Taxidermy and Why it Won‘t Work

This week, rather than focusing on the Blue caravan consisting of the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, and other white supremacist groups riding into D.C. to defend their hero, I prefer to focus on the largest group of American voters, 3 million more than cast their votes for Biden, and 8 million more than cast their votes for #45, the 80 million out of a total of 238 American voters who did not vote. They are the largest percentage of the electorate, 33 1/3 % to be exact. Who are these people? It helps to understand that they tend to fall into one of three categories: those who can’t vote because they are either undocumented, or incarcerated, or paroled; and those discouraged from voting because of impediments like strict ID laws or lack of a street address; and those so disaffected by US politics they no longer care to vote — if they ever did.

For obvious reasons, trying to determine how many undocumented people could not vote is speculative at best. That number ranges from 10.5 million to 12 million or 3.2% to 3.5% of the total population. Incarcerated people .7% of the population, cannot vote. That equals 2,310.371 people. some of them simply held while awaiting trial, the highest percentage of incarcerated people in the world. Additionally twenty-seven states still deny the franchise to felony probationers (fortunately the trend is slowly changing to restore the vote to people who have served their time) such that 5.2 million ex-felons cannot vote. These two groups, undocumented immigrants and incarcerated people and ex-felons account for a total of plus/or/minus 20,110,471 million.

If we exclude these two groups, that still leaves 217,989,529 non-voters some of whom, for a spectrum of reasons, have been discouraged from voting. For some of these, strict voter ID laws cause a number of black, Hispanic, Native American, elderly, transgender, and poor voters to fall between the cracks. Pressure for strict ID laws comes mostly from the GOP (for the obvious reason that in all probability most of this group is thought to vote Democrat) but the laws are in a constant state of flux, and the number is hard to determine.

For other folks, many without a permanent street address, voting was impossible. (For example, one year ago as I drove north through the length of Kern County, California I encountered not one human being aside from the clerks behind convenience store counters in the gas stations we patronized. I discovered where many of Kern County’s people now reside: the railroad right of way between Fresno and Hanford, a distance of 34 miles, is lined with tent cities.) How many tent dwellers, evicted either by landlords, or mortgage default and other folks without permanent street addresses exist at present in the US? As the Depression worsens, the number mounts. Clearly the Office of Government Statistics has not busied itself tallying their number. According to the August 6, 2020 edition of the Washington Post, #45 called for another eviction moratorium, but push back by landlords did not help re-elect him. It’s safe to say, however, that even with a burning desire to vote, voter ID impediments, including not having a permanent address, might very well have offered this group of voters some discouragement. Was such desire present in non-tent-dwelling non-voters? Apparently not. And if not, why not?

Elephant in the Room those, comfortable and otherwise, who did not care to vote

For Biden, politics-as-before (“nothing will change”) shuns taking into account any of the many aspects of voter disillusion. A cursory look at his transitional team and at the appointment A list tells the story. Rahm Emanuel (“Liberals are fucking retards”) is now a Biden adviser, and in line for a cabinet post. Of the 23 who comprise the Biden Defense Department transition team, 8 are working for think tanks financed by all the preeminent defense contractors, the same folks who set Bush’s and Obamas war policies. Cecilia Muñoz, who defended family separation under Obama has joined the transition team. A flood of war mongering neocons are flocking to Biden, foreign policy hawks like Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Michele Flournoy. It’s important to remember that so far, the Middle East wars they aided and abetted have cost the American taxpayer $5 trillion, and to speculate how many homeless people, and how many food insecure people that $5 trillion might have helped, or how much PPE some of that $5 trillion could have provided to insure the safety of essential medical personnel as they battle a pandemic. Richard Stengel who has restrictive views of freedom of speech. is likely to head the US Agency for Global Media. Not only does the team consist of the greatest amalgam of multi millionaires ever assembled, but in the words of independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone, Biden “will have the most diverse, intersectional cabinet of mass murderers ever assembled.” And on Nov. 14, Fox News reported that Hillary Clinton, the Scourge of Libya, is under consideration as Biden’s ambassador to the UN.

A Biden who stiffs the UN with a stuffed has-been like Hillary Clinton, and draws on a bunch of sclerotic neocons may very well be hitting the summit of the taxidermist’s art. But taxidermy never brought change about. It may very well be that, despite a boobytrapped two-party system, change, if it ever comes about, will prompt at least some part of that 33 1/3 percent of non-voting voters to declare itself. But, according to Information Clearing House, “the demographics of the recent election show no sign of a permanent majority for Democrats.”

Without a Herculean effort on the part of a newly-galvanized post card and letter writing public joining old-time activists nationwide, don’t bet on either happening any time soon.

URGE Biden to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

LISTEN as AOC calmly excoriates and absent Senate/

DEMAND Biden make family reunification a top priority.

INSIST Barrett recuse herself from all Election-related cases.

DEMAND Senate not confirm any more corporate lobbyists.

URGE Biden to put people before banks and corporations.

DONATE to Justice Democrats & Rashida Tlaib

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