Rock the Vote: Part I

                    The Ventriloquist Vote: A Silent Majority


Latino voters may make the difference for California Democrats on Election Day

          – Washington Post Headline


Can the Black Vote Save Democrats?

          – Editorial headline from The Chicago Tribune


Gubernatorial Candidates Turn to Women Voters

          – NPR headline


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


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


Several ventriloquists unions and community organizations, including Local Vent 109 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 not only publicly fired the loose-lipped volunteer, but pledged his support for the ventriloquist sector by offering generous tax incentives to those ventriloquists earning less than $65 a show.


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


Former ventriloquist and current magician Armand the Wondrous thinks both candidates are wasting their time. “They never think about the Mr. Wuzzle Factor,” said Wondrous. In 1978, ventriloquist Clive Thornship, aided by his dummy Mr. Wuzzle, ran for Congress in New Jersey. His poll numbers going into the election were strong, especially in the male ventriloquist age 35-67 demographic. However he lost by a landslide. The crash and burn was attributed to 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 who do show up usually storm away angry when the voting center refuses to let them enter the booth with their dummy.”


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



Dan Bergstein TYPED THIS BY PRESSING THE CAPS LOCK KEY. Or maybe he held down Shift. Only he knows for sure. 

July 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.