The Election Is Not The End


Well, Nate Silver’s book THE SIGNAL AND THE NOISE is ranked #3 on Amazon as I write this.

Obama won and I won’t pretend to be sad about it. I don’t think Romney was trying to become president for nefarious reasons–I’m sure he wanted to do good for the nation–but the policies he promised would have been terrible. Obamacare and financial reform might have been weak sauce, but that’s better than an empty bowl.

What’s more, I think he could have won if he hadn’t become so cynical about the process. It wasn’t just his 47% comment, which hurt him badly; he campaigned as though the strategy to win the White House was to say just about anything that sounded good at the moment. Yes, Nate Silver and the pollsters showed the superiority of their numbers-driven system, but the other big winners here were the fact-checkers. The media is changing the way it addresses untruth, and it’s about time.

The Senate has lost Lieberman and Nelson, two of its most conservative Democrats. Can we have a public option now? And filibuster reform? Republicans retained their majority in the House and have enough to seats in the Senate to continue to block, thwart, and slow the people’s business. With luck, McConnell et al will abandon their Deny Obama Everything strategy and work with him.

As for Obama, support for same-sex marriage didn’t hurt him at all, and neither did his demands to increase taxes on the wealthy. Those are welcome changes, too. Still, I know most Americans don’t vote based on this or that policy: does the country seem to be on the upswing? That’s what drives most votes, not the thickets of policy and personality that drives most political junkies.

But here’s the important thing: It’s not over. Voting isn’t the end. I mean it. Too many people think that the only influence we have over our political choices is our vote.

It’s not. Politicians pay attention to the letters they get, and a small number of them can have a real impact. Here’s the text of the letter I’m going to send today:

Dear Mr. President:

I voted for you and I’m happy that you have won a second term. I believe you’ve been a good leader for this country and that you are a decent man.

That’s why I’m asking you to end predator drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The loss of innocent lives in this way is unacceptable. Also, dropping bombs only hardens the resolve of the target population, creating more enemies than we could ever destroy.

As an American citizen and a voter, I’m saying we must end this program.

Thank you,

Your vote is not your voice. Your voice is your voice. Speak up. Be heard.