The Power of One
Exactly what is the power of one?
I recently attended a political leadership seminar, conservative of course, not knowing exactly what the focus was going to be on or what the outcome was going to be regarding my learning something worthwhile. I left the seminar with a broader view of the role we play in politics both at a local level or national level.
The political arena in this country is a delicate balance between power, money and confrontation (more on confrontation in a later blog) and learning who is actually holding the power. He who holds the power holds the political wind that drives the sail that determines the direction this country will travel.
Gaining the power to control the sail is the focus of all politicians. How they do that determines the end game. Will they become the power they want by fear from others or respect by others? I feel that for a politician to be truly successful he has to find the balance between the two. (Fear might be a strong word here as Harry Reid is a good example of a party fearing one member. Respectfully fearing the fact that some politicians can make passing bills painfully hard might be a better example).They must be respected by their constituents to be re-elected and by their party members in order to get bills passed and respectfully feared by other party members preventing them from voting against him. For the politician if you are not political you will not be politically respected. However, the real power must not rest in the hands of the politician but in the hands of the voter, and that would be you and I.
We have allowed ourselves to be gently guided by the politician instead of us directing the politician. This gentle guiding has been a slow progression for many years. The shift of power has been so slow we haven’t realized it. For those who have enjoyed the relaxation of a cruise vacation and the wonders of those mighty ships this example is perfect. During the course of your journey your ship changed course many times with you never realizing the directional change. Why? The captain knowing that sudden movements can upset and alarm the passengers makes his navigational changes so slow and smooth they are never felt. This is what we have witnessed over the last several decades. The politician has become very well versed in what to say to make us think we are still staying the course when all along we have turned away from what the vast majority believe in and want for this country.
For the knowledgeable and informed voter they know when a change has taken place. Maybe it was because the sun’s shadow lies in a different direction or for any number of reasons they just know something is wrong and start looking for reason why and how to fix the problem.
The time has now come for a mutiny. We need to re-take control of our country. We need to control the helm and direct this country to a more acceptable course. How do we do that? With the power of one!
Can one person make a difference in the outcome of an election? My answer to that would be yes, one vote could make a difference. In 1976 in a small town in Georgia, I was the last person to vote in a single prescient town so it wasn’t hard to determine I was the last due to the time. I didn’t plan it that way it just worked out that way. After the ballots was counted for the third time it was determined that my candidate won by one vote. This was before re-count protest and any other arguments were thought of. Now I will say that the total number of voters was small and everybody knew pretty much how every body voted but I was the one person who put the number over 50% which is all it took. I have never forgotten that single vote.
Politics is a numbers game, some, might say it is a zero-sum game.
One of the definitions found online gives the following; zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. In todays political arena there are so many variables thrown into the mix with poll numbers showing so many definitions there are some that discredit politics as a zero-sum game. The reason this is important is because the politician knows he has to gain as many votes as he can to win the election. This is where they have learned to say just enough to persuade you they are looking out for your best interest. If a politician says he has your best interest in mind, look out.
Let’s break all of this down and find just what the power of one means. While I have witnessed a single vote swinging an election I will concede that in a state or national election the possibility of a single vote swinging an election is zero. Mere protest would not let that happen.
What I am saying is one person can make a difference through education, knowledge of the information before you enter into a conversation with another person and belief in the political system and “how it is intended” to function then one person can make a difference. I emphasized intended because over the last several election cycles there has been multiple accusations of voter fraud. This has included people voting twice or more times, dead people voting, which seems to be the most popular, to complaints of voting machines registering votes wrong. Can this be overcome? Yes, with enough voters protesting the irregularities and standing firm demanding transparent investigations when illegal activities are found changes can be made. There are times we need to be confrontational when dealing with politicians and this would certainly be one of those times. However, I believe our window for any real recourse is beginning to close.
The seminar I attended was an incredible opportunity for me to re-affirm in my own mind just how much power we have over the politicians and that we can change the direction of this country. In doing so let me give the following example. One of the “WOW” moments I came away with was just how few people you actually need to swing to your thinking in order to swing an election? The answer is not as many as you would think. Here is a breakdown of what it takes to make a difference in any election. Keep in mind these numbers can be whatever you want them to be and in any part of the country the numbers can be more Democrat or Republican but overall looking at all voters, I would consider this to be an acceptable break down for this demonstration. For the sake of demonstration I will use 1000 people. All numbers are approximate and for demonstration purposes only.
With 1000 people you would think you need 50%+1 to win an election or 500+1 which is a pretty large number. However, out of that 1000 only 60% (600) are eligible to vote. Some, approximately 40% or 400 are felons, illegal, to young, in capable of voting etc. and can’t vote.
Based on the 60% or 600 number you would need 300+1 to win. Statistic’s has shown that out of the 600 or 60% that are eligible to vote only 24% actually vote (***) and of that 24%, 8% will vote Republican and 8% will vote Democrat and 2% will vote other, Independent, Libertarian, Green or what ever color is popular at that time. Once all the numbers have been broken down you are left with 6% to determine the outcome. This 6% is the truly undecided voter.
In this example the actual number of people it would take to swing an election one way or the other is only 31.
*** Regrettably, a large number of non voters are Christians who have been misguided in believing religion and politics can’t be mixed. Biblically, they have to be. Future blog.
I know there are other mathematical formulas that can be used to demonstrate how elections are won or lost but this is an example to show the numbers aren’t unreachable. As mentioned above there are other factors not within our immediate control.
Here the benefits of you becoming involved: you become more knowledgeable in our political system, you gain confidence in yourself to go out and speak to others, you learn a great deal about what makes a candidate do the things they do. The list can go on but nothing happens without your involvement.
I realize most people would not want to jump right into a national election or even a state election but they can start in a local county or city election even a school board is a good place to start. Starting at this level and working you way to the national level you might just surprise yourself and become a Congressional member. Who knows?
For Liberty and Freedom. Ernie