Home / General / Embarrassing vote confessional thread

Embarrassing vote confessional thread



Everybody makes mistakes. Maybe you signed your best friend’s high school yearbook with Teddy R’s In the Arena speech, or bought the Knack’s first album on eight track, or married a charming sociopath with a drug problem, or ordered the invasion of a Middle Eastern country on the basis of a pack of transparent lies. Hey that’s why pencils have erasers . . .

Anyway almost everyone has at least one vote they’ve cast that is similarly cringe-worthy. I’ll start:

1980 presidential election. My college roommate voted for Barry Commoner (he is now a subscriber to the National Review). I voted for Ed Clark. What can I say, I was young and stupid. I’m glad to report I’m no longer young.

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  • Confession: I voted for Commoner in 1980, too. (First presidential vote — I was 21.)

    And I voted for Nader (but in 1996, not 2000, when I assumed correctly that Clinton had it in the bag).

  • Eric

    My first vote was for Bob Dole. I wanted to have a choice in the 1996 primary elections, so I registered as a Republican and voted for Dole. (I voted for Clinton in the general election, though.)

  • Mike Timonin

    I once voted for someone for student body president because she promised everyone in the school a Coke if elected. I never got my Coke.

  • Malaclypse

    9th Grade mock election, 1980. Voted Reagan. Believed in Peace Through Strength.

    • Jameson Quinn

      I was in 4th grade in 1984, and I remember feeling deeply offended by Reagan’s “magic missile shield” commercial. I mean, seriously… does he think I’m some preschool baby who draws in crayon?

    • Linnaeus

      I voted Anderson in my school’s mock election that year.

      • Joe

        comrade! one of three in my school.

      • joel hanes

        I voted for John Anderson in the primary.

  • Steven desJardins

    Another 1996 Nader voter. So retroactively embarrassing.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      I’m an unrepentant ’96 Nader voter. It was a protest vote in a solidly blue state. Although I think a lot less of Nader now than I did then, I don’t regret that vote one bit.

  • Karate Bearfighter

    Nader 2000. And yes, I deserve your scorn.

    • parrot

      commence to shoe tossing …. now my skeleton … i didn’t vote until i was 38 years old … my apathy was outweighed by my ignorance (still fairly true) …

      • My first vote was for Gore. I was in my late 20’s. I should been voting earlier.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Look, the work of an international sports tax lawyer and supermodel leaves only so much time for voting.

          • ROFL! I’m afraid you’ve got me confused with someone considerably more interesting.

            • *cough*
              That was I. New nym. Still not that interesting.

              • Malaclypse

                That was I

                The big pink bunny ears were a bit of a clue…

    • Malaclypse

      In 2000, I voted Nader in MA, because I genuinely believed that conservativism had been so thoroughly discredited that the Greens could build up to major-party status in liberal states, and the 5% we were bound to get was the first step in the process.

      As an excuse, I was doing a lot of drugs back then.

    • (the other) Davis

      Also Nader 2000. But as a mitigating consideration I was in NY, where I knew it wouldn’t affect the outcome.

    • Joe

      only if it was a swing state.

      • mark f

        Nader in 2000. Massachusetts, in my defense.

        Worse: after the 1996 elections I told my mother I would’ve voted for Dole, had I been old enough, because he was “against welfare.” In retrospect it’s one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever said.

    • Another Nader 2000 voter (in safely blue Oregon).

      Even though it was safe I certainly didn’t feel good about it afterwards.

      My first vote was for Dukakis in ’88 — and Oregon was one of a very few states he won.

  • Andy

    F-in’ hilarious! I did buy the Knack’s first album on eight-track! :)

    • Joseph Slater

      Harrumph. I at least bought the ALBUM version, which totally isn’t embarrassing at all. . . .

      • Richard

        I agree. First Knack album was a good record.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I owned Kilroy Was Here on vinyl!

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        Paradise Theater may have been my first album purchase ever. At the very least it was futuristic!

        My Hall & Oates and Rick Springfield 45’s would be more embarrassing admissions.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Hey, I had Working Class Dog and whatever the follow-up was!

      • Jon H

        I owned Genesis’ Invisible Touch on vinyl.

      • I owned Frampton Comes Alive on vinyl. And thought it was a good thing.

      • joel hanes

        I bought Vanilla Fudge’s eponymous album, on which they tortured “Season of the Witch” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”

    • rea

      I voted for Geoffrey Feiger for governor, whose brother was the lead singer of the Knack. I can combine both types of embarrasment!

  • Uncle Kvetch

    Hmph. I saw the Knack in concert. Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, 1980.

