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10 Public Figures Who Choose Not to Vote

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Getty Images

We’re not telling you not to vote. We’re just saying that these 10 people won’t be (or didn’t).

1. Nate Silver

When “Poblano” began publishing his 2008 presidential election predictions and analyses on Daily Kos in 2007, people paid attention. Then “Poblano” moved to his own blog, FiveThirtyEight.com, where he later revealed he was really Nate Silver, the guy behind PECOTA, a system that predicts Major League Baseball players’ performances. After Silver accurately predicted the results of 49 of 50 states’ 2008 election results (and all 35 Senate races), FiveThirtyEight moved to The New York Times. But none of the eyes on Silver this week will catch him at the polls: he has not voted since he moved to the Times and doesn’t intend to this year, though he told Charlie Rose that if he did, “it would be kind of a Gary Johnson versus Mitt Romney decision.”

2. Jim Lehrer


When Lehrer moderated the first presidential debate this year (you may remember it as the “Big Bird” debate), Politico dubbed him “the most trusted moderator in America.” Lehrer had moderated debates 11 times before, and according to “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” cohost Robert MacNeil, “He stays so far out of the political swamps that he doesn’t even vote.”

3, 4 and 5. Generals David Petraeus, George C. Marshall and William Tecumseh Sherman

Though he is registered as a Republican, General Petraeus stopped voting in 2002, when he became a two-star general “to avoid being pulled in one direction or another, to be in a sense used by one side or the other.” His voter abstinence follows a long military trend of non-voting generals, which includes both Marshall and Sherman. General Marshall famously disagreed with President Truman's plan to recognize the state of Israel, saying, “If I were to vote in the election, I would vote against you.”

6. Leonard Downie, Jr.

Len Downie worked in the Washington Post newsroom for 44 years, first as an intern in 1964. By 1991, he was the paper’s Executive Editor, overseeing coverage for every election from 1984 through 2008. In 2004, Downie revealed that he’d stopped voting years ago, "when I became the ultimate gatekeeper for what is published in the newspaper. I wanted to keep a completely open mind about everything we covered and not make a decision, even in my own mind or the privacy of the voting booth, about who should be president or mayor, for example.”

7. President Zachary Taylor


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Before “Old Rough and Ready” was elected president in 1848, he had never voted. This can partly be explained by Taylor’s constant relocation as a soldier; he never established residency and never registered to vote. But our 12th president also reportedly claimed that he would never want to vote against a potential commander-in-chief—even when his name was on the ballot.

8. Jake Tapper

ABC New White House correspondent Jake Tapper, like Nate Silver and Len Downie, doesn't exercise his right to vote in order to maintain a sense of fairness in his coverage. On “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” this September, Tapper said, “I don't vote in races I cover. After I became a reporter, I found that, after I voted absentee ballot on a race I covered, it felt like I'd made an investment, and it was an uncomfortable feeling.”

9. Lew Rockwell

Unlike those who choose not to vote out of a sense of journalistic duty, libertarian commentator Lew Rockwell doesn’t vote for a number of reasons, including “The whole system is corrupt,” “It’s a pain in the neck,” and “Your vote doesn’t count,” which strongly echo the sentiments of many nonvoters. Rockwell's site is home to a number of articles on why rocking the non-vote is a citizen's best option.

10. Keith Olbermann


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In a 2008 visit to The View, Keith Olbermann revealed that he doesn’t vote. Later, Olbermann explained to Portfolio that the reasoning behind his “very idiosyncratic” ballot-casting abstinence makes sense: “I don’t want anything, even that tiny bit of symbolic connection, to stand in between me and my responsibility to be analytical and critical." Unlike Downie, who is widely respected for his impartial coverage, liberal Olbermann’s anti-vote stance didn’t garner much esteem.

So: Who's voting and who isn't, and why?

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10 Facts About Ernesto 'Che' Guevara
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Keystone/Getty Images

Far more than just an image on a dorm room wall, Ernesto Guevara was a 20th-century Renaissance man. He was a doctor, political philosopher, diplomat, military strategist, and best-selling author who challenged the capitalist status quo with words and gunfire.

Born into middle-class comfort on June 14, 1928, Guevara was introduced to left-wing theories at a young age, thanks to his parents and the radical books in their home library. His Marxist thinking was also profoundly shaped by his encounters with abject poverty throughout South America, and he would eventually convert those thoughts to revolutionary actions in Cuba and beyond. Here are 10 facts about the man known as Che.

1. HE WAS PART IRISH.

Che’s great-great-great-great-grandfather was Patrick Lynch, who emigrated from Ireland to what is now Argentina in the 1700s. His father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, has been quoted as saying, "The first thing to note is that in my son's veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels." The other side of the family was Basque; according to Guevara’s brother Juan, their father was drawn to the rebellious elements of both sides of the family tree, but particularly appreciated the Irish love of a good party. In 2017, Ireland’s postal service, An Post, issued a stamp commemorating Che using Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic red, black, and white image of the revolutionary.

2. HE WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT PLAYING RUGBY.

His parents were members of the San Isidro rugby club, for which Che played scrum-half in his youth. In 1951 he published his own magazine dedicated to the sport, called Tackle. The only problem with playing? He suffered from asthma his entire life. His father tried to convince him to quit the sport because of it, but Che responded, “I love rugby. Even if it kills me one day, I am happy to play it.”

