Why MILLIONS Of Americans Choose Not To Vote

Non-voters could tip the results in particular states.

[Editor’s Note: Among the many interesting facts in this study the one that stands out is that non-voters are about evenly split between those leaning Dem and GOP. Imagine — just IMAGINE — if the dems could get their stupid heads out of lobbyist back pockets and give people a reason to vote for them. Unfortunately, as history has shown, there is little reason to believe they will. — Mark L. Taylor]

By Gabriella Novello
Who.What.Why (5/21/20)

If voter turnout is indicative of a democracy’s health, then the US is clearly ailing. Only slightly more than half of all eligible voters cast their ballots in presidential elections, which is far below the turnout seen in peer countries. While systematic voter suppression certainly plays a role in this anemic performance, millions of Americans don’t vote because they have lost faith in the system or believe that elections are rigged.

That is the disturbing finding of “The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-Voters,” a recent John S. and James L. Knight Foundation report on research conducted to determine why so few Americans engage in the political process. Other reasons identified in the report include a real or perceived lack of knowledge about the candidates and issues, disappointment in choices, and a belief that their votes do not matter.

“Thirty-eight percent of non-voters are not confident that elections represent the will of the people, and non-voters are more likely to say that this is because the system is rigged.” — “The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-Voters

In 2016, for example, nearly 100 million eligible voters did not cast a ballot in the general election, with non-voters constituting a larger bloc than the supporters of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. As a result, Americans saw the election of a notably polarizing president who failed to secure a popular mandate. In fact, only a little over a quarter of all eligible voters supported Trump.

Many non-voters “suffer from a lack of faith in our election system,” said the Knight Foundation’s Director of Learning and Impact, Evette Alexander.

Nearly one-third of non-voters said they did not vote in recent elections because they either lacked confidence in the Electoral College or thought elections were rigged.

According to Trey Grayson, a Republican and former Secretary of State of Kentucky, the reason for that is in part because both Democrats and Republicans are reluctant to abolish the Electoral College.

“At the end of the day, policy makers are elected,” Grayson said, adding that they are unlikely to change the very processes that worked for them before.

“That’s not the way you’d like them to make policy, but that’s just natural.”

Would More Voter Participation Make a Difference in 2020?

Because the Electoral College plays such a critical role in presidential elections, the Knight Foundation zeroed in on non-voters in 10 of the most competitive states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Non-voters in these states identify evenly across the political spectrum, but, researchers found, are much less excited than active voters about the November election. …

Read The Rest

  •  “The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-Voters: Link Here


The One Simple Question Joe Biden’s ‘Sunshine Progressive’ Supporters Simply Can’t Answer

Hell, even Sanders can’t answer the question.

By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (4/30/20)

No doubt, Facebook is one of the oddest gathering spots to be found in modern American culture. While some of the postings popping into your day can be entertaining, amusingly distracting, sometimes informative and frequently obtuse, the political flow of Facebook postings rises and falls with the tides and gurglings of the political moment with varying degrees of sanity and inanity.

Occasionally, there can be informative and even constructive political dialog on the various ‘progressive’ Facebook pages I follow on a regular basis. Too often, not so much.

Since Bernie Sanders stepped out of the race for the nomination and gave a bear hug of an endorsement embrace to his “good friend” Joe Biden, the friction on progressive pages has become — shall we say — contentious. Many immediately threw in with Biden using the boilerplate reasoning of “any blue will do” mantra.

Others lay out a coldly pragmatic “yes-I-know-he’s-a-jerk-but” logic for supporting Biden with the hopes that maybe, somehow — should the stars align and the planet reverse rotation — a Biden administration might be persuadable on a few peripheral progressive issues. What exactly those issues might be for a candidate who deservedly earned the nickname ‘The Senator From MBNA” (that’s a bank) and promised his big-money Wall Street backers “that nothing will fundamentally change” is unclear. And, on top of that, Biden has promised — in the midst of a deadly pandemic with millions losing their employer-based health insurance — that should a signature progressive Medicare For All bill ever manage to make it to his desk he would smother it dead with a veto.

