Election 2014

In (Partial) Defense of Rock the Vote's Nonvoters

Plus a drinking game.


Rock the Vote trigger warning.

Last month a bunch of celebrities appeared in an unwatchably bad PSA for Rock the Vote, the record industry's love child with the Democratic Party. The point of the video is that viewers should participate in this year's midterm elections, but The Washington Post now reports that at least five of the clip's stars—Lena Dunham, Whoopi Goldberg, Natasha Lyonne, E.J. Johnson, and Darren Criss—did not cast ballots in the last midterms.

For this the celebs are being damned as hypocrites. But really, it's perfectly rational to urge large blocs of people to vote while not bothering to do it yourself. Casting one ballot isn't likely to affect the outcome of any major election. Getting a bunch of your fans to the polls, on the other hand, might actually have an impact. If the stars have failed as activists, it isn't because they don't always vote; it's because their video is more likely to inspire a wave of seppuku deaths than a great march to the polling stations.

The PSA is embedded below. Here's a great drinking game: Try to watch it to the end, then tally up how much liquor you downed in a desperate effort to blot out what you were seeing. The record was set by Mrs. Bettina Leach of Albany, New York, who passed out halfway through the three-and-a-half-minute ad. When she came to a few hours later, she was surrounded by seven empty bottles of rum, a half-empty flask of rye, and—this is the scary part—an "I Voted" sticker. (*)

(* Full disclosure: That story is not actually true.)

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  1. Desperation leads to bad decisions.

  2. Natasha Lyonne, E.J. Johnson, and Darren Criss


    1. Dunham gets down to her skivvies and “dances”?

      Thank Aqua Buddha I didn’t go fullscreen


      1. Oh and screw you Jesse for goading me into watching that.

      2. Dunham gets down to her skivvies and “dances”?


        1. *Points to alt-text*

          He *was* nice enough to provide a trigger warning!

          1. I needed a second one along the lines of “seriously, don’t watch this.”

      3. Can a man get a trigger warning?

        1. I think that it’s either racist or sexist for a man to get a trigger warning. Or both.

      4. And be extra grateful that she didn’t strip down completely. I’m told she likes to do that too.

        1. I can imagine her vagina looking like two overcooked hamburger patties smacking together as she wriggles around flabulously.

          1. Sugarfree is going to sue you now for ‘style biting’

            1. It could be the Style Wars remake nobody asked for.

  3. The vote of anyone who “rocks the vote” because of that counts just as much as yours.


    1. Rock the vote or else I’m gonna stick a knife through your eye.

  4. The record was set by Mrs. Bettina Leach of Albany, New York, who passed out halfway through the three-and-a-half-minute ad. When she came to a few hours later, she was surrounded by seven empty bottles of rum, a half-empty flask of rye, and?this is the scary part?an “I Voted” sticker. (*)

    Around here (Albany, NY) we call that a “State Worker Lunch”.

  5. That last paragraph was poetry, Jesse. Poetry.

  6. Didn’t Chris Cornell sound off about this because he thought it was to get people to vote- not to get them to vote for a specific party?

    At least that’s what I remember him saying- to his credit.

  7. I didn’t realize there was preview art for the Warty Hugeman graphic novels.

  8. Remember Quincy Jones telling people to vote with a friend and make your vote count twice as much?

    Good times.

    1. I don’t remember the name Quincy Jones.

  9. Also, there’s only one competitive race tomorrow for me – everyone knows Corbett will go down in flames, and my US Representative and state senator are both unopposed. Both state representative candidates are huge losers and it turns out my wife and I would vote opposite each other, so we’re not going even though it’s a block away.

    1. The state senator for my district is running unopposed, so I’m trying to come up with a write-in vote to put in against him.

      1. Frank Underwood can always use your vote.

      2. Ron Swanson

    2. Yeah, I guess I’ll vote for Corbett because Wolf has allowed his handlers to portray Corbett as some sort of devil when it comes to education.