3. HE LOVED POETRY.

Because of his asthma, Che was home-schooled, and it was there that he was first introduced to the poetry he would come to love for the rest of his life. At his death, he was carrying a weathered green book of poetry that he’d copied by hand, featuring work from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo, and Cuban poet Nicolás Guillén. He was also a fan of Walt Whitman, John Keats, and more.

4. HIS NICKNAME COMES FROM A DIALECTICAL TIC.

Short, sharp, and memorable, Che is also an Argentine interjection that Guevara used so often his Cuban compatriots branded him with it. It’s a filler word, something like saying dude, mate, or pal. If he’d been Canadian, his nickname might have been Eh.

5. HE STUDIED MEDICINE.

Influenced by his struggles with asthma, Che enrolled in Buenos Aires University to study medicine in 1948. After graduating as a physician in 1953, he did an internship at Mexico City's General Hospital, where he carried out allergy research, but left in 1955 to join Fidel and Raul Castro’s Cuban Revolution as their doctor.

6. TWO TREKS SHAPED HIS EARLY POLITICAL IDENTITY.

During his time studying medicine, Che embarked on two trips through South America—a solo journey in 1950 on a motorized bicycle and an 8000-mile trek that started on a vintage motorcycle with friend Alberto Granado in 1952. On these trips, he saw intense poverty and the exploitation of workers and farmers. After witnessing “the shivering, flesh-and-blood victims of capitalist exploitation,” Che was determined to fight the system. His account of his second journey, first published in Cuba in 1993 as The Motorcycle Diaries, became a New York Times bestseller and a critically acclaimed 2004 film.

7. A COUP HARDENED HIS VIOLENT STANCE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AS AN IMPERIALIST POWER.

Che settled in Guatemala in 1953 partially because he approved of the way the country’s president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, had redistributed land to peasants—a move that angered the country's elite and the powerful U.S.-based United Fruit Company. That same year, a CIA-backed effort forced the democratically elected Arbenz from power. A ruling junta elected the right-wing Castillo Armas to the presidency, and then restored United Fruit Company’s land. Che was radicalized by the event, and it was the first time he participated directly in revolutionary activities, fighting with a small group of rebels (unsuccessfully) to retake Guatemala City.

8. HE WAS HEAD OF THE NATIONAL BANK IN CUBA.

Che Guevara during the battle of Santa Clara
Che Guevara during the battle of Santa Clara in Cuba
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Following Castro’s revolution, Guevara was given important positions related to finance and the economy, and named President of the National Bank in 1959. That gave him an unparalleled amount of power to direct the country’s economy, which he used to try to reduce Cuba's dependence on sugar exports and trade with the United States in particular. He also made his disdain toward money itself known by signing Cuba’s notes simply as Che.

9. HE ASSISTED IN ARMED REVOLUTIONS IN THREE COUNTRIES.

Che is most famous for his central role in the Cuban revolution, but he also worked to export their model to other countries. In the cases of Bolivia and the Congo, that involved engaging directly in armed revolution in the mid-1960s. He also traveled to the United States, and addressed the United Nations in 1964 in an hour-long speech that criticized the UN itself as well as the United States’ treatment of black Americans.

10. HIS REMAINS WERE MISSING UNTIL 1997.

Che was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian troops in 1967 while trying to foment revolution in Bolivia, and was executed the next day on the orders of that country's president. They cut off the revolutionary's hands post-mortem to prove his identity before dropping his body in a mass grave with other guerrilla fighters. It wasn’t until 28 years later that Bolivian General Mario Vargas told biographer Jon Lee Anderson that Che’s body was buried near the airstrip in Vallegrande, prompting a massive search. A corpse was uncovered in July 1997 that experts said matched Che's description, in part thanks to its lack of hands and the pipe tobacco found in a jacket pocket. Che was reburied in Santa Clara, Cuba, at the base of a giant statue depicting his likeness.

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Why Macedonia Is Getting a New Name
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iStock

For the first time since becoming an independent nation in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia is rebranding itself. As CNN reports, the Balkan nation will soon be called the Republic of Northern Macedonia, a name change that will hopefully help to heal the country's tense relationship with Greece.

Macedonia adopted its former title after gaining independence from Yugoslavia 27 years ago, and the name immediately caused conflict. Its neighbor to the south, Greece has a region of its own called Macedonia. Greece claimed that Macedonia's name suggested a sense of entitlement to territory that belonged to them and took it as an insult.

Even decades later, the bad blood stirred by the decision remained. Greece's issue with the name has even prevented Macedonia from joining the European Union and NATO. The new title, which was agreed upon by Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras on June 11, is meant to be a step towards better relations between the two countries.

"Our bid in the compromise is a defined and precise name, the name that is honorable and geographically precise—Republic of Northern Macedonia," Prime Minister Zaev said at a press conference, as reported by Reuters. Macedonia will hold a popular vote to officially change the name in a referendum later this year.

A country changing its name isn't uncommon, but reasons for the revision vary. In April 2018, the country formerly known Swaziland announced it would be called eSwatini, the name it went by prior to British colonization.

[h/t CNN]

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