At This Restaurant, There Are Only Two Dishes on the Menu and They Both Suck

Voter turnout is low. So people are constantly saying we need to make it easier to vote with same-day voter registration, better access to the polls and so on. Could it be that the real problem is that the two political parties on offer are both so unappealing that people would rather not choose between them?

13 thoughts on “At This Restaurant, There Are Only Two Dishes on the Menu and They Both Suck

  1. I will add one more consideration: Angela Merkel’s stated departure.
    Compare the situation at the onset of WWI (Barbara Tuchman’s “Guns of August” is recommended). Europe, in the run-up to WWI was a bunch of lesser powers, with King Edward VII of England as a sort of papa figure to keep everyone balanced against each other. Then Edward died. Kaiser Wilhelm (and if you want cray-cray, dip into a couple biographies of Willy), the only other outsize character at the time decided that Germany was at risk of being surrounded by enemies.
    When Franz Ferdinand was killed, war was already expected. If it hadn’t been him, someone else or something else would have lit the fuse.
    So now we’ve got Merkel retiring and England Brexiting stage left. Who’s left on the stage? Putin. Although I doubt he’ll actually ride into Europe, swinging a saber, the western European democracies are becoming old. There’s no one there to counterbalance Putin. If a few more hard-right parties gain some more traction, it may all make our current situation with Trump look like a pleasant spring day in a park with lemonade and cucumber sandwiches.

  2. Coke and Pepsi – bitter rivals, no? Except that they’ve evenly divided the market between them, and nobody else can squeeze in. One week the grocery store has a sale on Pepsi products, the next week it’s Coke products. Their flagship products are very similar, they’ve both got an orange soda, a root beer and a clear citrus-y drink. The products are basically sugar water except when they contain no nutritional value whatsoever.

    … and every presidential election divides up the electorate 49% to 48%, the speeches are basically sugar water except when they contain no nutritional value whatsoever …

  3. Great cartoon, Ted.

    The restaurant has shit shakes and shit sandwiches on the menu and can’t understand why the aroma wafting out into the street doesn’t draw more passers-bye in.

    The ruling oligarchy wants a democratic-appearing process without troublesome (to them) anti-oligarchic results.

    So we are served fake elections between the parties of Great Evil and Greater Evil.

    And I can’t tell which is which: the haters or the enabler of the haters.

    Tardigrade 2020.

    • How to get more people in?

      Remove impediments to voting.

      Like giving the people clothespins so they don’t have to hold their noses.

      It’s hard to vote with only one free hand.

      • > “Like giving the people clothespins so they don’t have to hold their noses.”

        Excellent Idea!

        I was just reading an article a while back. In Australia, election day is on Saturday and there are BBQs across the country serving up free ‘freedom sausages.’ It’s one, big, national party day.

        You are not only allowed to vote; you are *required* to vote and fined if you don’t. Voting is mandatory (boo! hiss!) but nobody’s prosecuted for drawing naughty cartoons instead of actually recording their choice. (Looking at you Ted)

        They’ve got over 90% turnout. Our turnout is so low that the non-voters could reverse any decision made by those who do vote. What’s wrong with this picture?

      • The fine for non-voters in Australia, so I’ve heard,is not very big, so abstainers could still do a principled civil disobedience if the need arose.

        Plus, a group of violators could go to court to challenge their fines for just cause and act up for the media to air their grievances.

        Of course, the US would try to institute the fines but not mandate time off from work so that the poorest would take the biggest hit by maybe losing four hours of wages in precincts where poorer people live and voting machines are scarce, figuring the fine would be less of a hit than the lost wages.

        The domestic evil doers will always find a way to stick it to the least economically advantaged among us.

        If mandatory voting was enacted in this country you can count on the assholes in charge to twist and pervert a good idea into something that will advantage the billionaires and to beat the poor again.

        Backing by the government they own is how billionaires get to be billionaires.

  4. It reminds me of the diner scene in “Five Easy Pieces.” Not the part where Jack Nicholson orders the sandwich with no ingredients, just the toast, and instructs the waitress to charge him for the sandwich, the bit right before that:

    “What do you mean, you don’t have side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don’t you?”

    What do you mean you can’t get universal single-payer passed? 80% of the country wants it. What do you mean you can’t shut down Gitmo? You’re the goddamned president, aren’t you? What do you mean those failing banks are too big to fail?

  5. Agree with you about the dishes on the menu, i e, the two so-called «major» political parties in the US, Ted, but I can’t see that rendering it difficult for people – in particular certain groups of people – to vote, as is presently the case, contributes to resolving the political difficulties in which the US (and therewith, the world as a whole) finds itself. Perhaps the cafe needs both a change of management and of name – in the latter case, to Café Multipolaire ?…

    Henri

    • A multipolar cafe (proportional representation and multiple parties) would clarify a few things:

      The Centrist Republican Aristocrat Party (CRAP) and the Party of Ineffectual Sycophant Suck-ups (PISS) might well be forced to join forces in a coalition, thereby showing their true colors (golden brown).

      However, right now it looks like they would fall well short of a majority, even with combined votes; with the SocDems and the DemSocs coming in with a strong showing on the left and the Rapture is Imminent Party (RIP), the MeMyself&I parties (MEMEME), and the I-Like-Beer (BEER!) party siphoning votes from the right.

      It would be like the Weimar Republic, when what looked to the self-declared center as the extreme left and extreme right exceeded 50% of the electorate. (Of course the business interests opted right and the rest is history?)

      • «It would be like the Weimar Republic, when what looked to the self-declared center as the extreme left and extreme right exceeded 50% of the electorate. (Of course the business interests opted right and the rest is history?)» One can’t but wonder if the next economic downturn, fueled by the sort of policies which gave rise to the Great Depression, will have the same consequences that the former did, not only in Germany, but in many places throughout the world. Consider, e g, the recent elections in Brazil as a prologue to the omen coming on….

        Henri

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