      Corbett did raise the user fee in order to replace crumbling roads and bridges. That’s pretty libertarian (assuming the extra money actually goes to fixing same). He also refused to replace the temporary Obama admin. money tossed to the previous Democrat governor to use for education. And he tried (once again) to do away with the communist liquor store system in Penna.
      So not all bad compared to a guy who wants to institute a progressive income tax in Penna.

  10. This reminds me of a story of a little lady who walked around NYC getting catcalled to raise awareness of, oh, I don’t know, women’s safety? Anyway, the story some crazy how became not about women’s safety or whatever but instead about race. Or maybe something else. I forget. The moral may be that if the message is boring or trite, people will find a way to affix a different, more interersting message.

    1. “The moral may be that if the message is boring or trite, people will find a way to affix a different, more interersting message.”

      Thus the Hit n Run.

  11. No, this is a PERFECT definition of hypocritical

    And the bad logic is yet again a results not process argument

    It is just as hypocritical as Rosie ODonnell pimping gun control while relying on her private armed security guards for protection

    It’s the ‘I am a celebrity. YOU should do/be X. I am different’

    If this is not hypocritical, nothing is

    And again, PROCESS analysis

    And voting is a civic duty

    As I am sure many Libs and others would agree

    1. “For this the celebs are being damned as hypocrites. But really, it’s perfectly rational to urge large blocs of people to vote while not bothering to do it yourself”

      Actually, hyprocites are generally perfectly rational. It’s generally rational to convince others to do the hard work or deal with the restriction, but avoid them yourself.

      It pisses off everyone else that realizes what’s happening, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ‘smart’ as long as you don’t get called out for it.

  12. None of them are turning out for economic liberty, shocking.

  13. I am like so not watching that.

    1. Scruffy and I already took one for the team.

      1. Call up Chris Nolan and pray for the impermanence of memory

        1. Lena Dunham jiggling all over the place. It needs wiped from my memory.

          1. Yay shield of ignorance. Not having a clue what she looks like, I am free from the disturbing imagery that you sought to evoke.

          2. Certified, having read some of these comments I am very glad that I didn’t last past the 1:32 mark.

            That advertisement is awful, and to read that it gets even worse makes me feel bad for everyone involved.

          3. The horror. The horror. The horror.

          4. Like Zoidberg without his shell.

  14. As I said, elsewhere, their non-voting is doing the rest of us a favor. Now, if we could just get them to do ads telling anyone who’d take their voting cues from d-list celebrities to stay home, we’d be onto something!

  15. Three observations

    1) Does Rock the Vote honestly try to pretend it is non-partisan, even after showing a picture of a gun with a lock on it?

    2) Having said that, they did mention a few issues that libertarians are strong on. Libertarian Millenial Moment! Believe!

    3) Does Whoopi Goldberg have any cachet with people under 30? I’m 31 and the coolest thing I’ve ever seen her do was Guinan on TNG.

    1. There was that time she was on Moonlighting.

      1. She banged Ted Danson, back when he was cool.

    2. Even in TNG she was already super old. Literally hundreds of years.

  16. Hey, I just watched it. It was exactly as good as I expected.

    1. “How Democrats react to loss”


  17. For the Republican Party’s leadership, taking control of the U.S. Senate might not even be the sweetest part of a victory in 2014.
    With growing confidence as Election Day approaches, Republican leaders are preparing to argue that broad GOP gains in the House and Senate would represent a top-to-bottom validation of their party’s mainline wing. Having taken a newly heavy-handed approach to the primary season this year, the top strategists of the Republican coalition say capturing the majority would set a powerful precedent for similar actions in the future ? not just in Senate and congressional races, but in the presidential primary season as well.

    1. National Republicans managed this year to snuff out every bomb-throwing insurgent who tried to wrest a Senate nod away from one of their favored candidates. They spent millions against baggage-laden activists such as Matt Bevin, the Louisville investor who mounted a ham-fisted challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, the conservative upstart who imperiled a safe seat by nearly ousting longtime Sen. Thad Cochran.

