My Preferences in Presidential Elections: A Brief History

America, you elected the wrong Mondale.1972: I was two. I didn't vote, though I may have crapped my pants.

1976: I was for Carter, because my parents were for Carter. My little brother was for Ford, "because he's president."

1980: John Anderson. I'm not entirely sure why. I mean, I know why I wasn't for the major candidates: I didn't like Carter because the economy was bad, and I didn't like Reagan because people kept saying he was going to start a nuclear war. But I supported Anderson in the primaries, too, for reasons that I'm sure made sense to my nine-year-old self but which I have pretty much completely forgotten. Many years later I saw one of his old speeches on one of those C-Span retrospective shows, and I realized that he was kind of nuts.

1984: In my biology class' mock election -- what, your biology classes didn't have mock elections? -- I cast my ballot for Sonia Johnson of the Citizens Party. I'd like to say that this was my way of endorsing polyamorous feminist mountain communes, but I think it was some sort of pro-peace gesture.

The Dukakis of AOR.1988: My first actual adult ballot. I was already a libertarian at this point, but I wasn't quite ready to abandon the major parties. Bush Sr. ran an appalling ACLU-baiting campaign, so I cast my lesser-evil vote for Dukakis. This is one of the two most embarrassing items in my biography, along with the fact that in the seventh grade my favorite band was Styx. But just as REO Speedwagon would have been worse, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I at least didn't vote for Bush.

1992: Andre Marrou. That's kind of embarrassing too.

1996: Harry Browne. The only presidential candidate I've supported who would have recognized me if we bumped into each other on the street.

2000: Browne again. By this point I was fed up with the Libertarian Party and was planning to write in Yosemite Sam, but the California ballot didn't allow write-ins. This aggravated me enough to write a short piece complaining about it for the L.A. Weekly, making this my only trip to the polls that actually made me some money.

Offer not good in Port-au-Prince.2004: Michael Badnarik. Sigh.

2008: Bob Barr. Double sigh.

2012: Gary Johnson. At this point, as you may have noted, I'm just robotically supporting whoever the Libertarian Party puts up. I'm not even a member of the organization, but as long as I'm in the booth to weigh in on the initiatives I might as well add to their pile of protest votes. If you ask me how I voted this year, I should tell you I cast my ballot for gays and gambling. The presidential race is secondary.

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  • ||

    The first time I ever voted at 18, my mother told me who she wanted me to vote for because she (rightly) felt I wasn't paying a lick of attention to the candidates (this was a midterm election). Because being told what to do turns me into an instant massive asshole I ignored what she said and voted for the most ridiculous party on the ballot, which was something like either the American Communist Party or the American National Socialist Party. Or maybe the Libertarian Party. Basically, I chose the party that I thought had the lowest possible chance of winning and "wasted" my vote on them.

  • Christina||

    I tell my mom how to vote. She knows the basics, like "vote NO on all bonds," but I fill her in on which candidate to vote for in which office, and make sure she votes correctly on Constitutional amendments.

  • ||

    I remember thinking Reagan was amazingly great and cool in 1984. Specifically, I remember a commercial Mondale ran in which he solemnly stared at the camera and said, "If Ronald Reagan is elected president, computers will take over the world." I was like, hell yeah bring it on. I remember in 1988 not being able to choose between Bush and Dukakis, thinking both had pros and cons. In 1992 I was aware and supportive of the LP still too young to vote.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I remember a commercial Mondale ran in which he solemnly stared at the camera and said, "If Ronald Reagan is elected president, computers will take over the world."

    Seriously? I absolutely need to see that.

  • NeonCat||

    And Cypher's out of The Matrix name was Reagan! It all fits together!

  • John||

    I cast my vote on gambling in Maryland. Fuck question 7. If they want to legalize gambling, fine. But that is not what they want to do. Instead, they want to open one casino run by their cronies. Hell with that.

    I don't really give a shit if Maryland money is going to West Virginia. Charlestown is a nice place and they seem to be nice people. Better they get the money than the criminal hoodlums that run Maryland.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I wish they'd open the market up all the way too. But better to open it up a bit more than to keep it shut on behalf of the people who don't want to compete.

  • John||

    I see your point Jesse. But I would rather drive to Charlestown than support a criminal monopoly in Maryland. I reflexively vote against anything that involves the Maryland government getting anymore money.

  • Christina||

    Holy crap, get the hell out of Maryland. The whole state is a criminal monopoly. And no one can drive for shit. (Seriously, Maryland drivers are The Worst. Though I hear tell that Pennsylvania drivers are awful too, they aren't as frequently seen on Virginia roads, so I don't find myself cursing them like every goddamn Maryland driver I see.)

  • John||

    I love my neighborhood and I hate the state. And pretty much all of DC sucks. NOVA is no better. And the drivers are not so much bad as pretensious assholes, like everyone in this city.

  • ||

    You will change your opinion if you ever drive in the Pacific NW, especially Oregon or BC.

  • John||

    That is because everyone in Oregon is a dirty hippie smoking weed and everyone in BC is an Asian. So you have to kind of grade on the curve for them.

