So You’ve Won a Political Battle

If you’ve been following the news recently, you’ve almost undoubtedly seen the big story about the Affordable Care Act. For those that haven’t been as heavily tied in, basically, the requirement for mid-level companies to provide affordable health care coverage has been pushed back, this time to 2016. For larger companies, they don’t need to worry about getting coverage for 95% of employees until that same year, with a requirement to provide it to 70% by 2015. Keep in mind that the vast majority of employers in the country are not subject in any way to this mandate. This is for a program that has been plagued with problems from the get-go, and has drawn the ire of the vast majority of Republicans, who simply wanted to see it eliminated.

The requirements are being eased, potentially, as a way to help out the Democrats during the upcoming election season, but it’s hard to see it as anything other than a straight Republican victory. That is, of course, unless you’re one of those Republican elected officials, who wanted it stopped, and now are upset that it’s being stopped. With that said, I’m going to offer some helpful tips for how to handle yourself should you find yourself on the winning side of any sort of political battle.

As a note, if you are a Democrat who has been elected to office, please keep in mind that these tips may not prove helpful, as recent history has shown that you will infrequently land on the winning side of an issue.

1. Switch sides

This is a tried-and-true tactic. Once your party has proven themselves to be the victors, make sure that you and the rest of your affiliates quickly switch sides. Nobody likes someone who wins all of the time. If you consistently make sure that you’re just always fighting against some sort of injustice, even an injustice that you previously championed, you’ll come out shining like a big pile of diamonds. Look at yourself as the Marian Hossa of non-hockey players. Get yourself on a team that’s going for the championship, but will lose. Then, switch teams, get to the championship, and lose again. That way, when you do finally win your ultimate prize, the public will forget that you were simply jumping from position to position all while just barely losing out.

2. Pretend it was never in doubt

If you choose to not switch sides, perhaps you should simply make it clear that you were always on the correct side of history. In fact, if you can find some way to shoehorn a higher power into your proclamations, even better. After all, people may root for the underdog, but, when the champion had clear help from above, well, then it was just destined to be. Above all else, remain humble enough that people still think you’re pretty darned swell, while also making it clear that you won because you were the smartest, best-looking, most articulate person in the room. If you can find a way to throw a couple of self-deprecating jokes in all of the self-congratulation, all the better.

3. Change the story

Maybe you didn’t actually want to come out on top in your little battle. Maybe by winning, you were actually losing. This is very similar to switching sides, except, this time, it only LOOKS like you came out victorious. You actually lost, because of some random element that most people didn’t even know existed. Sure, you stopped something that was designed to make sure that baby seals weren’t brutally clubbed, but you actually lost, because you couldn’t protect your right to use whatever pipe fittings you wanted to. If you can make it clear that by winning you actually gave up more than you got, people will clamor to see more from you, and will rally around your next talking point.

4. Feign ignorance

News travels fast, but maybe it doesn’t travel fast enough to reach you. This tactic requires you to continue to play off of the fact that you believe you’re losing in your battle to accomplish something, even once it’s clear that everything you aimed for has been done. Your best allies in this are going to be people who aren’t glued to the 24-hour news cycle, or, failing that, the hosts of the 24-hour news cycle. They may start to believe that they missed a key point, or that your whole agenda item is still waiting on a vote. If you can stretch this long enough, people could start to believe that you’re actively being kept out of the loop, and you can sit back and watch as conspiracy theories start to flow. If you can find a way to sneakily get your side of the story out to a site known for satirical news, all the better.

5. Admit your victory; move on to the next topic

WARNING: This tactic is highly advanced, and should only be used in the rarest of situations. For this to succeed, you need to make sure that you will gain enough clout by not only fighting towards your personal agenda, but that people will actually want to defend your position themselves. This shouldn’t be any sort of a slim majority, either. If you can’t be certain that you will maintain a high approval rating, especially in the areas that sent you to political office in the first place, then avoid this tactic completely. After all, admitting that you and your side are victorious could be seen as unabashed bragging, and moving on to something else might actually show an indication of working through the backlog that plagues many political offices. As a caveat to this, if you’re still early in your political career, you can find yourself accidentally using this tactic, and you may not suffer the same stigma as a more veteran party member, but you will certainly lose some of your ability to appear on cable news shows. Above all, use this tactic only at your own risk.

If everyone can just follow these simple suggestions, we can be certain that our government will continue to grind itself into a state of gridlock, all while knowing that nobody is fully prepared to take the credit while dispensing the blame. It certainly wouldn’t do for people to actually have some insight into what the different parties are thinking.

Election 2013: The Road to a Nice 3BR Rambler

Yesterday, all across the country, elections were held. It felt almost nothing like the last big election cycle, but that’s probably largely because, as an off-year election, this time, it was local (read that in your best movie trailer voice). I know, I know, all politics are local, but these were the localest! Mayors and city councils and parks boards, oh my! And here where I live, we even got to really enjoy the fun of ranked-choice voting!

For those that may not be aware, ranked-choice voting is, supposedly, a way to get more voters active in the primary system, while simultaneously removing the primaries. So, instead of being faced with only a few candidates, only two of which have any real chance (thanks, two-party system), you get to look through a slew of candidates, a number of which have a shot because they’re affiliated with one of the two parties normally in power. And instead of voting for each position once, you get the option of voting for each position multiple times, as long as your vote is different each time.

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Boxes and paper. For those times when a hand-count just won’t do.

Personally, I looked at the ranked-voting as assembling a fantasy legislation team. Clearly, my first choice is whoever I’d want to be my starter. Second choice is the person I’d want to be fresh to come off of the bench (sadly, no judges for my ballots, which would have really helped that analogy). And third choice is the the person you put on your watch list, so that you can see how much they’re outperforming the people you actually drafted.

Another aspect of my local election is that, at least for some positions, there’s an incredibly low filing fee to get your name onto the ballot. This meant that not only did we have a pirate captain in the running, but we also had a pirate party (yes, those were two distinct entries on the ballot). My favorite fringe candidate was the guy running for mayor on a platform to be the “last mayor” of my city. Of course, he was running for the opportunity to eradicate the position of mayor, and not because he knew that the world’s demise was approaching. If he had, I would totally have placed him somewhere in my ballots.

Of course, all through this, I also got to relive the joy of being in school, as, at least where I voted, it was all done through the magic of Scantron. Fill in the bubble, let the machine read your results, and go about your merry way. But, just like in school, if you don’t fill the bubble correctly, it could invalidate the entire thing (I’m fairly certain that Scantron forms will be the real reason SkyNet activates and destroys us all). Unlike in school, there just wasn’t enough questions to allow you to ignore them overall, and draw a picture instead.

Probably for the best. I might have been tempted to pretend I was in Toronto, and just drawn a crack pipe in my vote for mayor.