[This post has been updated as of 1:23 pm on October 13, 2004.]
In "My Stance, and I'm Sticking With It," Michael Blowhard wonders whether staying home on election day would send a message to the political classes:
I have to admit that what I'm really hoping to see is the nonvoting percentage of the electorate grow so huge that the political class is forced to ask themselves if maybe, just maybe, they're doing something wrong. If only dramatically tumbling CD sales can shake up the music business, perhaps only nose-diving voter-participation figures can wake up our political class. Too bad we aren't offered a "none of the above" option in the voting booth -- a reform I'd genuinely like to see enacted.I think staying home would send a message to the political parties: Your strategy is working.
Apart from the presidential race and the odd Senate race, through the magic of gerrymandering, the web of campaign finance "reform" laws and the crazy patchwork quilt of ballot access laws, our two main political parties have done all they can to ensure that most of our elections aren't competitive. (See "Suppose They Gave an Election and Nobody Came?"). So if we all stayed home, we'd just be doing our part to implement their strategy of rendering elections obsolete.
I've thought about this and believe I have hit upon the answer. I'm going to form a new political party called the "None of the Above" party. Our simple non-partisan platform will consist solely of doing anything we can to attack the anti-democratic laws, policies and procedures utilized by the Democrats and Republicans to maintain their oligopoly.
Each election, our vote tallies would help quantify the dissatisfaction I sense many voters feel. It might even send a message to the establishment, though I doubt they'd take it constructively.
Meanwhile, we'd plug along, implementing our platform wherever we could. As we succeed in opening up elections in particular jurisdictions, I expect our party members in those jurisdictions would leave us for partisan political parties that more closely match their own preferences.
After all, once you have a true choice, you no longer have any reason to vote None of the Above.
UPDATE: A commenter at 2Blowhards pointed out that "Brewster's Millions," a Richard Pryor movie from the 1980s, used something like this None of the Above idea. If so, I only wonder why no one's thought to implement it yet. We've had 20 years to work out the kinks. And then I found this page advocating a none-of-the-above ballot line item, so I guess someone has thought about implementing it and now I'm left wondering why the hell I bother to post anything if everyone's already thought of everything.