they thought they had MAYBE fifty or sixty voters for the caucus at this location. This year, there were over fifty in my precinct alone – close to a thousand total crammed into the local high school to have their say that night.
And this was consistent across the entire state.
Kind of warms my heart that so many people showed up. Because showing up means they still CARE.
My state hasn’t given up. Not yet.
Ironically, one of Trump’s claims is that “I really unify and bring people together.“ And, I suppose on Tuesday in Minnesota, he did just that. Attendance at the Republican caucus was 75% higher than it was in 2008. People unified and turned out in droves to join their voices together and make sure they were heard.
And they didn’t pick Trump. Neither did the Democrats pick Clinton:
THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.
Trump? You’re fired.