Prior to 2008, the only Republican candidate I had ever voted for was Anne Northup, for Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional district, in 1996. I chose her in that race because she represented a rare opportunity to get a woman elected to a seat that had always been held by a man, and because she was a smart woman with good ideas. I took my daughter with me that year, as I did many years, and though the incumbent, Mike Ward, kissed my toddler on the cheek outside the polling place, nothing could dissuade me from voting for her. Though I also voted for Clinton, I was resolved to vote for Anne.
In 2008, with similar resolve, I voted for many Republicans. I started with the McCain/Palin ticket and went down the ballot from there, voting for every candidate that was female. When I was done, I went back and voted in every race with for which I had done my homework, almost always for the challenger. That year my ticket was as split as it had ever been. I had never cast a straight-party ballot before, though, choosing instead to vote race-by-race even in the many years that I was voting entirely for Democrats.
This year I did something entirely different again.
I voted early and a straight party ballot for the GOP for the first time ever. I voted early because I wanted to be part of refuting the vaunted Obama early vote ground game. I voted straight Republican because it was not enough for me to express my displeasure with Barack Obama’s performance by voting for Mitt Romney. I am unhappy with the entire Democratic Party, and I was resolved to communicate that unhappiness to them.
I won’t rehash 2008; if you’re reading here, you likely already know what went down. The most salient facts regarding 2008 were the purge of voters from Democrats’ ostensibly big-tent–the white working class and middle aged white women in particular–and the poisonous policies and rhetoric that the age of Obama ushered in, most notably to me, Obamacare and the continuation of Bush’s civil liberty policies. Democrats weren’t Democrats anymore, and they haven’t been since. This year I answered their purge with a purge of my own. As a middle-aged white working class woman, I rejected their authoritarian, fear-based politics and I communicated it with my vote.
I doubt I am alone. I also doubt the great middle is with me in being aware enough to know the nature of Obamacrat’s poisons. I think it’s clear now that the great majority of the middle will vote against Barack Obama, if not for Mitt Romney. He just happens to be the acceptable alternative for now. I also believe that his coat-tails will be long, and enough people are still so unhappy that the GOP will keep the House and take the Senate. That last may be by a hair, but there it is. This will, I hope, be good for Romney, and make it easier for him to govern in his first term.
That’s another reason I felt comfortable voting straight GOP. It is unlikely Romney could get the results he got in Massachusetts, as blue as that state is, because of the divisiveness of Democrats today. They simply will not cooperate with him enough to do what’s right for the country, and for that reason, as well as the reasons stated above, Democrats need to be in the minority across the board. This voting season for me was a strange mix of rejection mixed with hope, but it is over for me now. Today I voted, and I counted. We find out by how much in just six days.