Balm In Gilead: On Election 2010
November 03, 2010, 12:22 AM
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I've never seen such a line at the polling place in my rural New England whitopia (which is nevertheless—or maybe therefore—deep Blue). In fact, I've never seen any line at all.

Of course, the local Yankees are too polite to make partisan comments to each other, although I did hear one whispered conversation to the effect that "we've got to get this lot out". And the poor young man who approached me in the parking lot and asked for me vote for him in a local race somehow forgot to tell me his party affiliation, and I was too polite to ask. He turned out to be the Democrat.

It was about a twenty minute wait (at 11:00 am!) and in the line various thoughts occurred to me:

1) What a fragile thread political order hangs on. Turnout is usually low and it's virtually impossible, even in the age of the internet, to find anything about many of the candidates, even assuming you knew what some of the odd state offices are. Which leads to—

2) Parties are an informational mechanism. At VDARE.COM, we tend to think, along with Lyn Nofziger, that the immigration issue will eventually provoke a Third Party. Recently, I've argued that the Tea Parties are a sort of incipient Third Party that could burst from the belly of the second party like that celebrated thing in the 1979 movie Alien.

But when you are confronted with the great mass of unknown names on the ballot, it's so easy to vote the party line. You think, at least you know they got the nomination of a party that you know something about (you think). This enormous historic momentum is what protects the two-party system, perhaps even as much as the fact that they have craftily entrenched themselves in electoral law.

It also explains the enduring power of ethnic voting—people, without even being bigoted but devoid of other information, simply apply a version of the traditional English hiring rule, as reported by the great C. Northcote Parkinson: "Reject everyone under thirty, plus everyone over fifty, plus everyone who's Irish."

(Or whatever, of course. I hasten to point out that I've married not just one but two Irish wives! Rejecting Irish names would leave you a little short of choices here in New England, although I'm fascinated to observe the emergence of colonial stock-southern Italian hybrids.)

3] What a lot we ask these poor politicans to go through. Not just begging for votes on a cold New England morning, like my poor young Democrat, but being financially raped by parasitic campaign consultants (an especially dramatic example in my state—a million direct mail shots from a millionairess, and not one email, or incisive stand).

May there be Balm in Gilead for all their wounds tomorrow.