Protest Voting 101

Player Queen:
Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If once I be a widow, ever I be a wife!

Player King:
‘Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here a while,
My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
The tedious day with sleep.

Player Queen:
Sleep rock thy brain,
And never come mischance between us twain!

Madam, how like you this play?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230


Puma is a protest movement.  Our blogs outline our strategies.  Our votes are our tactics.    I’m not exactly sure how much clearer I can make this but it appears that we have to repeat these simple facts over and over.  If we don’t, no one gets us.

The nature of our protest vote is that is exactly that a PROTEST.  This means that our friends who can’t understand why we might vote for a candidate that doesn’t have a chance (McKinney or Nader) or a ticket that we may not agree with on many issues (McCain Palin) don’t understand what a PROTEST vote means. Protests voting means your vote is a protest.  It simply doesn’t have to make sense to any one else.

I started thinking about this today due to a post by Masslib on Alegre’s blog and a response by Or what Vahalla said. 

Or what Valhalla said (4.00 / 2)

The premise of a protest vote is that it’s not issues-related.

What I meant to say, put more succintly 🙂

This also hit me in the face when I saw a response to my own posting “The No NO Sisterhood”.  A post by Ben Kilpatrick assumed I voted all women during the democratic run-off in Louisiana just because I was woman who votes for women as a means to discriminate against men.

Just voting for women is the same as just voting for the black guy, or the republican guy, or or or

And it’s about as smart a move as all of those.

My vote was a protest against the treatment of women candidates this year.  I did not vote for all women because as a woman, I was voting for ALL women. I voted for all women as a protest.  I did not like the way Hillary was treated. I do not like the way Sarah Palin is being treated.  I will not stand for Helena Morena being treated similarly either.  Already, it is starting.  A blog for the local New Orleans business newspaper picked up one quote from my two day postings concerning the second congressional race and all my comments about Ms. Moreno.  You can read it here.  The only line the blog picked up from me about Helena was that most folks here were calling her the “little white girl in the race” which I view as confusing folks on her mixed white/Latina heritage and belittling her status as a woman by calling her ‘girl’.

I’m still thinking about what kind of protest vote I will make this year when I step in the booth to vote for President.  I know I will not vote for Obama.  I will not vote for the issues, for once, because I am protesting how he got the nomination, I am protesting how the DNC actively and underhandedly promoted him over a much more qualified and able woman, and how he has been given a HUGE pass by the MSM.  I know many of my PUMA friends will vote for McCain Palin, others will just skip the vote, others will still vote for Hillary, and some will vote for third party candidates.

We do not have to explain the ‘logic’ of our vote over and over and over again. It’s not about the issues (like Roe v. Wade), it’s not about the economy, and it’s certainly not about voting party lines.  It’s a protest vote.  As such, it only has to make sense to us!  

I think we need to take some time and rethink why we view our votes as protests this year.  This is especially true if you’re thinking of drinking that koolaid and falling prey to the logic of voting on issues at this point.  Puma ceases to become a protest movement at that point.  It’s effectiveness at supporting reform within the democratic party has no teeth at the point we stop protesting.

There is no such thing for PUMAs as ladies (or gentlemen) protesting too much at this point.  Afterall, it is our democracy at stake.

(cross-posted at The Confluence)

4 Comments on “Protest Voting 101”

  1. Ben Kilpatrick says:

    I understand that, and while I think it may work, it may also (to take my analogy just a bit further) ensure that you get Bill Jefferson because you don’t like the NOPD.

  2. I understand the logic of a protest vote.

    “We do not have to explain the ‘logic’ of our vote over and over and over again. It’s not about the issues (like Roe v. Wade), it’s not about the economy, and it’s certainly not about voting party lines. It’s a protest vote. As such, it only has to make sense to us!”

    This is not it. You actually have an issue. It’s a pretty good one. It’s an issue that you should be doing everything to repeat as many times as you can… even if it is just to confused friends. Ideally your bull-horn would be much larger, but never shy away from a chance to spread the ideals of your issue.

    A protest, in its purest form, is nothing more than a type of marketing campaign. In this case it is campaign to get more women elected into political office. It’s a noble goal. But if you just quietly walk into the voting booth and pull the trigger for all the women you can, or not for the candidates you view to be anti-women, then the ‘protest’ is lost. It becomes a feel good exercise. You may feel good about it, but it won’t actually have a lasting effect.

    Hunger strikes, sit-ins, good old fashioned demonstrations and marches … these should be used in conjunction with the protest vote. Grab a bullhorn and yell it from the roof tops. Otherwise, you’ll just end up feeling good over a whole lot of nothing. Best of luck to you.

  3. Ben Kilpatrick says:

    For several years, every year, several hundred thousand people would march against the war in DC, and it was buried in the back pages of the paper. Protests don’t matter anymore.

  4. BK,
    Protests as we define them today don’t matter, i would agree with that. But a protest/march that surprises and/or in one way or another is creative and explosive will find its way onto the front pages. Gahndi’s hunger strike worked for a number of reasons, not the least of which was b/c it captured attention and imaginations. A march on Washington that works in conjunction with the police and law enforcement is just a walk around the mall with signs, not a protest. If it’s worth getting arrested for, then get arrested for it. Otherwise don’t complain when you’re relegated to page A18. You’re lucky you got that.