  • Zeb||

    Coastal Oregon, that is. The rest of Oregon is all white racist rednecks on meth.

  • Timon 19||

    You people need to get out more. The worst drivers in America are probably among the best drivers in Turkey or Saudi.

  • robc||

    I disagree.

    My state house race is between a perpetual incumbent who usually is unopposed and a guy in the horse racing industry who didnt even create a website. As far as I can tell, he is a single issue candidate, and that is to allow slots at race tracks.

    I have no theoretical problem with slots at Churchill Downs (I do find it tacky), but I oppose the horse industry having a monopoly on it even more.

    If they were wanting to legalize casinos in KY and the horse tracks could put a casino on site, I would favor it, but fuck them and their monopoly bullshit.

  • R C Dean||

    But better to open it up a bit more than to keep it shut on behalf of the people who don't want to compete.

    I used to think that, until the medpotters went all Baptist 'n' Bootlegger in opposing legalization.

    Now, I tend to think it just creates another entrenched rentseeking class funding opposition to free(er) markets.

  • 21044||

    Mayor Carcetti, mini-Mayor Carcetti, Council President Nerese Campbell and Representative Cummings kept sending me flyers telling me that I needed to vote Yes on all of the questions. I couldn't help myself; I voted no on all of them.

    I wanted to vote yes on 6, but not doing what Mayor Carcetti and mini-Mayor Carcetti wanted was more important. Sorry gay's, nothing against you, just really couldn't care less one way or the other.

    Didn't vote for anyone on the schoolboard, don't know one from the other. Voted against all incumbents on everything else.

  • Drake||

    Voting for the Duke is far more embarrassing than listening to Styx.

  • John||

    But wouldn't you trade Obama for him? That is how far we have fallen.

  • ||

    Domo arrigato, Mr. Roboto.

  • geo1113||

    +1...beat me to it

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    My first time voting was for Ronald Reagan. Not a great start, but still it has been downhill from there.

  • John||

    I remember how much everyone in my family hated Jimmy Carter's guts. People forget what a preachy smug piece of shit he really was. The country was just not worthy of him was pretty much his attitude.

  • shamalam||

    Sounds like Obama light.

    No racist connotations intended in that comment, but you may inferences are your own responsibility.

  • ||

    At this point, as you may have noted, I'm just robotically supporting whoever the Libertarian Party puts up.

    I do that only for Prez. I'm a bit more discretionary as it gets more local. In NH there were Libertarian candidates for Governor and the House, but I swung GOP for the Governor (it'll be a close call in NH and the douche on the (D) side is a big time tax and spend statist).

    I threw some (D) votes towards the Probate just so that I could say that I don't default to either (L) or (R).

    What the hell.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    and the douche on the (D) side

    Hassan is going to fuck up the state royally. Lamontagne may be Santorum-lite, but his SoCon shit is just noise as per its effect on my everyday life.

  • ||

    He's not really looking to legislate his Catholicism anyhow. I doubt there will be much change from the status quo on the social front if he's elected.

    If that douche Hassan is elected, hopefully she'll face the same House that Lynch has faced for the last two lame duck years. She will be totally hamstrung. But Bill O'Brien has done everything possible to piss off the general electorate so we'll see.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I went to college with Lamontagne's nephew and scarred up my ankle during a snowmobile accident on Ovide's property, so I have personal experience that Lamontagne doesn't have rape camps populated by the starving homeless, as I wasn't fed to them after being injured. So I don't mind any votes to him to block Hassan.

    Nevertheless, I still plan on voting for Babiarz.

  • ||

    Well, since you already named dropped, I also have connections to a niece (going back 20 years) and his sister. Big ole Catholic family has tentacles all over NH (as does my big old Catholic family).

    Still haven't met the man himself though.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ovide was nice enough the few times I met him. Though he made us clean up his yard.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's actually quite interesting how influential Catholics are in NH considering it's in New England. Lynch, Ayotte, and Shea-Porter are all Catholic. Though it's not as strange as all the Arabic surnames in politics; Hassan, Shaheen, and the Sununu clan, just of the top of my head.

  • Zeb||

    Well, lots of French Canadians and Italians can explain the Catholic influence. You don't see many Catholics coming from the less historically industrial parts of the state. The strong Lebanese contingent is a little harder to grasp.

  • robc||

    The coach at Penn St?

  • John||

    And for the record, Pieces of Eight, the one that has Blue Collar Man and Regegade (hey Queen did pretty good with that big epic song about a guy about to be hung, we should do the same), is not a half bad record as prog/stadium 70s rock records go.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I still like "Blue Collar Man." And "Too Much Time On My Hands."

  • John||

    My wife, who likes everything bad and 80s, drug me to see them and Def Lepeod a few years ago. And I have to admit Blue Collar man pretty much brought down the house. It is a very well done rock song.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Queen did pretty good with that big epic song about a guy about to be hung

    Queen wrote a song from the point of view of a 3-month-old fetus?

  • John||

    I can appreciate pedantic trolling as much as anyone. But hanged and hung? Really?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    My idea for a song is fuckin' Metal. You have to agree.

