June 3, 2023

Vote Early, Vote Awful

In the many jobs I’ve had through the years, I’ve made it a point of pride to, whenever possible, tackle my worklist early and cross off as many tasks as possible well in advance of their due date. That’s just the stuff of a good work ethic: It’s responsible, pro-active, can-do.

I’ve also done my fair share of gambling through the years. Whenever I’ve tried to apply my workplace regime to my gambling–getting all my bets for the week placed as early as possible, so I can start planning for the following week, and, even better, to think about what I’m going to do with all that money I’m going to win because of my early bird diligence, that’s always earned me a different appellation: Loser.

I should have known better, but truth be told, sometimes I’m just not that smart. As a Portlander, I frequently made this mistake betting on the Trail Blazers throughout the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s, when the team was a rogues’ gallery of rap sheet degenerates and embarrassingly deserving of their nickname, “the Jail Blazers”. I’d look at the roster in August and place my bets on the upcoming season, or make a post draft-day bet on the NBA First-Team All Stars three years hence.

That’s not pro-active and can-do. That’s just stupid. New town, new start, I figured J.R. Rider was a lock to take the Blazers to the Finals. The guy was making over $4 million a year. What the hell is he doing smoking weed from a soda can pipe in the backseat of a car parked on the shoulder of SW Hwy 43??? Take your friends to your sprawling goddamn manse up in Dunthorpe where all your white neighbors keep to themselves. I’ve smoked a lot of weed out of soda cans inside a car, but I had the good sense not to do it on the shoulder of a major arterial.

After the 2002 draft, I laid down $150 on which picks from that year would be on the 2005 NBA All-Star team. How the hell would I have had any clue that Qyntel Woods was going to be found guilty a few years later of staging dog fights in his house. I mean, what goddamned multimillionaire superstar does that??? (This was years before Michael Vick, bear in mind.)

And I don’t know why I ever thought signing Shawn Kemp was a good idea. I guess it was denial: After all, how can you still be that morbidly obese if you’re allegedly snorting all that cocaine?

So you get my point: In a world fraught with shifting interpersonal dynamics, third-party-placed landmines and unforeseeable individual caprice, it just doesn’t make sense to place a single dollar on the line until all the evidence is in and the only thing the principles can do to alter the outcome one way or the other is going to come on the court or the field.

Which brings us to the Florida primary. Granted, no delegates were going to be seated because of the Democratic Party’s foolish, petulant, and typically self-sabotaging decision to penalize Michigan and Florida for moving their primaries up in the calendar, but that didn’t stop Hillary from claiming victory in a 50-33 route of Barack Obama in the Sunshine State.

That seemed an unlikely margin, given the surge in Obama’s popularity after his utter and complete destruction of Hillary in last Saturday’s South Carolina primary. But Florida began sending out its ballots in early December, when Hillary already had Allied Van Lines booked for a trip from Chappequa to Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2009, and Barack was consoling himself with the fact that he’s a young man with a great future and a very hot wife.

When the numbers after Tuesday’s primary were dissected, it turned out that, among voters who had cast their votes from Sunday leading up to live polling on Tuesday, the Senator from Illinois actually beat his New York opponent 46 to 38.

This portends an enormous problem as more and more states have gone toward mail-in elections and the earlier mailing of absentee ballots. In the last several weeks there has been an avalanche of money and endorsements coming in for Senator Obama.

In the case of Florida, it simply doesn’t make sense to send out absentee ballots 45 days before any live votes are cast. 45 days is an eternity in politics. Sure, you have your ballot cast by December 20, and you can devote your attention to things more important than electing the next President of your country–like your last-minute Christmas shopping and whether you’re going with fondue or bruschetta on New Year’s Eve.

So what if, on January 6, Jesus Christ comes back to Earth and holds a press conference on CNN to announce that he’s casting his vote for Barack Obama because he knew all along that part of Hillary’s Whitewater land acquisition was actually a sacred Indian burial ground, and that there was a little known line in her 1994 health care plan to create free vaccines made from the pureed remains of late-term aborted babies, and you’ve already cast your ballot for her? Or what if, on January 8, a 20 year-old photo of a shirtless Barack Obama riding a NAMBLA float in a college gay pride parade suddenly surfaces? You can’t very well switch your vote to Hillary then, can you–or to Chris Dodd, like you should have done in the first place?

We’ll consider this in more detail as the campaign continues, and certainly seeing what the fallout is after Big Throbbing Man Warhead Tuesday, but this is clearly an unsettling scenario where the early bird indeed catches the worst.