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Ok - I have this theory that is looking for some research, but how does one research something like this? Since the 2000 (s)election, possibly even before that, my political advisor and I have been talking about a breakdown of the American electorate that amounts to approximately 60% of folks who are eligible to vote actually voting. A 50+% majority of this group of voters is therefore only 30+% of those eligible to vote. This brought me to a simple, perhaps unverifiable, intuitive idea: what if this 50/50 split, this “polarized” electorate we hear about after every presidential (s)election, before and after every congressional vote, is a myth? Why would the Republican party put such herculean effort into suppressing the vote (chasing statistically non-existent “voter fraud”) if they actually had the numbers to win? So I came up with a shorthand to use in our conversations: Republicans/Conservatives are only 33% of the electorate - there are no more votes beyond that cap. I believe this is why Bush & his cabal had to steal two elections and why the mobilization of greater numbers of eligible voters has made it impossible for the RNC to keep up. I have often wondered why the Democratic party and it’s supporters do not simply make these numbers (provided my intuitive sense is correct here) known publicly. Perhaps they are concerned that this would seem overly partisan? That going on record with something like this might be suppressive in itself, akin to telling Republicans/Conservatives that they can’t win so they should just stay home. Maybe it’s just too hard to get a real fix on these numbers in a country where the number of people who don’t vote is consistently higher than the “majority” that “wins” the (s)election. With that in mind, maybe the status quo (the 50/50 horserace model) is more appealing to the Democrats than the risky prospect of informing the electorate that a third party win is statistically possible...

I think that questioning authority requires a recognition that those in authority have the means to manipulate what we accept as “objective” facts, including control over delivery of these “objective” facts (via media, education, socialization, etc.). It is up to us to look to one another, alternative sources of information, and our intuitive understanding to see through the veneer of this “objectivity.” This is not to say that we should make a policy of disregarding “reality,” “truth,” or the “facts” but that a greater understanding comes when we keep in mind that we are all subjective beings, each with our own perceptions and interpretations of the “reality” around us.

Originally posted on Nov 8, 2012

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nonvoters: Who They Are, What They Think (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, radarlady, Cordyc, ardyess, Russgirl

    A PEW research paper you might enjoy. Most non-voters are aligned with the Democratic Party, thus Republican suppression tactics.

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:13:14 AM PST

    •  The RW spends a lot of energy/resource on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ardyess, kck

      suppressing the non-vote.  The more people they can convince that it doesn't matter, they are all corrupt, etc they better for them.

      We saw this in 2010 with the Obama has disappointed us.  We had ads here this year with the same message.

      We need to counter this PR meme all the time to get more participation.

      Congressional elections have consequences!

      by Cordyc on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 09:30:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the link kck! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck

      Interesting stuff. The tricky part about reading a poll like this is that it's still multiple choice, right? Three Ideology categories for Non-voters with a total that adds up to 91%, so what ideology are the other 9%? Are they all different things? Do they not identify with any specific ideology? If the Non-voters interviewed were not provided with (restricted to) three choices (via the survey or their own conditioned response) what might they say was their ideology? I don't suppose we'd be able to put it in a chart so easily if we made it an essay test instead of multiple choice :)

      Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal - I don't consider myself any of those, but then I actually DO vote, so what do I know?

  •  I've been thinking compulsory voting is necessary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radarlady, blueoasis, ardyess

    This would eliminate voter suppression by definition.

    •  That's true, but some of those sleeping dogs (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, llywrch, ardyess, i understand

      should be left to snooze.
      Better to find out what motivates the ones that agree but don't vote and get them off their butts on election day. I'd love to see a 30% apathy on the Right side of the electorate.
      This election actually did better than the recent trends, almost 80% turnout. When you have a good candidate, a good organization versus a bad opponent and his despicable and incompetent team, you get good results.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 08:43:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure how I feel about compulsory voting... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i understand

      I know a lot of people who don't participate in the voting process for ideological reasons. Some think it is a distraction, or a deliberate ploy to pacify the people. Others feel so disenfranchised by the lack of choice that they don't see the point of participation. Others think the system is so rigged that their votes will not be counted regardless of their participation. I would love to see us get money out of politics, open up the debates, switch to runoff voting, perhaps have some sort of "no confidence" option, and get rid of these proprietary black box voting machines... Ultimately I think we would be better off inspiring people to vote rather than requiring them to vote, even though it may not solve voter suppression.

  •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    but how do you explain state wide voting?  How can some of these right wing terrosits gain office?  

    •  Hmmmm... (0+ / 0-)

      I would think a similar dynamic applies to state wide voting as well in terms of the way misrepresenting the breakdown of the electorate could influence folks to vote one way or another (or not at all), but then state voting is often so gerrymandered by the incumbent majority that this may be less of a factor. Name recognition probably plays a huge roll - more money putting politicians names in front of more voters. Lower voter turnout, interest, etc. may compound this problem as well, making it easier for right wing challenges.

  •  Give a tax credit for voting, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    continue to expand early and absentee voting, and make Election day a paid national holiday.

    Problem solved!

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