      H/T Rush Limbaugh

  18. Hundreds of years from now when the world is ruled by the God Emperor that video will be used as an example of democracy’s decadent stupidity.

    1. At least they’ll know how they got there.

  19. “…five of the clip’s stars?Lena Dunham, Whoopi Goldberg, Natasha Lyonne, E.J. Johnson, and Darren Criss?did not cast ballots in the last midterms.”

    But… what?!…. Lil Jon was all up in that piece, votin’ like a fucking BOSS!? yeEEAAAH

  20. ?Lena Dunham

    Wait, what? It thought that she was the one that got la petite mort from voting?

    1. Was it voting? Or diddling her sister?

  21. In related news = Anticipating the release of this video, Imams in the Saudi Kingdom have declared a fatwa against voting, saying, “The dancing of fatty no-pants is a blasphemy that requires cleansing by fire; and so too has Democracy been forever tainted as a tool of the immoral decadence of the West, and may it be forever banished from the earth, along with that pants-less hog-woman, insha’Allah

  22. You’re going out to vote for… racial equality? That’s the basis of your vote? In 2014?

    1. Hey, opposing affirmative action is a perfectly valid reason to vote.

  23. A bit off-topic but looks like Lena Dunham had to cope with the unintended consequence of the ransom of glory, besides what’s happens with TruthRevolt.org, there a Downfall parody video talking of Lena Dunham’s book https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3t6d0wjkXM

    Will there be more Downfall parodies clips featuring Lena Dunham? 😉

  24. Thankfully, Georgia’s marquee Democrats have been smart enough to keep “choice” out of the conversation and Lena Dunham out of the state.

  25. Part 1. Here’s what I wonder about all of the people that say to vote all of the time. I wonder, do they understand any of the issues? Do they know all of the candidates, of every party? Or are they just voting down party lines, and basing their vote on issues based on what they’re told. Recently in my mail, there was a card telling me to vote to raise minimum wage. Had I not been a libertarian and not thought things through, I might have thought “Sure raising the minimum wage sounds right, more pay.” But knowing how things work in regards to wages, I understand that is probably not the best action to take. And yet, so many people would vote that exact way, even if doing so would actually hurt the very people they want to help by voting that way. Many people would vote down party lines, never realizing the things they actually don’t like about their party are prolonged by voting that way.

    1. Part 2. Of course, it’s not like it will matter much anyway as both parties converge to much the same policies with only lip service done to differentiate the two. Which is the second problem with this get out and vote campaign no matter which party you want to win. People trust government more than they trust a business, but last time I checked, you’re not usually forced to choose one brand or another, you could choose brand C instead of A or B, or you could choose neither. But for government, we are oftentimes choosing between rotten shit and shit that’s even more rotten and it’s hard to tell which is which sometimes, but maybe I don’t want either piece of shit. Either way, you’re getting a shitty deal, vote or no vote, it matters not, the people will force their rule upon you, and they’ll blame you no matter what. You vote, and you accept the rule of the guy that wins, even if you didn’t vote for him. You don’t vote, you accept the guy that wins, even if you didn’t vote for him. It just goes to show you that either way you’re voting, but the majority voter chooses the vote of the minority and non-voter.

  26. But in the off chance there is any actual difference, I would consider many tactics of the left and right to be dishonest. Either implicitly or explicitly, there is not just a call for people to vote, but a call for them to vote a certain way, be it on an issue or for a candidate. The very people most likely to be led to vote by somebody telling them to are also the most likely to listen to the suggestions of the ones who told them to vote. As I mentioned before, I received a card in the mail telling me I should go vote to raise the minimum wage. This is just one example, and it is one from the left.A far more honest tactic is mention the issue/race and tell them to research and form their own opinion, being as unbiased as possible, especially when one mentions voting on said issue/race. Another thing is to mention not to vote, unless one is aware of all sides of the issue/race.

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