    And argued passionately with my grade school classmates in favor of Nixon in ’72 and Ford in ’76.

    Buncha pikers.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Susan Collins, 2002. Despite being against the Iraq War in 2002, she voted for invasion the next year. As the Republican party became crazier, her “moderate” position was only ever in relation to the rest of the party. What was Republican with Democratic appeal is now insane with flashes of lucidity.

    Last time I ever voted for a Republican.

  • catclub

    I might have voted 1980 for John Anderson.

    I know I voted for someone who did not win that year.

    Voted for a republican for city council, a neighbor and friend, but still, really?

  • Sly

    I voted straight third party in 2000 (New York… don’t get huffy) mostly out of spite; not against Gore or Hillary Clinton, but because the state party apparatus gave Hillary Clinton the nomination on a silver platter and told us we needed her “star power” to stop the nigh-unstoppable Rudy Giuliani from going to the U.S. Senate.

    Then the Midtown Mussolini’s marriage, which everyone knew was a sham and would be brought up during the campaign, disintegrated on live TV six months before the election and we ended up running against the sheer animal magnetism and political brilliance of Rick Lazio. So I said “fuck it.”

  • Karen

    In 1984, I was one of the few, the proud, the Mondale voters in Waco Texas. Because I did not wanto to vote a straight D ticket – I was a 21-year-old law student, in WACO TEXAS- I voted for an R against Chet Edwards. Said Repub perfected my bingo card of hopeless losing candidates, thankfully, because he was an officer in the local John Birch Society chapter. Lat time I voted for anyone I didn’t research at least a little.

  • Jonas

    Yes, Nader 2000, but it was Ohio where Gore had already conceded and had stopped campaigning more than a month before the election. Stupidly, as the Bush margin of victory was only 3%.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Hmm. I wonder if there was some factor that forced Gore to waste time and resources in states like Washington and Minnesota rather than expanding the map? I can’t remember…

      • Jonas

        Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have said stupidly, he didn’t have the almost unlimited supply of money that Obama does now so that he could flood the airwaves with ads.

        But if it wasn’t for idiots like me, 2/3 of that margin could have made up by Nader voters, and you figure at least another 1% could have been produced by an actual campaign. Sigh.

    • AuRevoirGopher

      “but it was Ohio” was probably the most delusional thing I’ve ever read from a 2000 Nader voter. That is,until I finished the sentence, where you managed to top even that. Seriously, I am gazing at this sentence with something approaching awe.

      • Jonas

        Seriously, the polls were so bad for Gore in Ohio that he gave up on it in September of 2000. No more campaign visits, no non-national ads. Not like ’04, ’08 or ’12 at all.

  • ralphdibny

    That Knack album is good–nothing to be ashamed of there. My purchase of Whitesanke’s eponymous 1987 album, on the other hand . . .

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      Ugh, you just reminded me…different species, but still. At least it was on cassette. And I bought it because of the great lyrics on When The Children Cry. Ah to be 10 again.

      • gorillagogo

        Yeah, that whole 80’s hair metal scene was pretty much the nadir of western civilization. I can’t believe I paid good money for gems like these

        • I recently watched “Rock of Ages.” Pretty embarrassing!

        • witless chum

          Compared to Whitesnake, those actually hold up pretty well.

        • Uncle Ebeneezer

          But aside from their looks, Twisted Sister and to a lesser extent Quiet Riot, were pretty good heavy metal bands. I mean good heavy riffs, angry vocals. I was super-into TS as a kid. I was initially sold on the two big hits: We’re Not Gonna Take It, and I Wanna Rock but ended up owning all their albums. The vast majority of their material was light-years heavier and dare I say more substantive than the rest of the hair metal bands. They may have looked just as silly as Poison, Whitesnake, Great White, etc., but in their defense, Twisted Sister had songs like Under The Blade, Captain Howdy, Burn In Hell, SMF etc., rather than mostly singing about partying with girls. From a Metal perspective, I view Twisted Sister as belonging somewhere in the Judas Priest/Metallica rather than the Posion/Whitesnake end of the spectrum. Really the outfits, hair and two big hits are the only reason they get lumped into the greater Hair genre, imo.

          • gorillagogo

            I never expected such a spirited defense of Twisted Sister! I guess you could argue they weren’t as bad as some of the later 80s bands but I think the Priest/Metallica line is a step too far.

            • Uncle Ebeneezer

              My point is that musically they are far more like Judas Priest than they are like the really successful hair metal bands (Warrant, Great White, Poison, etc.) It’s the image: hair, makeup and couple of hit videos that I think gets them associated with the latter bands.

