Friday, November 18, 2016

Alan Grayson Offers A Plainspoken Bill That Allows Americans To Vote With Our Middle Fingers


The above is certainly one of Grayson's last floor speeches-- at least until 2019-- and he made the best of it with a proposal I've been waiting for. In fact, I think it's a proposal many people outside of the professional political class, regardless of party, will be excited about: NONE OF THE ABOVE as a ballot designation in federal elections. I talked with Grayson several times while he was writing the bill and I know he didn't just have presidential elections in mind-- let alone this particular one-- although I suspect many people will interpret it that way. But look at some of the gruesome choices voters were asked to make around the country-- like this half dozen where there, quite literally, was no lesser between the two evils:
Florida Senate: Marco Rubio vs Patrick Murphy
Indiana Senate: Todd Young vs Evan Bayh
West Virginia Governor: Jim Justice vs Bill Cole
CA-07: Ami Bera vs Scott Jones
TX-23: Will Hurd vs Pete Gallego
MI-01: Jack Bergman vs Lon Johnson
None of this collection of lobbyists, crooks, imbeciles, liars and drunks is remotely acceptable for public office. And they're far from the only ones. So Grayson's legislation isn't just a reaction to the vast majority of Americans who said they were dissatisfied with both presidential candidates.

If Grayson's bill passes-- hard to imagine professional politicians would ever agree to this kind of reform that threatens their careers-- voters could vote for "none of the above" and if "none of the above" gets more votes than any of the candidates, there would have to be a do-over, presumably starting with primaries to pick new candidates.

As you can see from Grayson's speech, had the Democrats not "somehow" wound nominating such an unacceptable candidate, almost anyone would have beat Trump. Grayson commissioned a poll the first week in November that showed voters were deeply dissatisfied with their ballot choices. If given the choice, 40% would have opted to reject all of the presidential candidates; the split among the remaining candidates would have left both Clinton (30%) and Trump (27%) defeated by None Of The Above.

Wednesday evening-- in that speech above-- Grayson told his colleagues and, more important, the American people that "In one election after another, the voters feel completely ignored. Little or no effort is made to explain to them how their lives might be improved by any candidates running for office. People feel they are being offered a choice between the lesser of two evils. Well, take it from me: the choice between two evils is evil." In a press release, his office asserted that:
Grayson noted that even the mere threat of a NOTA-majority vote will be an effective reform tool. For instance, if a majority of voters reject the candidates-- including the all-too-common unfit, but entrenched incumbent-- an election re-do opens the door to lesser-funded or unknown, yet better qualified, opponents.

The specter of a NOTA vote would also force candidates to curb the costly negative ads that rely on a corrupt, special interest-driven campaign finance system, which also alienates voters. The more positive campaigns that result from it would boost turnout. Even a large NOTA vote that falls just short of a majority will send a clear message to a winning candidate: ‘do your job better.’

...The national survey of more than 1,600 registered voters revealed that just more than half of all voters were also disappointed with their presidential primary choices, with more than half of Republicans and two-thirds of independents expressing displeasure with their primary ballot choices. Eighty percent of American adults did not participate in the Presidential primaries.

“Our grievances as a country, and our divisions, are massive, deep, intractable and widely shared. We must declare our independence from a system that constantly and perpetually generates unappealing, and frankly sometimes appalling, alternatives,” Grayson said on the House floor. “We can’t go on like this.”

“We deserve a real choice: to choose None of the Above,” offered Rep. Grayson. He called it “voting with your middle finger.”
Grayson's poll found that Obama would have beaten Trump by 2%. Bill Clinton would have won with a 4% margin. Biden would have beaten Trump by 8%. And Bernie would have beaten Trump by a jaw-dropping 12%-- a massive landslide. And Bernie would have beaten Ted Cruz by 10 points and Marco Rubio by 4 points. But my favorite line was about putting the fear of God into incumbents, most of whom rarely if ever have serious opponents. None of the Above would be a constant serious opponent that would make incumbents step up their games-- and to the benefit of the people. "We need to make sure that the comfortable here in this room and down the hal aren't too comfortable and that even pampered incumbents in gerrymandered districts would have to work diligently to defeat the specter of None of The Above."

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At 9:04 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I could not agree more.

At 5:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fruitless effort and wasted energy to consider this, although I do like Alan a lot, for he is courageous and daring and speaks out. While I certainly agree with this principle, it is ridiculously foolish and I cannot imagine it would ever work out to any benefit. Basically, it would be like third party voting, which I have widely criticized during this election. Too many people hated Hillary enough to not vote for her just stop Trump, and this would fall in that category. My cousin was one of them. I got tons of blowback for voting for her and look at what my liberal cousin got instead, as well as the rest of us. Too many folks love Trump and his ilk and only the Dem side of things would ever have voted "none of the above" - Trump would have won anyway, probably by a wider margin. Too many people are too unaware, angry and ignorant to care or understand this concept. Let's see where these Trumpy people go when the shit hits the fan and they get screwed. Or perhaps they'll get more heated up, like the Germans did, rallying more and more around Hitler. Resistance will then be futile, a la Star Trek. We are really in for it now.

At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and may I add to the above comment, please stop saying one word about polls in the blog. They are a waste and cannot predict anything. - surely that has been demonstrated very clearly. Maybe Bernie could have beaten Trump, I would have loved that, but who the hell knows? Maybe anti Semitism would have come out of the woodwork big time and ruined Bernie's chances. What will happen now with Bannon, the new big shot and big anti Semite? Will Jews now be added to the list of people to hate? All bets are off.

At 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Anonymous @ 5:11 AM. Polls and polling are all over the map and don't really tell us jack shit. Their only "utility" is so that lazy people can cherry-pick them to reinforce a preconceived narrative. Exit polls are the worst.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Regarding that comment, more Trump voters than Clinton voters would have voted for NOTA. It’s not a big difference, but it’s there. So it’s wrong to assume that NOTA would benefit the Republicans. The real strength of NOTA is not in either party, but among Independents, third-party supporters and non-voters. The vast majority of each of those groups (including both Johnson and Stein supporters) would vote NOTA if they had a chance-- because they look at the choices dispassionately, and they realize that they suck.

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've wanted NOTA for a long time. Kudos to Grayson for trying to introduce this. I only wish he'd won his race and was in the Senate/ He'd quickly be a leader by openly opposing Trump. Screw Schumer!

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left president blank in this election with the luxury of living in CA. I would look forward to voting NOTA for that hag Dianne Feinstein in 2018.

Kim Kaufman

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Anon said...

Look at the map of Tuesday the 8th.
What states that Hillary won would Bernie have lost? None. He literally could not have done worse than Hillary and he sure as hell would have won Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania.

He could not have done worse than Hillary. And she gave us President Trump.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Anon said...

Agreed. The folks above are thinking about this through their two party filter and what would work best for Democrats.

Ha, look what that gave us! It's time to flush that thinking, stat.

At 7:24 AM, Blogger Anon said...

Agreed. The folks above are thinking about this through their two party filter and what would work best for Democrats.

Ha, look what that gave us! It's time to flush that thinking, stat.


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