Posted by: JanF | October 25, 2012

Why I Vote For Democrats: To Make Our Voices Heard … Everywhere

When we introduced the “I Vote For Democrats” series back in January, one of the first posts was entitled “Why I Vote For Democrats: To Win Elections“.

Well, there is another reason to vote for Democrats: to be heard.

President Barack Obama reminds us of that (and the importance of every single vote) in this campaign ad released this past week:
Apologies to those who still suffer from Stolen Election 2000 PTSD … but this is a BHD.

“Five hundred and thirty seven.”
“The number of votes that changed the course of American history.”
[Newscast: “Florida is too close to call”]
“The difference between what was…And what could have been…”
“So this year, if you’re thinking that your vote doesn’t count.That it won’t matter. Well, back then, there were probably at least 537 people, who felt the same way.”
Make your voice heard. Vote.”

In red and purple states where there is little doubt about the outcome of the presidential contest or the U.S. Senate races, there might be a tendency to think that your vote does not matter. Besides the obvious need to vote to elect Democratic candidates to school boards, city and county government, state legislatures, and congressional districts, there is another reason your vote matters:

To make your voice heard

Every time you stand up and are counted, even if you are voted down or shouted down, you win. Because those who vote you down and shout you down have heard your voice and while they may defeat you electorally, they can’t ignore you. Yours is one more vote that will need to be overcome for the next election and the election after that … until maybe … just maybe … there are enough of you standing up and being counted that you start winning elections.

The Republicans did not all wake up one morning and say “Let’s all get together and start hating poor people and people of color and women and gay people and unions and teachers and the middle class and Big Bird”. They started small (“Let’s hate women and people of color”) and kept building their “coalition” until they became the loudest voice heard in some states and they won elections.

But they weren’t the only voices.

What about these folks?

From Wikipedia: The States We Did Not Win in 2008 – And the Voices We Heard

State Electoral Votes Obama % D McCain % R
Alabama 9 813,479 38.74 1,266,546 60.32
Alaska 3 123,594 37.89 193,841 59.42
Arizona 10 1,034,707 45.12 1,230,111 53.64
Arkansas 6 422,310 38.86 638,017 58.72
Georgia 15 1,844,123 46.99 2,048,759 52.2
Idaho 4 236,440 36.1 403,012 61.53
Kansas 6 514,765 41.65 699,655 56.61
Kentucky 8 751,985 41.17 1,048,462 57.4
Louisiana 9 782,989 39.93 1,148,275 58.56
Mississippi 6 554,662 43 724,597 56.18
Missouri 11 1,441,911 49.29 1,445,814 49.43
Montana 3 231,667 47.25 242,763 49.52
Nebraska 2* 333,319 41.6 452,979 56.53
NE 1st Dist. 1 121,468 44.34 148,179 54.09
NE 3rd Dist. 1 73,099 29.63 169,361 68.64
North Dakota 3 141,278 44.62 168,601 53.25
Oklahoma 7 502,496 34.35 960,165 65.65
South Carolina 8 862,449 44.9 1,034,896 53.87
South Dakota 3 170,924 44.75 203,054 53.16
Tennessee 11 1,087,437 41.83 1,479,178 56.9
Texas 34 3,528,633 43.68 4,479,328 55.45
Utah 5 327,670 34.41 596,030 62.58
West Virginia 5 303,857 42.59 397,466 55.71
Wyoming 3 82,868 32.54 164,958 64.78
U.S. Total 171 16,288,130 21,344,047

The 16,288,130 people who voted for Barack Obama in these states (43% of the vote total there) but whose votes did not result in a single electoral vote: they were heard. The 1,441,911 people in Missouri who came only 3,903 votes shy of having their votes turn into 11 electoral votes: they were heard.

We only lose when we give up: when we stop speaking up … and when we stop voting.

People in Wisconsin did not give up when the governor wanted to destroy our state. We protested and our Democratic senators left the state and we GOTVed. We got our state senate back via recall elections to create a firewall to the worst that our Republican governor could do.

And what we did here was noisy enough to wake people up all over our country and energize the citizens veto of SB5 in Ohio and encourage the 99% movement. Any state is just one “Wisconsin Awakening” away from doing that same thing anywhere in our country.

What will it take to win Texas, where 3,528,633 people raised their voices in 2008? What will it take to win Tennessee, where 1,087,437 raised their voices in 2008? Arizona, 1,034,707 voices? Georgia, 1,844,123 voices? Look at those numbers! Hear their shouts!!

What will be the hot button that gets pushed in these states? Maybe the shifting demographics; maybe the Latino mayor of San Antonio stating his case and energizing his people and all people of color and people of good will in Texas; maybe a majority of voters in Arizona and Georgia finally refusing to support bigotry and hatred of their fellow citizens?

No vote is wasted, and no voice is unheard as long as we, progressive Democrats, are there to hear and help fulfill the promise of, not blue states or red states, but the United States. We will listen and we will encourage the grassroots activists who want to make things better in their states because it makes things better in all of our states when we do that.

And, remember: every single vote cast for President Obama in a red state is a vote against the Republican agenda and a reminder to everyone that you are there and YOU ARE NOT GOING AWAY.

To have my voice heard … all of our voices heard … and to say NO to the Republican agenda … another reason I Vote For Democrats and why you should too.