              • gorillagogo

                I understand your point. I guess I will just always be more embarrassed by the early 80s bands because that’s what I was listening to in middle school. By the time Warrant and Poison hit the scene, I had moved on to the Misfits and Husker Du. At that point I was pointing and laughing at the hair metal guys.

        • Malaclypse

          I spent my college days working night shift in a cheap motel. Not infrequently, people would decide it was easier to pass out in the lobby rather than pay 23.95 for the room, and one of my jobs was to keep that from happening.

          My solution was to keep a cassette tape of Ratt’s Out of the Cellar handy, and play it at loud volumes until the people left, whether for rooms or simply elsewhere.

          • gorillagogo

            I’m convinced that Ratt never would have achieved the level of fame they did if Milton Berle hadn’t appeared in their first video.

          • Uncle Ebeneezer

            What comes around goes around…

  • stuck working

    Wait a minute, what the hell was wrong with the Knack’s first album? Or was the problem just that you bought it on eight track?

    • Joseph Slater

      I’ll say that “My Sharona” was a pretty great power-pop song, but beyond that. . . .

  • I voted for an actual communist for Cambridge City council one year because I could. I’m actually kind of proud of that one, but know I should probably be ashamed of being so flippant about something as serious as local governance.

    I also meant to vote for Nader in 2000, but in the end was too lazy… so I am embarrassed both by my intention and the fact that I couldn’t get off my butt for a Presidential election.

  • Joshua

    My first election was 2000 and I voted for Dubya. There are no words.

    • Jameson Quinn
      • gorillagogo


    • parrot

      perhaps you thought you were voting for buchanan? … i josh of course

  • Jameson Quinn

    Nader ’96 and ’00. And I was actually partly happy about the mess in Florida because I thought it would lead to voting system reform (at the time, I thought that meant IRV).

    In my defense, I was in a safe state both times (CA in ’96, WA in ’00).

    No, wait. In ’96 I intended to vote for Nader, but was disenfranchised because I’d moved to a neighboring precinct, and mail had bounced from my old address. And I shrugged it off as unimportant. In retrospect, I’m more ashamed about my nonchalance about getting disenfranchised, than I am about either of my safe-state Nader votes. (After all, I voted Stein in CA this time, and I see no shame there as long as I don’t brag about it on the internet where it might influence swing-state votes)

    On the “proud of it” side: I made over 200 calls for Al Franken in Minnesota. Even if every voice mail message I left resulted in a Franken vote, that’s probably not quite enough to have swung the election, but using reasonable assumptions, any 50-100 people like me were easily a deciding factor.

    • Jameson Quinn

      Oh, one more shame: I habitually sign the envelope that says “I certify I reside in this precinct” even though I live in Guatemala. I refrain from most of the municipal issues, but I don’t want to be cut out of having a congressional vote, as I would if I were honest about being an expat.

      • Linnaeus

        Gasp! Fraud!

  • burnt

    I voted for Nader in 1996 because Clinton didn’t need my help.

    In the spirit of “know your enemy” I subscribed to the National Review from mid-1988 until this issue arrived:

    Let your dim bulb shine, Rich. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

  • (the other) Davis

    My other (more minor) shame is that I didn’t vote in the first presidential election where I was eligible, in 1996. Something went amiss with my voter registration, and I never followed up on it.

  • wilson

    Commoner in ’80. And I don’t subscribe to the NR today. Never voted R in any election.

    I am a Yes fan and would vote them and the late Bob Welch(for his FM work and Paris) into the R&R Hall of Fame without embarrassment, if I thought that that institution was worth it – as opposed to the Presidency of the US of A.

  • Dirk Gently

    In a high school mock election in 1992, I voted for Bush, Sr.—and the majority of the class made me feel embarrassed for not voting for PEROT.

  • DrDick

    I voted for John Anderson in 1980, who actually did better than most third party candidates (and better than Nader ever did).

  • thefax

    Jim Gilmore for VA governor (1997) because he promised to get rid of the car tax, and I’d just gotten a tax bill for my crappy Ford. Hey, I was young and poor. And I’m still not keen on car taxes (I’d rather see more highway tolls.)

    • Cody

      I’m also a huge fan of pot-hole ridden interstates that I have to pay to drive on.

      Seriously though, owning a toll road is literally a license to print money. I need to get in on that.

      • thefax

        I’m not advocating privatized toll roads. Ideally it would be a license to print money for the state so highways aren’t pothole-ridden, but yes I realize this is America and things don’t work that way

      • rea

        See Proposal 6 in Michigan.

  • Sherm

    Not very proud of my first vote ever – Jesse Jackson in the 1988 primary. Not ashamed of Nader in 2000 because I lived in New York and would not have voted for him if I lived in a battleground state.

