Since 1980, U.S. presidential election voter turnout has averaged 53.7%. In the last hundred years, no voter turnout for any federal election has topped 62.8%, and that was in 1960 during the festive squeaker of a grudge match between pretty boy Jack Kennedy and grizzled bruiser Dick Nixon.
Most of the time, nearly half of America’s eligible voters don’t vote.
Why do political editorialists, commentators, critics, analysts, pundits, and pontificators of every kind always scold us about this?
For example, the MIT Election Data Science Lab tells us, “Voter turnout is a measure of civic participation that many people believe best gauges the health of the electoral process.”
This from an institution next to the city of Boston, which has been under an almost Soviet system of one-party control for nearly a hundred years, with voter turnout in certain wards known to exceed the number of people drunk in the Irish bars and the number of people dead in the Catholic cemeteries combined. “Health of the electoral process”? Turn your head and cough, MIT.
The experts shame us with comparisons to the electorate’s vote-like-heck virtues in various oh-so-perfect democracies such as the little Scandinavian ones.
The experts shame us with comparisons to the electorate’s vote-like-heck virtues in various oh-so-perfect democracies such as the little Scandinavian ones. Voter turnout is 82.6% in Sweden. And voter turnout is 80.3% in Denmark.
Never mind that Scandinavians have nobody to vote for except other Scandinavians. They’re going to get the same Danish pastry or Swedish meatball no matter who’s on the ballot. They never have to wake up on Election Day thinking, “Oh, lord… Chock Full O’Nuts is running against Snidely Whiplash. Screw ’em both!” and then roll over and go back to sleep.
Or maybe Americans are self-selecting… 50% of people are below average intelligence – a mathematical fact. But, as Forrest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Or, in this case, as stupid doesn’t, like by not voting.
I’m not saying that stupid people shouldn’t have a say in how the country is run. A lot of what the government does is stupid… So we need stupid input. However, there’s such a thing as a wise fool. And some of us stupid people are going, “I’m dumb as a box of rocks. I don’t know how much a whole mess of nines are. Maybe I’d better stay home and watch SpongeBob SquarePants and let the eggheads and the brainiacs figure out if Squidward or Patrick the Starfish oughta be in the White House.”
This is a noble sacrifice on the part of the stupid and we should be recognized for it. Smart people are often too smart for their own good. And never more so than in their failure to propose a vote of gratitude to voters who don’t vote… thereby letting the smart alecks elect the president. (And over the past 100 years, we’ve had a number of presidents that prove smart people are too smart for their own good. I’ll let the readers name those presidents’ names.) Anyway, stupid non-voters should be rewarded, given maybe $50 or at least a six-pack.
On the other hand, there are some 22 countries that charge people for not voting. Voting is compulsory. These countries impose fines or other civil penalties on eligible voters who don’t go to the polls. Are countries with compulsory voting better governed than ours?
Well, some of them seem to be governed no worse – Australia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein (if anyone cares how Liechtenstein is governed). But Belgium, where you can be fined as much as 200 euros for not voting, has been in political deadlock for most of this century. Then there are the other countries with “choose-or-lose” balloting policies – Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, etc. (And that “etc.” includes North Korea.)
Should you vote? If you feel that you’re well-informed about the issues, the candidates, and their characters, by all means vote.
If you get all your news from comedians on late-night television shows, please don’t vote. Washington is funny enough already.
If you consider yourself to be part of the “Antifa” movement, you already know that the U.S. government is a corrupt, bigoted, hate-filled fascist regime controlled by hetero-normative white male capitalist pigs. You certainly don’t want to put your stamp of approval on this kind of oppression by doing something like voting. (Just trying to keep you true to yourself here, dude.)
If you consider yourself to be a part of the “alt-right” movement, you already know that your vote won’t be counted because voting has been rigged by an unholy alliance of the Trilateral Commission, Hillary Clinton, the UN, and the Bavarian Illuminati. So don’t let George Soros trick you into using the ballot box.
And if you just don’t give a damn what happens on Election Day… please show it by not showing up.