  • Zeb||

    Oh, come on. Hanged/hung is a classic of pedantic trolling.

  • John||

    I think my wife and her sister have successfully talked my mother in law out of voting for Warren. That is a moral imperitive.

  • ||

    Polling place near me had sign-wavers for Brown, but none for Warren. I can only hope that's indicative of something.

  • John||

    http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-.....o-a-women/

    When gay men are married to straight women.

  • Paul.||

    That situation says much more about the woman than it does about the man.

  • Paul.||

    Sorry dudes, I voted for Bush I because at the time, my contrast was what my lefty friends were saying-- most of which was pretty fuckin' nuts.

    Strangely though, I've now come to agree with 1980s lefty friends on a few issues- especially the ones surrounding the concept of free speech and yes, believe it or not, things as mundane as smoking.

    Unfortunately, sometime during the 90s after Clinton won (and Congress got taken over by the GOP for the first time in 40 years) they completely and unapologetically abandoned those principles.

    I've always credited liberals with making me a libertarian. Now I really credit them with making me a libertarian, because they show me the alternative, every single day.

  • CE||

    1984: David Bergland
    1988: Ron Paul
    1992: Ross Perot
    1996: Harry Browne
    2000: Harry Browne
    2004: Michael Badnarik
    2008: Ron Paul (write-in)
    2012: Gary Johnson (this morning)

    No regrets.

  • Bee Tagger||

    My voting history:

    2004: Michael Badnarik. I was peer-pressured into voting by my girlfriend because, among other things, she made it clear that answering "I didn't vote" to someone in her family was not going to work.

  • John Thacker||

    How did you vote on gerrymandering? The new Maryland districts are the most absurd in the country.

  • Jesse Walker||

    I voted against.

  • John||

    I did too. Really out of reflex that I vote against everything.

  • John Thacker||

    The ballot question language was pretty confusing on that, intentionally of course. If they included a map people would vote against. (Against means against the new districts.)

    The new districts got a few black Democrats and good government type Democrats upset too. Especially because the districts chopped up some black communities in order to maximize the number of (white) Democrats elected.

  • Zeb||

    I still can't understand how drawing districts with the expressed intention of affecting the outcome of elections is not a completely outrageous thing that is generally seen as totally crooked and corrupt. Can anyone help me out here?

  • John Thacker||

    The rebuttal is generally: But the other guys will do it to us, especially in other states, so we've got to do it first, and harder.

  • Lord Humungus||

    not that anyone gives two shits, but I was actually fairly apolitical until

    a) I bought my first house and started paying property taxes

    b) 9/11 - herp-a-derp

    That isn't quite fair to my past self. I was liberal, in the Socialist/Communist mold and thought the Democrats were only marginally more liberal and not worth supporting. Of course Democrats back then were actually much more of a mix of conservative and liberal than they seem now.

    I never voted until 2004 when I cast my vote for Bush. And then held my nose and voted for McCain, even though I knew he was going to lose. My Chicago background made me really suspect that Obama was lying through his teeth. I expected a bad presidency, but nothing like the reality.

  • Zeb||

    I came to be libertarian from a similar direction (with a little bit of anarchism thrown in). From at least some time in my teens, I had figured out that using force to get people to do what you want is bad. But I figured that as long as we are going to have a big government they might as well do some nice things like provide healthcare and schools and stuff. Then at some point I figured out that there are bad consequences to all of those things as well. And my basic principals really started to dominate my political thinking, particularly when I really started to get into drug policy issues.

  • Big 'Orra||

    Mine:

    1976 - in grade school for Ford
    1980 - remember supporting Reagan (the firing of the Air Traffic Controllers was formative)

    1988 - Buchanan in primaries (anti-war); Ron Paul
    1992: Ross Perot
    1996: Did not vote
    2000: Bush (lesser of two evils, hated Gore)
    2004: Bush (lesser of two evils, hated Kerry)
    2008: Sarah Palin (MILF)
    2012: Did not vote (Decided two weeks ago, can a non-vote be counted as early voting?)

  • Cherokee Jack||

    Bearing in mind that a) I'm Canadian and b) I was a nuclear-war-fearing grade-schooler in 1984:

    1984: Mondale
    1988: Bush I
    1992: Bush I
    1996: Clinton
    2000: Gore
    2004: Bush II
    2008: Obama
    2012: Obama if I was in a swing state; Johnson if I was in a non-swing state

  • TWylite||

    I'mmmm SAIL-ING awaaayyyy.....
    (glass shattering from the sheer falsetto power)

  • GILMORE||

    This whole post was simply a long-winded way of saying,

    "Yeah, I was cool way before you. The only Major Party candidate i've *ever* voted for was DUKAKIS!? No shit. I was so high that time. Since then I've been strictly underground. I wouldn't even recognize than Top 40 shit if you played it for me.

    My small point of pride is that i cast my first vote for Perot.

    I think it was a sign that i was unlikely to ever take *any* politician seriously.

  • GILMORE||

    I find the high number of people here, by the way, who *also* voted for Perot... well, not 'disturbing' per se... probably to be expected... I think its definitely a sign that we're all Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die

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