ELECTIONS: Crunching the Numbers

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IMAGE SOURCE: Anita Stewart

by Anita Stewart

During this election season while so many are viewing the nightly news and various news magazine programs on Sunday mornings, it would be easy to surmise by the rhetoric from the talking heads that there are only Democrats and Republicans voting. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The latest numbers from 2012 reflect that there are 316 million people in the United States. Of those millions only 146,311,000 are registered to vote. That is less than half of our population. What many Americans do not realize is that 42% of the voters in the USA are registered Independent which makes them the REAL majority of all voters. The latest breakdown of the two major political parties consists of 25% of registered voters as Republicans and 31% Democrats.

Because of the above numbers, this also means these Independent voters are supporting and voting for Third Party Candidates or making other choices that do not fall into lockstep with the current Democrat/Republican paradigm that is no longer serving us.

Say What?

There are over 30 political parties in the United States that we do not hear about through the corporate media. And some states and regions have a few more political parties that sometimes maintain ballot access and can and sometimes do officially run candidates. The remarkable thing about these numbers are the candidates that are running with these other political parties. The law states they are supposed to get equal airtime.

But the corporate media ignores them. The corporations run the debates now so they have made the decisions that these candidates cannot debate with the Republican and Democratic candidates. The corporate sponsors make up criteria that changes when they want it to and when it benefits them and their Democratic and Republican candidates. For example, a candidate must have 5% polling numbers might be a deciding factor on if they can debate or not. The Third Party candidates have to sponsor, fund and hold their own Third Party debates which again, do not get covered.

The Numbers Are Stacked With $$$

The corporate media makes a concerted effort in keeping a mostly apathetic public from hearing knowing or being able to research to find out anything about these Third Party candidates. The numbers are stacked against these candidates when people do not see them on television, or know where to look on the internet or don’t read about them in the newspaper. There is no way the voters can make informed decisions when they have their ballots in front of them.

Indeed some of these candidates have paid hefty prices for even trying to get into the Democratic or Republican debates, such as being chained to chairs for 8 hours,detainment by police and law enforcement, arrests, court fines and negative press.

Corporations and Super PACS run every phase of the electoral process to the advantage of the two major political parties, to include funding the campaigns and candidates, sponsoring the debates, paying for the millions in advertising in print and on television/radio. This is thanks to the Corporate Personhood/Citizen’s United decision by the Supreme Court in 2010. Money in Elections existed before this decision was voted on but because of this decision, the stream of money continues unabated and on an even larger scale. Hence, money buys the candidates. And you have to be able to pay to play. Another reason why Third Party candidates do not have a voice in our Elections.

Get Engaged!

An engaged citizenry would help change the election process in our country. And a complete overhaul of a flawed system that no longer works for we the people but benefits the corporations. Ranked Choice Voting, IRV and other processes have been tested and work. The biggest factor for change would be taking the money out of politics completely. Our representatives should not be bought and owned. They should be serving We the People.

So a good question to ask yourself before you vote is, “does my vote really count?”

Remember, in a true and functioning democracy everyone’s voice is heard!

What happens next is up to us!

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