  • SeanH

    Farooq Qureshi, my local Liberal Democrat candidate in 2010. In my defence, most people didn’t anticipate the Lib Dems’ betrayal, I was in a safe Labour seat, and I was pretty much just hoping for some electoral reform.

  • Scott Lemieux

    My first vote was (essentially) for Kim Campbell. Without me, the Tories couldn’t have gotten those two seats!

    • laura

      That IS embarrassing.

    • Mike Timonin

      I was too young to vote in that election, but in the next election I voted for the Marxist-Leninist candidate, on the grounds that he was the only one not talking about raising tuition rates.

  • CaptBackslap

    1994 was the first election after I turned 18. I voted for a Libertarian Senate candidate named Jon Koon, despite his previously having held a gun rally on the steps of the State Capitol.

  • Tyto

    1. Paid to see The Adventures of Ford Fairlane in a movie theater; and

    2. Voted for John Edwards in the 2004 primary.

    I don’t have it in me to bash the Knack–that was pretty decent power pop. I mean, it isn’t as if you’d bought a Creed album.

    • Sherm

      1. Paid to see The Adventures of Ford Fairlane in a movie theater;


      2. Voted for John Edwards in the 2004 primary.

      Donated $350.00 to him in 2008.

      You’re not alone in your idiocy.

      • Eric

        I drove to Iowa 7 times to canvas for him, including once in an ice storm. And I donated $500 to his campaign.

    • advocatethis

      Oh, I voted for Edwards in the 2008 primary, mailing in my ballot just days before he dropped out.


  • kindness

    Excuse me. My first and only Knack album was vinyl, not 8 track. I don’t think that 8 tracks were still sold when it came out as that was late 70’s. In that era cassettes ruled.

  • Norsecats

    Voted for Jesse Ventura for MN-Gov in 1998. Made the snap decision standing in the voting booth (“the Democrat is an ineffective milquetoast, and there’s no way in hell I’m voting for Slippery Norm Coleman–what the hell, let’s vote for the wrestler”). I think no one was as surprised as Ventura when he won.

    Also, Nader in 1996, and flirted with Nader in 2000. If McCain had won the Republican nomination in 2000 I might well have voted for him.

    • hickes01

      I also voted for “The Body” for Gov, and I stand by that vote. Light Rail, got rid of the Meter Ramp Lights, it’s all good. Now the time I PAID to see “Troop Beverly Hills”, there was girl involved…

    • burnt

      What was wrong with Ventura?

      There would be no light rail without him.

      No public funding of stadium boondoggles

      Held the line on gay rights

      Held the line on abortion rights.

  • MikeJake

    Today. The ballot confused me, and I accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan.

    • ME TOO.

      It was so confusing and messed up that Somehow, I wound up voting for a black man, a gay woman, and a black woman.


  • bill

    I, too, voted for Commoner. Nice to see his entire constituency is represented here at LG&M. My worst vote was Reagan in ’84. After McGovern, (unknown) and Commoner, I wanted to go for the sure winner. Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    • My dad voted Reagan in ’84 for the same reason, and has the same bad taste in his mouth. My mom still gives him grief about it 28 years later.

  • gorillagogo

    I voted for Tom Ridge when he was a Congressman. I didn’t vote for him when he ran for PA governor, though.

  • I voted– many times– in Chicago Democratic Party judicial primaries. Doesn’t matter who I voted for; that fact is enough to be ashamed of.

  • somethingblue

    I regret voting for Carol Moseley Braun in 1998. Also Kerry in 2004, though not quite as much.

    I don’t regret voting for Obama in 2008, or for Jill Stein this morning. But I’m sorry I didn’t think of writing in “Scott Lemieux” for Senate and “Joe from Lowell” for Congress, instead of “None of the Above.” Oh well. Look forward, not backward!

    • parrot

      the past is always in front of us …

    • Craigo

      And always twirling, twirling, towards freedom!

  • chuck

    No Nixon voters reading this? My first presidential election was 1972, and having grown up in a Republican household, it naturally followed that I would vote for Nixon. Watergate took whatever blinders I was wearing off though it took me six more years to switch my registration from Republican to Democrat. I have never voted for a Republican since that Nixon vote.

    • PSP

      My vote for Nixon was in the First Grade Easy Reader Election. Mom was not pleased. Later, she looked everywhere for a “Don’t blame me. I’m from Massachusetts” bumper sticker.

    • sharculese

      Bringing up his vote for Nixon is the best way I know of to fluster my dad, if that counts.

    • advocatethis

      I was too young to ever vote for Nixon, but I remember I and another 4th grader made “Vote for Nixon” signs and paraded them around the polling place at our school.

