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To vote or not to vote

Hip-Hop doesn’t seem like as much of a political force during these off-year elections, now does it? Back in 2004, you had dudes like Diddy (at the time P Diddy) and Russell Simmons out there trying to get today’s youth out to the polls with their slogans and t-shirts and what have you.

This year I haven’t heard much of anything having to do with hip-hop kids getting out the vote, and it’s not like I don’t follow this shit. It’ll be interesting to see what the youth turnout is this year vis a vis, say, 2004. If I had to guess, I’d say it’ll be a lot less.

The thing is, these midterm elections just aren’t the event that presidential elections are. All of the races are local or statewide and hence not as interesting to a national audience unless there’s some sort of scandal involved. As such, there isn’t nearly as much media coverage.

So most likely there’ll be a lot less people in general showing up at the polls today, but you have to wonder what the youth turnout will be relative to the overall turnout. My guess is that it’ll be fairly paltry even relative to the decreased overall turnout.

2006 is kind of a big deal though in the sense that Democrats could take over the congress for the first time since the early ’90s. Also, these elections are widely viewed as a referendum on the War in Iraq and everything else that’s gone bad in the past six years or so.

The Democrats are in the fortunate position of being able to claim that none of the awful shit that’s happened recently is their fault because they were the minority party in Congress during a time when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress as well as the White House.

It’s worth noting though that this is the stock excuse of any party that isn’t currently in power. Would our lives all be better today if the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress as well as the White House for the past six years? I suppose it depends on how you define better.

Lest we forget, we already had a Democratic president for eight years in the 1990s, and look what that got us: NAFTA and the end of welfare as we know it. Even if the Democrats do manage to take ’06 and even ’08 our lives will almost certainly be worse ten years from now than they are today.

But our lives would still be better in the sense that they were at least better than they would be otherwise. If this is reason enough for you to head and rock the vote, then have at it. But I wouldn’t sweat it too much if you’ve got something better to do this afternoon, like eating barbecue or taking a nap.

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