rick santorum

Common Misconceptions About The 2016 US Elections

Misconception: Voting is just on Election day 2016, which is November 8th, 2016

Reality: While that’s mostly true, that’ll be the Democratic Nominee vs. the Republican Nominee, both of which are not chosen yet. All the buzz you’re seeing today is about the nomination contests, called Primaries and Caucuses, which will take place in early 2016. This is how the Democrats and the Republicans choose their guy/girl to represent them in the election on Election Day.
For the Dem side, here’s the information you need, state-by-state, to determine when your primary or caucus is.
Here’s the same for the Repub side.

Misconception: “My vote doesn’t matter. X candidate is already winning my state”

Reality: Beyond the standard “every vote matters” line you’ve heard over and over, this is particularly untrue of the Primaries and the Caucuses. Primaries and Caucuses go by proportional representation, which means that if Hillary gets 60% of the votes in a state and Bernie Sanders gets 30%, then Hillary only wins 60% of the delegates for that state, and Bernie gets 30%. It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it. Your vote matters, especially in the primaries.

Misconception: “Who cares? None of this matters at all.”

Reality: It’s easy to feel this way, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Beyond certain policies that just adjust your tax rate by a couple percentage points or do economic things that you might not understand, politics directly affects almost everything in your life. Job availability, how much you get paid, union membership, your HEALTHCARE, and your rights as a human being are constantly at stake, regardless of what your position is on these issues, if you have one. Politics cares about you, even if you don’t care about politics. Get just a little bit aware, spare a bit of time. It’s worth it.
Oh, and on top of all of that? One of the reasons people in government do stupid things is because the sane people stay home because they have a “real life” to attend to. It’s the crazies who consistently vote. GO VOTE.

Misconception: “So I just show up to vote on the primary/election day, right?”

Reality: NO. I mean, it should basically be that way, but it isn’t. In the USA, you have to register to vote, unless you live in one of the very few states that automatically registers you to vote.
And on top of that, some states require that voters be registered to a certain party in order to vote in that state’s primary or caucus. The links I provided at the top have the details state-by-state.
If your state has an Open Primary/Caucus, you can be registered to any party and vote in that primary/caucus.
If your state has a Modified Primary/Caucus, you don’t have to be registered for the party you’re primarying/caucusing for, but you can’t be a member of the opposing party.
If your state has a Closed Primary/Caucus, you HAVE to be registered as a member of that party to vote in that primary/caucus.
In addition, each state has a due date by which you need to be registered as a member of that party in order to vote in their primary/caucus. So be aware of that and register ASAP.
Party registration does NOT matter on election day, however.

Misconception: “Ugh, I don’t like that party, I don’t want to register as a member of that party. But I do want to vote in their Closed Primary/Caucus. Guess I just don’t get to vote.”

Reality: Registering as a member of a party does not affect anything other than what closed/modified Primaries and Caucuses you can participate in. In fact, you can register as an independent or the opposite party the day after the Primary or Caucus if you want to. It doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s a little silly NOT to register as a member of one of the parties if your state has a Closed Primary or Caucus, because then you have no say until the general election and the nominees are chosen and you have 2 options.

Misconception: “Okay. I’m registered as the appropriate party before the deadline set by my state. NOW I CAN JUST VOTE AND GO HOME, RIGHT?”

Reality: Hahaha, you think you’re off the hook? Well, most of you are. Primaries are really simple! Just like an election, you vote and you go home. Caucuses are not quite so simple. Here’s an article on the difference between a primary and a caucus.

Misconception: “So, after all the votes are cast you just tally up the number of delegates for each candidate and then you know who’s the winner, right?”

Reality: Well, the good news is that your responsibility as a common voter is through, unless you chose to be a delegate for your candidate in a Caucus. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that.

On the Dem side, there are 3,253 “pledged delegates” that attend the Democratic National Convention and vote for a nominee. These are sent from the states and are supposed to represent the way that their state voted, but they’re not technically bound to do so. Roughly, though, you can usually estimate how many of these delegates are going to vote for each candidate at the actual convention. There are additionally 794 “superdelegates”, which are mostly members of the current government who get to have one vote at the convention. Each superdelegate’s vote weighs exactly as much as a pledged delegate, so sometimes “The People” can vote mostly for one candidate and these 794 votes can swing the nomination to another candidate. The reality is, you don’t know for sure who the Dem nominee will be until they’re the Dem nominee. But the more people vote for a candidate, the more likely they’ll be to win.

On the Repub side, there are 1719 “pledged delegates” that, as with the Democrats,  are sent from the states and are supposed to represent the way that their state voted, but they’re not technically bound to do so. There are also 661 “unpledged delegates” which also operate like the superdelegates do on the Dem side. However, unlike the Dem side, some of these are just people from the states, not just members of Republican leadership, those though are included too.

Misconception: “Jesus, this only happens once every 4 years, right?”

Reality: Well, for President, yes, unless the President dies, steps down, or is removed from office. But every 2 years, Congress, the people -who actually make the damn laws- have elections as well. The Senate is up every 6 years and the House is up every 2. So while elections like 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 are all big Presidential elections, the elections of 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018, etc. are almost equally as important and have much less people actually using their vote because they think it doesn’t matter or isn’t happening. But it matters VERY much and you should try to vote on those years too.

In addition, those remaining years? The odd numbered ones? Have local elections that matter to your city and state. These will matter as well, and your vote matters EVEN MORE than usual during these years due to even worse voter turnout and the fact that there are less people in your city/state vs. the country, so your vote is a higher percentage of the votes. It makes more of a difference.

AND on top of all of that, there are sometimes “referendums”, which means you can vote for or against a specific policy or idea, rather than just voting for a person you hope best represents your interests.


REGISTER TO VOTE HERE: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN VOTE HERE (click “Find Your Polling Place”): http://www.canivote.org/

FIND OUT WHAT THE CANDIDATES SAY, SO YOU CAN PICK ONE: http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm


If anything in this post is something you didn’t understand before and now do, please spread it around. Voting and being aware about the candidates isn’t enough, you have to understand the system in order to participate.

And if you have questions about the system, you can send them to me, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Rick Santorum announced that he would not attend the same-sex wedding of a friend or loved one, to which gays and lesbians across the country responded, ‘That’s not going to be a problem. Don’t sweat that one.’
—  President Barack Obama killin’ it, as usual, at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this weekend. Full transcript here

Since my recent Stephen Colbert posts I’ve gotten a few people writing to let me know that he wasn’t actually conservative. Thanks, but I know folks - I was just kidding when I wrote, “As a conservative, you were a Worthy Adversary.” That’s a reference to one of his segments. 

Here are a few more memories from the show:

- Stephen sounds the Oppressed White Male alert

- Stephen undermines a conservative argument against contraception

- Stephen gets exasperated by Rick Santorum’s arguments against gay marriage

- Stephen admits the trick behind gendered marketing

- Stephen hangs out with Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda

I’ve noticed that people in the Republican Party don’t seem to like the stereotype that they are all sad, uneducated, trailer-dwelling redneck idiots. Which is odd: Because they seem more than happy to welcome the  Fox News-approved stereotypes that all Mexican immigrants are criminals, that all middle easterners in the US are potential terrorists, and all those unarmed black teens deserved to die violently at the hands of armed cops. Well, that’s rather funny.  Oh, my. How amusing.