The joy of negative voting

This is Election Day, and I'm proud to cast my vote against the assorted utopians, finaglers and totally self-involved who are running Illinois and America into the ground.

Sure, I know that goes against proper thinking handed down from the high-minded. We're supposed to vote for, not against, a candidate. Otherwise, we're guilty of negativism, ignorance and other imperfections. So what?

It's no coincidence that most of those who are getting the back of my hand are incumbents. And Democrats. I mean, look at what they've done, in Illinois and America. A potted plant could do better.

Not that some of the challengers are better than potted plants, but you can't blame them for a state and a federal government that are circling the drain. The Affordable Care Act, proudly marked by President Barack Obama as his legacy, stinks to high heaven, and the lid on this cesspool remains to be fully opened. The national debt threatens to turn America into a Depression-era dust storm. The economy slouches. Etc.

Obama's smiley-faced foreign policy has frightened our most dependable allies while encouraging the likes of Russia's Vladimir Putin and the madmen of the Islamic State to pose the greatest threat to Western democracies since World War II. Etc.

To those who missed the 1950s, when kids practiced hiding under school desks waiting for the Soviet Union nukes to incinerate them, I say, "Welcome."

My guess is that Illinois will go bust first, only because it can't print its own money. Throw in Chicago, too. Illinois owes more than $100 billion to its public employee pension funds; raise taxes to the world's highest and that debt still won't be easily wiped out.

Furthermore: The worst credit rating among states. Citizens and businesses getting the hell out. Health care and other providers of state services getting stiffed.

Illinois and Chicago will sink underwater long before global warming's rising Atlantic will swamp Miami.

Obama was right when he said his policies are on the ballot, as well as the toadies who supported his policies. Chief among them is our own Sen. Dick Durbin, who, as Majority Leader Harry Reid's right-hand man, bears some heavy responsibility for congressional deadlock. OK, Republican congressional leaders also can be blamed, but they aren't on the Illinois ballot. Durbin is.


Some Americans, so disgusted with the tone of the campaign and conduct of the candidates, would love to see a "none of the above" box to check on the ballot. So far, only Nevada gives voters that option.

But that doesn't go far enough for some. George Leef, a libertarian and a contributing columnist for Forbes, said that while voters might like to indicate they don't favor any candidate, many more probably would like to declare their opposition to a specific candidate.

He explains how it would work: "(The) ballots would instruct the voter that for each office, he or she may vote for one candidate or against one candidate. Instead of the usual box next to each candidate, there would be two boxes — "for" and "against." In tabulating the results, each candidate's total would be the "for" votes minus the "against" votes.

"The winner would be the candidate with the highest total — the largest plus number or, conceivably, the smallest negative number. In other words, victory would go to the candidate with the highest net favorability."

Now that's real thinking outside the box.

I'm not ready, at least not yet, to sign on. Meanwhile, I'll just be content to vote for the other guy, in the belief or, more appropriately, in the hope that anything is better than what we have now.

And that's not entirely negative. In reality, in this election anyway, it means voting for competence, workable policies, intellectual honesty, good government and the common good.

This column also appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

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  • I don't blame you for not voting FOR Rauner. I didn't either. As for Obama's performance, listen to Forbes:

    Leadership 9/05/2014 @ 3:46下午 484,327 views
    Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth And Investing
    Comment Now
    Follow Comments

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today issued America’s latest jobs report covering August. And it’s a disappointment. The economy created an additional 142,000 jobs last month. After six consecutive months over 200,000, most pundits expected the string to continue, including ADP which just yesterday said 204,000 jobs were created in August.

    One month variation does not change a trend

    Even though the plus-200,000 monthly string was broken (unless revised upward at a future date,) unemployment did continue to decline and is now reported at only 6.1%. Jobless claims were just over 300,000; lowest since 2007. Despite the lower than expected August jobs number, America will create about 2.5 million new jobs in 2014.

    And that is great news.

    Back in May, 2013 (15 months ago) the Dow was out of its recession doldrums and hitting new highs. I asked readers if Obama could, economically, be the best modern President? Through discussion of that question, the number one issue raised by readers was whether the stock market was a good economic barometer for judging “best.” Many complained that the measure they were watching was jobs – and that too many people were still looking for work.

    To put this week’s jobs report in economic perspective I reached out to Bob Deitrick, CEO of Polaris Financial Partners and author of Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box (which I profiled in October, 2012 just before the election) for some explanation. Since then Polaris’ investor newsletters have consistently been the best predictor of economic performance. Better than all the major investment houses.

    This is the best private sector jobs creation performance in American history

    Unemployment Reagan v ObamaBob Deitrick: ”President Reagan has long been considered the best modern economic President. So we compared his performance dealing with the oil-induced recession of the 1980s with that of President Obama and his performance during this ‘Great Recession.’

    “As this unemployment chart shows, President Obama’s job creation kept unemployment from peaking at as high a level as President Reagan, and promoted people into the workforce faster than President Reagan.

    “President Obama has achieved a 6.1% unemployment rate in his sixth year, fully one year faster than President Reagan did. At this point in his presidency, President Reagan was still struggling with 7.1% unemployment, and he did not reach into the mid-low 6% range for another full year. So, despite today’s number, the Obama administration has still done considerably better at job creating and reducing unemployment than did the Reagan administration.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, the job participation rate is at the level it was in 1978, and think about how many more women are in the work force compared to 27 years ago. Part time work is at 19% compared to 13.5% in 1968, thanx Obamacare! *Googled it.

    But the 1% is doing great, the number billionaires have double since 2008 and the existing billionaires wealth have gone up 124% in the last 4 years. *CNN Money

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