God bless the Green Bay Packers. As a lifelong fan, I can’t tell you how overjoyed I was to cheer for them Sunday. They beat the Redskins at home, and as I’m sure you heard, if the Redskins lose their home game prior to the presidential election, then the incumbent president loses his job as well.
Well, start packing George; Brett Favre seems to want a new president.
All kidding aside, today is the day. Zero hour, the final push. What else could you possibly be doing that is more important today?
I, for one, will be in Milwaukee, monitoring the polls. Unbelievably, last week a flier started being distributed among African-American residents of Milwaukee with some truly outrageous claims on it. The flier stated that it was too late to register to vote (you can register the day of the election), and that if you had ever been found guilty of any crime, even a traffic violation, you couldn’t vote, among other false assertions. Basically, it was a sheet of lies and the people behind it should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Unfortunately, who is exactly responsible for it remains unknown.
Both parties denounced the flier and called it reprehensible, but the Republican party, engaged in damage control, said they thought perhaps Democrats created the flier to cast blame on Republicans. Whoever is responsible, it should be noted that this sort of crude intimidation won’t work and in fact will simply fire people up.
So speaking of firing them up, here’s an interesting scenario. It’s my humble prediction, and I’m basing this on nothing other than gut feeling, that Kerry is going to walk away with this election.
Why? Polling is for suckers. People who read and watch polls obsessively (and I’m guilty here too) forget that voters are fickle creatures. They aren’t easily read and there are a lot of voters who are never polled.
On election day, Bush is going to be stunned by an American public that is unhappy, unemployed, sent off to war on false pretenses and paying through the nose for their heating bills.
I also predict that this election is the beginning of the end for the Republican Party. Here’s why:
First, the demographics in this country are changing. While putting racial groups into political boxes doesn’t often work well, the rise in Latino voters is definitely going to change American politics. The half-hearted embrace of Latinos by the Republican Party does not go unnoticed in the Latino community. It’s hard to get behind a party that generally thinks of you as the help instead of a constituency.
Also, generational attitudes are shifting away from many of the culturally conservative mores of the Republican Party. The anti-gay stance of the Republican Party (because no matter how you dress it up, anti-gay marriage is anti-gay) is going to be dropped in the next 20 years. It simply doesn’t resonate with an American public that is finally accepting its gay brethren.
Remaining anti-choice also means rejecting the civil rights and humanity of half of all American voters. While those on the right say they’re protecting the rights of the unborn child, they are not. They are keeping women from exercising their rights for a mixture of outdated, sexist reasons.
The internal squabbles in the Republican Party are going to doom its effectiveness. There are plenty of isolationists still around who don’t think we should be fighting in Iraq, war on terror or not. There are plenty of fiscal conservatives who simply can’t understand how the party of business people is so bad at balancing its own books. There are plenty of religious conservatives who see any concession to cultural change as morally treasonous.
For all these reasons and more, the Republican Party is heading into a long twilight.
Or maybe I’m totally wrong. Maybe a Kerry victory will do what four years of George W. Bush has done to the left; mobilize, energize and revitalize.
Either way, today is the day. Go vote. You have your reasons why, and I’m not going to convince you of anything at the last minute.
Exercise your rights. It’s your duty.
Rob Deters (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a third-year law student.