Others simply declare: “I’m a democrat and Biden will be the nominee. Shut up and vote for him, too.”

I don’t fall into any of those categories and have been on the receiving end of a lot of push-back. Now, I know the arguments for voting for Biden — and can even list the reasons. And if someone feels they need to accept this Hobson’s choice, okay, I can respect that. It’s your vote after all.

Sunshine progressives

A ‘sunshine patriot’ is one who is patriotic when things are going well; when supporting patriotic principles is free of risk. To stand up in the midst of war fever and oppose a war like the Cheney-Bush Iraq War is true patriotism.

Well, what we are finding in this critical election season — at this existential passage — is that many are “sunshine progressives”. When Bernie Sanders was surging in the polls and drawing huge crowds it was easy to be a progressive. But the moment he stepped down and endorsed Biden — without gaining any concessions from the corporate democratic machine — and labeled any supporter who didn’t obediently scamper with him back into the DNC burrow “irresponsible”, sunshine progressives somehow found it palatable to sip from the foul DNC wine cave menu.

Well, you can imagine how not falling into line behind Sander’s abdication has gone over. People got pissed. Are still pissed. It was no longer easy to be a progressive. In fact, holding to progressive values, principles and goals is vilified and called all sorts of names. And I get it. I really do: Trump is a monster.

But what sunshine progressives are choosing to ignore is the fact that Trump is “A” problem and he spins our lots of other problems, but he is not “THE” problem. “THE” problem is the system that burps up horrible candidates like Trump and Biden, sticking us with the losing “lesser of two evils” choice we have been facing for the past 40 years. Some of us are saying: Enough.

Now, I know all the arguments against my position and even have a certain sympathy — I mean, hell, I fell for them myself in many elections over the past 40 years. Explaining all this brings a range of response. Some Facebook folks are open to respectful debate, but — more often than not — I am accused of supporting Trump, or being a troll, or a Russian bot, or stupid, or an idiot; the usual online body noises.

But I have found one sure way to stop the abuse. I ask a simple question:

“Setting aside the belief that Joe Biden can defeat Donald Trump, can you give me five specific progressive policy proposals or positions that Joe Biden clearly stands for which give a compelling reason to vote for Joe Biden, instead of merely against Trump?”

I have posed versions of this simple, direct question about a dozen times and — to date — have received exactly zero response. Nada. None of the sunshine progressives could answer that simple question. I admit, it’s a tough question. I asked myself and that’s why I won’t be voting for Biden, yet these folks are demanding lemming-like compliance with Bernie’s order.

Hell, even Bernie can’t answer the question. All he can talk about is how bad Trump is.

One thing for sure

One truism in politics: People are more strongly motivated to vote for a candidate rather than just against another candidate. There’s little passion to be found in just being against something. That’s why Bernie drew such enthusiasm and was able to fund two national campaigns on small donations: There were reasons to be for Bernie.

Obama’s 2008 campaign and election also proves the point. After eight dark years of G.W. Bush, Obama’s assertive message of “Hope & Change” energized not just democrats but independents and even many Republicans to work hard for his election. Unfortunately, we were to find Obama meant almost nothing of his message and thereby laid the ground for disillusion and a third-rate reality television hack to become leader of the ‘free’ world.

If sunshine patriots want to fall in behind Joe Biden, I get it. But what they need to get is if they want to convince others to get up and go to the polls, or go through the hassle of getting a paper ballot to vote for Biden, they need to be able to give a strong, convincing answer to the simple question I asked. The fact that they can’t says everything you need to know about their new chosen candidate.

And if Joe Biden does not win that is not the fault of progressives. That is the fault of him not making it possible for his supporters to answer the most basic of questions to be asked of a candidate’s advocate.

It’s time for progressives to grow a backbone because the challenges ahead are dire and neither corporate party will bring relief. Time for us to address “THE” problem.

(Commoner Call photo, column and cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )