No real reason to vote means no one will

Allen Hines

Some political scientists blame low voter turnout on apathy. Maybe so, but when the top two political parties are fundamentally the same, apathy is understandable.

Both sides of the mainstream punditry — Democrat and Republican – have been preaching that the upcoming November elections could be one of the most important in history. Democrats are looking to capitalize on the current administration’s unpopularity and gain seats in Congress. Republicans are looking to maintain their dominion over all three branches of government. But, as we shall soon see, differences in party affiliation don’t matter. So instead let’s look at differences — or lack thereof — in political policy.

On Sept. 7, the Senate approved the 2007 Defense Appropriations bill, which had a price tag of $468 billion, according to Surely no Democrats – the anti-war party – voted for the bill, right? Wrong. The bill passed 98-0.

Instead of opposing the bill, Democrats used the opportunity to attack the Bush administration. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) said, “What we have is a failure of leadership. What was hailed as our shortest war has now become one of our longest.”

Sen. Kent Conrad (D) of North Dakota said, “Osama bin Laden remains at large and capable of attacking our country again.”

Notice in both of these quotes that the Democrats present no plan to end the unlawful war on Iraq. That’s because they don’t have one. The closest thing to a plan they have come up with is a notion to develop a timetable for withdrawal. But as Democrats try to come up with a feasible plan, U.S. troops are killing Iraqis, Iraqis are killing U.S. troops and Iraqis, trained by the U.S. military, are killing other Iraqis.

So, if you’re against the war on Iraq, who do you vote for? Or do you vote at all?

The war is only one issue on which the Democrats and Republicans overlap. Others include abortion rights, immigrant rights and unwavering support for Israel.

Unfortunately, third parties have little chance in the U.S. political system. The laws favor the two major parties. For instance, candidates in some states have to pay a filing fee of 7 percent of the annual salary of the office for which they’re running. Democrats and Republicans have big party machines to cover these costs, but third-party candidates often have small budgets.

Unless election laws are reformed, we will have no real choice other than the Democrats and Republicans. But being forced to choose between Hillary Clinton and Bill Frist is hardly any choice at all.

Maybe the Democratic party should formally fuse with the Republicans. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry about low voter turnout because we wouldn’t need elections, and no one would be fooled into thinking they are two separate parties. Another benefit would be that the de facto oligarchy of the ruling class in this country would become reality and cause the masses to fight for real change.

Allen Hines is a sophomore pre-journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].