Screwing (and Swinging) the Vote

Sexually adventurous couples swing, some even fuck on swings, and kids in the schoolyard giggle and laugh as they push each other on swings (until they get sick and toss their half-digested bologna all over the jungle gym). “Swinging” can mean you’re getting laid by someone other than your significant other (good), or it might mean that you simply like the tunage of Benny Goodman (also good). But the most powerful swingers of all are undoubtedly the swing voters, a fine mixture of wishy-washy vermin and balanced judges of minutia that are always a prime target of lustful politicos looking to poach a few extra caves for their herd.

According to a USA Today analysis tool, there are now approximately 8 million swing-voting households in the United States, not including the fringe votes of parties like the Greens, Libertarians, and Neo-Nazis. Most of these middle-of-the-road vote-makers are middle-class, home-centered families living in either smaller cities or the densely populated suburbs of a nearby metropolis. These potential swingers are not necessarily registered as independent or undeclared—in fact, many are registered Democrat and Republican—but they have indicated that they’re not overly loyal to their party of choice. (The USA Today Report: "Year before election, many are undecided".)

This is refreshing, considering how much of America has fallen into the trap of perceiving politics as a black-and-white football match: You choose a team for virtually circumstantial reasons (you agree with a couple of their issues, or your pops was a Democrat, or whatever), and then you root for that team and all their causes until the day you die—regardless of how despicable a candidate may be or how ludicrous all but two of their keys issues are—if for no other reason than so you can treat the presidential elections like the Super Bowl. It’s the Yankees vs. the Mets; Chevy vs. Ford; the Big Mac vs. the Whopper. And the mainstream media, with it’s “there’s only two sides to every debate” mentality, is fostering this pugilist perception for every juicy ounce of it’s marketing value.

Sure, there are always a couple million old hippies and college kids who will vote for a Nader, and crowded bunkers filled with shaky paranoid gunmen who will root for a Buchanan, but beside the typical independent thinkers, intellectuals, vegans, lost souls, and psychotic cases, it’s hard to believe that millions of Middle Americans still have enough sense to not only vote (considering that a majority of eligible voters don’t actually vote in most elections, and only 58% vote in the presidential race), but to actually take a while to make up their minds. The massive money-chest of G.W. Bush, for instance, may eventually persuade some of these folks to vote Republican, thanks to a barrage of high-voltage campaign ads, but at least these people are attempting to put some thought into their decisions before the massive P.R. machines of the two-party system wipes their minds spanking clean.

Regrettably, all the latest data points to a fading of swingers. Only an estimated 10% of the electorate is still interesting in fooling around, essentially. Everyone else has picked a party and a one-dimensional viewpoint, they’re eating fast-food and listening to bad pop music, and they’re happy to vote for the same party again and again, regardless of the candidate, because they’re to busy discussing Janet Jackson’s exposed boob and Michael Jackson’s exposed predilection for children to actually read up on what the candidates stand for beyond the superficial sound bites.

However, national polling suggests that the 2004 elections are going to be so sharply divided that the swing vote, no matter how small, is still likely to decide the final outcome. This puts the swingers in an incredibly powerful position, even if they decide to vote on a candidate based solely on his haircut, how good he looks in a flight suit, or how hot his wife is.

The polling director at ABC News notes that independents and white Catholics are the only swing groups that have significantly affected elections in the past couple of decades, despite media hype over “Soccer Moms” and “NASCAR Dads” ("Driving the Election? Speculation that ‘NASCAR Dads’ Will Decide the 2004 Vote May Be Off Track"). And it’s widely known that the 2004 race will probably come down to just a handful of swing states (visit for stats). But there’s hope in the air that a new wave of young voters could change the national dynamic.

The youth vote has always been gauged as one of the most likely groups to swing, as young adults attempt to come to terms with their political standpoints. But in this election, the percentage of potential voters under the age of 25 has jumped from 7.8% to 17%, thanks to the Gen Y kids turning 18 at an average rate of 4 million per year—although traditionally a majority of the under-25 population doesn’t even bother to vote. The good news: reports that in the 2004 Iowa Caucasus, the number of voters under the age of 30 quadrupled from 2000, an indication that the swinging vote of the young might be chased after by the candidates like a pack of dogs chasing a bitch in heat.

And remember: Swinging is like marijuana. It can lead to far more dangerous things. First the swingers try a little piece of Democratic nookie, then a little Republican tushy…the next thing you know, and these 8 million Middle Americans might be voting for a peace-loving, drug-legalizing, monopoly-busting, health-care-promoting wunderkind. It could happen. But swinging is easiest when you’re not alone, so try giving everyone you know a rib-bruising push, and watch ‘em swing. If that doesn’t work, try couple swapping—that way, even if the best candidate doesn’t win, at least you’re getting laid.

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