Rock the Vote: Part I

                    The Ventriloquist Vote: A Silent Majority

Latino voters may make thedifference for California Democrats on Election Day

          – Washington Post Headline

Can the Black Vote Save Democrats?

          – Editorial headline from The ChicagoTribune

Gubernatorial Candidates Turn to Women Voters

          – NPR headline

From blogs to cable news, everyone agrees that the key to the Senate race inNevada will come down to one crucial demographic – Ventriloquists. DemocratHarry Reid showed strong numbers in early polls, but that was before RepublicanSharon Angle, and the Tea Party, announced their $4 million plan to spur jobgrowth in the struggling ventriloquist market.

Angle’s attempt to lure the Ventriloquist vote seemed to work, especially afterReid’s campaign slipped up when one of Reid’s volunteers quietly said toherself, “Those puppets are creepy.” The sound bite, which was somehow pickedup by a hidden microphone and five plainclothes stenographers, quickly spreadacross the state. The Sunday- morning talk shows had much to discuss. Duringthe Pain-Minute on Reno’s local Shout Time news program, commentator Shelly“The Hound” Bowers called this slip of the tongue “The most egregious andhateful thing that–” She then broke down in tears and could be heard dryheaving for the rest of the minute.

Several ventriloquists unions and community organizations, including Local Vent109 and Wooden People for Progress demanded an apology from the Reid campaign.And they got one. During a stump speech at the Laughy Taffy Humor Hut, Reid notonly publicly fired the loose-lipped volunteer, but pledged his support for theventriloquist sector by offering generous tax incentives to thoseventriloquists earning less than $65 a show.

Ventriloquist Randy Jordan of Las Vegas thought Reid’s attempt to lure theventriloquist vote was too little too late, saying, “This plan forventriloquist tax incentives isn’t enough. You’re going to give me incentiveson my $50 a week salary? I don’t need incentives. I need work. And that won’thappen unless the government offers tax breaks for birthday parties.” Jordan’sdummy, Daphne Yum-Yum, added, “My last boyfriend was a baseball bat. HA!”

Former ventriloquist and current magician Armand the Wondrous thinks both candidatesare wasting their time. “They never think about the Mr. Wuzzle Factor,” saidWondrous. In 1978, ventriloquist Clive Thornship, aided by his dummy Mr.Wuzzle, ran for Congress in New Jersey. His poll numbers going into theelection were strong, especially in the male ventriloquist age 35-67demographic. However he lost by a landslide. The crash and burn was attributedto low ventriloquist voter turnout. “Vents are a tough group to motivate,”Wondrous said. “Come Election Day, even when one of their own is on the ballot,they tend to stay home and write gags about wooden politicians. And those whodo show up usually storm away angry when the voting center refuses to let thementer the booth with their dummy.”

With so much riding on this crucial vote, will either candidate have what ittakes to get ventriloquists to the polls? Will the ventriloquists realize theirvoting potential? If not, who’s to blame? Is it the voter’s fault, or thecampaign’s? Perhaps Mr. Wuzzle put it best when he said, “And I thought I wasthe dummy!”

Dan Bergstein TYPEDTHIS BY PRESSING THE CAPS LOCK KEY. Or maybe he held down Shift. Only he knowsfor sure.