1972 was an important year for me. It was the first time I ever voted in a presidential election and in December of that year I and a few friends headed out to Colorado after a very inebriated evening drinking Tequila shots around our kitchen table in Urbana, Illinois. It was mid-way between my 5th academic year and lots of credits accumulated but no degree. Nothing to lose really so we might as well have hit the road. Those were peak LSD years for me so you might say that impulsive moves were easy to fall into.
Though I must wonder how all the psychedelic use might have clouded my perceptions around the presidential election. I was a big McGovern supporter and was sure his anti-Vietnam War stance would ensure an electoral victory. Turned out it was a major landslide for Nixon with McGovern winning only Massachusetts and the District of Colombia. So much for LSD being able to help one predict the future.
After moving to Denver my next opportunity to participate in electoral politics involved the Ford/Carter race in 1976. I came out much better on this one with Carter winning. He of course lost to Reagan in 1980 and in my mind that was the start of the end with the next 40 years being devastating for so many of the things worth supporting in this country. For example, Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House Roof in the late 1970s. Reagan had them removed in 1986 after a leak developed in the roof and he decided not to have them reinstalled after roof repairs were done. The solar panels did return in 2010 but their fate may once again be up for grabs since Trump is not a big fan though I can’t imagine he could even find the roof of the White House.
After Reagan’s first election in 1980, the next 12 years of Republican rule had me voting Democratic. Much of the 1980s I spent up to my eyeballs in AIDS stuff. Reagan never even mentioned the epidemic with the words Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome never being uttered in public by him until well into the later part of his second term.
Though I certainly did not vote for Bush in 1988 the Ryan White Care Act did become law in 1990 due in no small part to aggressive AIDS activism, RIP Larry Kramer, and the diligent work of many others. This made funding for AIDS services and drug support possible.
The Clinton years 1992-2000 had me voting Democratic for sure despite the Democratic Party falling prey in large part to Neoliberalism. I won’t go into Neoliberalism here other than to simplistically say it represents moving many things to the private sector from the Government. Think Postal Service machinations right now.
In 2000 I voted for Ralph Nader who was on the Green Party Ticket. George Bush won the State of Colorado handily but looking back this may not have been one of my wiser presidential choices. At least I was not casting that ballot in Florida, but I do firmly believe that Nader would have been the best candidate.
In 2008 and again in 2012 I voted for Barack Obama. A bit too neoliberal for my preference and connections to Wall Street and the military quite disturbing.
And that brings us closer to the nightmare that is the Trump presidency. I mean I still can’t fathom how the fuck that happened. Though I have rejoined the Democratic Socialist Party and was a big supporter of Bernie Sanders in both 2016 and 2020. I voted for Hilary and will of course vote for Joe Biden. I would actually vote for a rabid raccoon rather than Trump.