Originally published via American Thinker:
A higher percentage of eligible voters regularly show up to the polls in Mexico, Brazil, and Slovakia than in the world’s preeminent and oldest democracy.
The two parties that, in reality, constitute a uniparty duopoly bend over backward to cater to their respective pet voting blocks (racial minorities for Democrats and Evangelicals for Republicans, for instance). But those demographics pale in comparison to the volume of non-voters.
The 2020 presidential election was a banner year for participatory democracy. It turned out a record number of voters (most of them presumably legal, eligible ones), amounting to 62% of the electorate. That’s the best it gets participation-wise in the US. The 2022 midterms produced about a 47% turnout.
George Carlin, whom I revere, did a whole admittedly hilarious bit in which he blamed the slovenly public for producing terrible politicians, citing the ignorant American population as the reason electoral politics is pointless.
Some percentage of the non-voting population is certainly apathetic or disinterested in politics. And they deserve a share of the blame for the sorry state of affairs, for sure.
Yes, some contingent of the population will always be checked out of participatory politics because they simply can’t be bothered to engage in civic pursuits. But a minimum of 38% — on the best of years — of the entire eligible voting public each election cycle? Are they all useless, ignorant slobs who don’t appreciate the precious, hard-earned right to self-government?
Or is there something more intrinsic to the US political system that dissuades them?
The majority of non-voters are independents who do not identify with either party. Most have no higher than a high school education and also make less than $40k/year. In other words, they’re people don’t belong to the permanent DC political class and don’t see their interests represented there.
Source: Five Thirty-Eight
Less than 30% of Americans approve of the American two-party system. Lots of non-voters, like one interviewed by NPR, don’t feel like voting matters at all:
“I feel like my voice doesn’t matter, People who suck still are in office, so it doesn’t make a difference.”
Can the political system be reformed to counteract this widespread perception that participation is pointless? Here are potential remedies to the real or imagined disincentives for non-voters to participate in the Great American Experiment:
Of course, reform might a pipe dream. The swamp is so deep at this point that the only true remedy may be to drain it all and start over. The tree of liberty is parched.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Ben Bartee is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs. Follow his stuff via Armageddon Prose and/or Substack, Patreon, Gab, and Twitter.
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