Marquel spent this entire Saturday occupied with reading older issues of the New York Times. He was smilingly reading this December 30, 1877 article, “The Power of Ignorance,” which deplored its intellectual position – though negative – still impressive in its domination. So, imagine his reaction when he read, The Power of Political Ignorance: a totally different take on a similar issue. Voters who split their ticket know less and matter more. This new political doctrine, thought Marquel, the dumber the voter, the more important his vote. A strange doctrine but reporting on this issue meant a relatively easy assignment. Just interview ignorant voters. That meant I had to find several stupid people. What could be easier. Easier than finding Georgina Bloomberg’s horse. Like look under her, right, see who’s she sitting on?
So it was actually quite frustrating. I mean the choices. There were so many stupid people, even in New York, that it wasn’t the easiest thing to decide exactly which stupids to choose. The most tempting naturally were the really dense, the stupidest people in the city. That made it easier. Look for Republicans. I found one in a bar (where else).
“So “, I began ” I’m looking into ticket splitting. Ever done that? ”
“Not sure ” he muttered.
“Like if you vote for a republican for president but a democrat for another office. Not voting a straight party line ”
“I never vote a party line. I vote my line. Whoever I think is best.”
“So even though you’re a republican you sometimes vote for democrats?”
“Depends. I always vote for Reagan.”
“Hmm…” I started, “He hasn’t been on the ballot in quite a long time.”
He smiled. “There’s always write in.”
“Can I ask you how you voted last time, or would that be too intrusive?” I asked.
“Anybody who’s ashamed how he voted shouldn’t have voted,” he asserted. A new doctrine. A republican doctrine.
“So,” I repeated,” who?”
“Well I couldn’t voted for that Kenyan so I wrote in Reagan, as I always do, and I also voted for Cuomo.” He explained.
“You split your ticket!” I exclaimed.
“I guess…” he mumbled.
“Please let me ask you a few questions, okay?” I begged.
“Shoot,” he did.
“So, who is the greatest political figure of the 20th century?” I quizzed.
“How about the 19th century?” I imposed.
“Reagan, by far.” he said.
“Even though he wasn’t in politics then?” I asked.
“Greatest American who ever lived,” he asserted.
“Okay,” I switched, “what about now, in the 21st century. I know it’s confusing me. It must be a challenge for you too.”
“Nope. Reagan.” He stared into space, his eyes seeming to merge. He seemed in heaven.
“You love him.” I said.
“I’m a good American.”
“You know Reagan had Alzheimer’s during most of his Presidency, many insist all of it.” I said.
“Could be.” he said. “If so, it makes him greater. He overcame an unchallengeable osbstacle. That’s what great Americans are for.”
I excused myself. I saw another Republican. I could tell by the little American flag on his lapel. I asked him basically what I had asked my first guest.
“Sure. Republicans are smart. We vote our interests. It’s really not a question of party, and that’s what makes America great.” he said.
“America sure has lots of reasons to be great when you ask a Republican.” I observed.
He looked at me with sympathy. “Yeah, we are aware of how great we are. Democrats are aware of how great we were. Due to great Republican presidents.”
“Like Reagan?” I asked, expecting fireworks.
“He was just one of many.” My new Republican friend said.
“So who did you vote for last time?” I asked.
“I didn’t vote for Obama, if that’s what you want to know.” he said. “And I didn’t vote for Cuomo or any of those other immigrant types. This year I voted for two Republicans.
“Oh,” said, disappointed that this might not be a Republican I wanted. “did you ever split your vote?”
“Almost always,” he said, “this year was an exception. I couldn’t vote for that Kenyan.”
“Is that all you had against him?” I asked.
“No, he wasn’t for me,” he said.
“Well he revamped health insurance. A bit.” I said.
“Yeah, well, I’m not sick. Don’t need it.” He said.
“He had a good immigration bill.” I noted
“Maybe if I lived in Texas.” he said. “Here, they cook good ethnic food.”
“What about his school ideas? Common core, and all that?”
“I don’t have any kids in school…” he said pausing obviously.
“So it doesn’t matter.” I said.
“Well, actually I have three kids. But they’re all three dumber than ants. They don’t need Common Core. They need common sense. They’ll need it to find a job.” He lamented.
“So basically,” I said, “you vote, and are willing to cross party lines, whenever your personal interests are clearly at stake.”
“Isn’t that what voting is for?” he asked. “To get what you want.”
“Thats surely part of it,” I agreed.
One more Republican just to confirm that dumb people vote dumb.
This one had two flags. One American, the other mysterious. Something to do with missing in action, even though we haven’t had a missing in action in just about fifty years. Unless you count the lost girls. But they’re not American.
“So,” I asked. “do you split your vote?”
“You mean vote democratic?” he asked.
“Exactly.” I said.
“Pretty often. I voted for Cuomo because he wasn’t going to raise taxes. On any body. And he was going to lower them on the rich. And he wasn’t giving shit to deBlasio. Except shit. He’s my kind of candidate. T0o bad he’s not Republican.”
“You realize you might have elected Cuomo? He needed crossover Republican votes. So you were every important to that political machine. All crossover votes are that important. They change elections and change the country.” I opined.
He puffed out his chest. “I got calls from Democrats wanting me to vote for Cuomo. I didn’t tell them I was going to, so I remember them calling me three or four times a day. What idiots.” he said.
“You voted for those idiots.” I said.
“No, I voted for Cuomo. I didn’t vote for the idiots who supported him.” he said.
“Democrats, you mean.” I inquired.
“Pretty much.” he said.
“So you vote for whomever will do the most for you. Now, not in ten years. Immediately.” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “that’s all you can be sure of.”
I was sure that these Republicans couldn’t tell shit from shinola when it came to politics. They want their icons, only what they need right now, and don’t care about party lines if they see something in it for them. Despite all their talk about the greatness of America, it never entered their voting decisions. It was more like the greatness of them. Basically, they’re voting for…Me!
I couldn’t blame them. If I could vote for Me, I would do it too. I just don’t see people supporting any kind of causes that would benefit me, in the sense that it would make my country better, or at least as good as it was when I grew up. I suppose my concern for Guantanamo is foreign to these voters.
The answer would be “I’m not in jail so who cares?”
And drone attacks on collaterals as well as Americans without a trial are also something they rarely find aimed at them. Lower taxes on the rich? I guess they figure why resent it. Nobody is offering lower taxes on the poor, or even the middle class, so if somebody can have lower taxes, why not the rich? So the dumber you are, the more important your vote is.
Except after all this, I’m less sure how dumb they are.