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Yes Day: Vote Early and Often

Voting in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Online Fan Poll lasts only a few more days.

For Tucsonans, two choices are obvious. First, we are going to vote for Linda Ronstadt. Second, we are going to vote for guitar demigod and one-time Tucsonan Link Wray. Wray had a special place in his heart for the Old Pueblo and played here frequently, often sharing the stage with local great Al Perry. I am not sure if there is any truth to the persistent rumor that Wray’s “Tucson, Arizona” was written in the Tap Room at the Hotel Congress, but it is a good story nonetheless.

As for me, my third vote goes to Yes. I loved Yes in high school, then drifted away for them as I discovered punk rock and what came to be called “alternative.” By my college years, I was embarrassed to admit that I had all their albums on now-obsolete vinyl. This story is pretty common, actually, but in more recent years, their profound impact has been acknowledged, with artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, ?uestlove and The Red Hot Chili Peppers admitting to their influence.

Yes’ nomination to the Hall has gotten some unusual attention, in large part because there is an unprecedented campaign being waged on their behalf, which started with a chance meeting of political consultants at a Yes show. I assume that this happened in the men’s room between sets. One dark secret of politics is how much business gets done standing at urinals, something which should change as more women achieve prominence.

These consultants, one a Democrat and the other a Republican formed a group called Voices for Yes, which is applying political tactics to promote the band’s candidacy, including talking points, press releases and an elaborate social media strategy. In the end, win or lose, they plan to release a documentary chronicling the effort.

The band, in true rock-and-roll fashion, does not really care whether they get inducted or not, but it nonetheless seems an interesting experiment, and will probably be a case study for folks in who work in marketing. What is not clear is if the effort, even if successful, will have much impact. The Hall’s process remains murky, with many observers believing that the process is controlled largely by notorious snob Jann Wenner, who rewards artists based on his personal tastes and political views. And of course, there is the persistent accusation that the process is subject to commercial pressure.

The fundamental problem is the balloting process which makes the Electoral College look like a triumph for direct Democracy. The campaign seems to focus on the “fan poll,” whose results count as 1 (one) of over six hundred ballots. Effectively, this means that the more votes there are, the less impact each individual vote has. Don’t tell Michelle Reagan about this. It might give her ideas.

This said, it means that the real effort will have to focus on those six hundred or so electors. It will be interesting to see what strategy these high-powered DC political consultants will be using to win those votes.

It is not an important story, but an interesting one nonetheless.