Monday, October 8, 2012

One Month To Go: Your Official Election Survival Guide

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM

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It's been a long, loooong slog through election season. Remember the Republican primaries? Remember every single thing relating to Vito Lopez? Jesus.

Mercifully, it's almost over. With just one month left til local and national election day, we're officially in the home stretch, but are you ready? Really ready? Think of all the intellectual, emotional, social, and maybe even physical exhaustion that lies ahead in the next 30 days. Then take our advice on exactly how to get through it, with everything from snacks to etiquette to, of course, candidate info and voter registration. You can do this! We can do this! USA! Brooklyn! Et cetera!

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Logistics

We know you know this (right?), but just in case, voter registration info can be found here, and the deadline is October 12, so hurry up if you haven't already.

You can also find your nearest polling site here, along with a sample ballot with your area's candidates for the local elections that will also be taking place here in Brooklyn — Supreme Court Justice, Congressional Representative, State Senator, and Assembly Members are all on the ticket alongside the presidential race. It takes five minutes, and having actual things to say about local elections will make you sound extra engaged and smart. Trust us.


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Refreshments

Everyone needs sustenance to get through a time as trying as election season (and to get through awkward debate or election viewing parties), so why not snack like a president? Or snack like a Mormon presidential candidate?

According to popular myth (and actual reports), Obama is a fan of sea salt caramels and vodka martinis, while Romney is into, uh, Kashi, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi.

No one's saying you should make your decision just based on this, but really, it's worth taking into account.


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Viewing

For fans of political intrigue and drama, this campaign season has undeniably been boring as shit. But you know who's never boring? Bill Clinton. And you know who's even less boring? James Carville. There's no time like the present to re-visit The War Room, a healthy dose of escapism since it takes place at the dawn of the Clinton era and on one of the best campaigns of all time. Plus, if all that stuff Obama says about returning to Clinton's economic plan is true, we should probably brush up, right?


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Reading

To the delight of douchebag freshman-year-of-college boyfriends past and present, The Fountainhead has become the most buzzed-about book of this entire campaign season, thanks to Paul Ryan's Ayn Rand fixation. For the sake of knowing what the hell his deal is, economically, it couldn't hurt to brush up. It also couldn't hurt to learn a little about self-reliance and self-importance for when our government inevitably collapses in on itself, or something. I don't know, I haven't actually read it and I don't really care to.



A Word On Etiquette

Alright, you've got everything you need to get through the next month as an engaged, educated, sated, voting citizen. But politics are still weird and fraught, socially, and few things in life are more important than learning how not to piss off and alienate the people around you. And so, we come to the most important segment of our guide. Etiquette.

While the grandmotherly wisdom that politics and religion shouldn't be discussed in social settings still holds true, viewing parties are very much a thing, and you have to learn how to navigate this.

First, answer a few questions: Are you registered to vote? Are you alone right now? Are you surrounded by politically like-minded people? Are you surrounded by people of diverse political affiliations? Is anyone paying you specifically for political commentary? Are they paying you well? If you answered 'no' to any of the preceding questions, you are hereby prohibited from attemping to make any jokes whatsoever during viewings of debates or any other election coverage.

Oh, but you say you have a sassy comment on deck about the urine-related implications of trickle-down economics? Let us spare you with the pre-emptive knowledge that no one — no one — wants to hear it. The world needs educated voters, not smug flanks of terrible Jon Stewart impersonators. It will be better for you, better for us, better for America this way.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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