  • Randy

    Gene McCarthy for President in ’76 (yes, he was on the ballot in some states).

    I was also head of the Nixon campaign in my 6th grade class in ’68, and I still own an 8-track player (unused for at least 25 years).

  • Craigo

    I actually bothered to vote for Edwards in the PA primary in 2004, long after Kerry had sewn it up. It was a pseudo endorsement for VP.

    I would have voted for McCain in 2000, but I was a mite too young.

    • Western Dave

      Did the same thing in 2004 in PA.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    The last Democratic primary vote I cast was for Edwards in 2004. If I had that vote back, I’d cast it for Kucinich (Kerry had effectively sewn things up by the time Oklahoma voted, so a vote for anyone other than him was symbolic).

  • JBJ

    I was 8 in 1972, in 3rd grade in suburban Washington, DC. My memory is I had a secret affinity for McGovern, but in my class full of front-running snot-nosed Junior Sycophants, it was socially unacceptable not to be for Nixon, so publicly I was for Nixon.

    In ’96 I wrote in Ralph Nader’s name for President. Merely symbolic, I knew, but I was disillusioned to learn later that in North Carolina, the good ol’ boys laugh as they spit on your write-in ballot in the process of wadding it up and throwing it away.

  • Larry Lennhoff

    Of the 4 people in my household in 1980, 3 voted for Anderson and 1 for Commoner. I was the 1, because I thought he was trying to build a party and Anderson wasn’t.

  • witless chum

    Perot in ’96, because I was annoyed at Clinton for fighting the drug war and lying about his own pot smoking.

    That’s way more embarrassing than Nader in 2000, even in Michigan, because at least Nader was a crank who wasn’t going to win that I agreed with on every issue.

    And more embarrassing than my fake school vote and enthusiastic campaigning for George Bush I, which was rational as it was predicated on the desire to see more cool fold out spreads of weapons systems in Time.

    • (the other) davis

      …more cool fold out spreads of weapons systems in Time.

      Oh man, those were my favorite issues of Time when I was in middle school. (Somehow I had convinced my parents to get me my own subscription to Time and Newsweek.)

  • Bill Clinton in 1992–I had become a naturalized citizen the year before.

    I have no regrets about my vote. Clinton wasn’t perfect, but compared to his predecessor and successor, he’s miles ahead.

  • 1972, I went strongly for Nixon. Of course, it was fifth grade.

    Nader 2000. Safe blue state, I bought into Michael Moore’s logic of supporting third parties in safe states. Even if NADER wasn’t really supporting his own third party. Shit, he should have just gone the Lieberman route and established the America for Nader party with one member.

  • Brett Turner

    Bush I, in 1988. Thought he would govern as the moderate Republican he was in 1980. Boy, was I wrong.

    Seeing Bush I pander to the right wing convinced me that liberal Republicans had been fuly cast out of the party. So I became a Democrat.

  • arthur

    I came of age to vote in time for the 1982 primaries. The only disputed race I recall was for State attorney general. I voted for the leftiest, hippiest, candidate, Joe Lieberman.

    • somethingblue

      My vote for Lowell Weicker in 1988 is the one I’m most proud of.

  • I used to regularly vote for Connie Morella, partly because she was mostly not a Republican, and partly because she was my little brother’s English professor at the local community college, and it was a good way to tweak him without much social cost.

  • Halloween Jack

    or bought anything by the Knack’s first album on eight track, ever

    FTFY. And I, too, threw a protest vote to Nader in ’96, and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat at the thought that I helped encourage him.

    Also, in something that occasionally still makes me cringe to think about it (and every time I watch Election, I made a big deal out of running for Student Council rep from my homeroom in junior high, came in second, made a big deal out of being the alternate, and then found out that the kids that were in it really didn’t even give a shit–they were the popular kids and it was just another way for them to get yet another picture in the yearbook.

  • My first chance to vote was in 1968, and to my everlasting chagrin cast my ballot fro Milhouse.

    On a much brighter note, I never even owned a 8-track.

    • I also used to do stupid things in local elections like vote against all incumbents, vote only for women, or vote only for third party candidates.

      It was fun in the same way that mooning nuns is fun.

      Either I got more serious, or conditions got more dire. The Clinton impeachment, following Gingrich’s Contract on America woke me up.

      As things stand now, I wouldn’t vote for a Rethug for drain commissioner.

      • Randy

        I voted pretty much the same way in local elections and primaries if there was no serious contest. The guy with the funniest name was my pick. In a few elections, I wrote in the names of local pornography kingpins for Library Board.

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