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Many of you probably either read or read about Russell Brand's manifesto in the center-left British magazine New Statesman. One thing that irked me about the piece was Brand's disregard for voting--his refusal to do it and his encouragement of others not to vote as well. If Brand was disgusted with the Labour Party after Tony Blair hollowed it out, he could have voted for the Greens. The UK Greens, like the Greens in the US, are not a large party, but they do exist. I don't know where Brand is registered, so I can't analyze the particular candidates from which he had to choose; however, not all Labourites are Blairites.

In the 2010 general election in the UK, only 65% of the population showed up to vote. That missing 35% could have helped usher in a Labour-Lib Dem coalition instead of a Tory-Lib Dem coalition. Would a Labour-Lib Dem coalition be perfect? No. Would it be better than the current coalition? Yes. If the Greens managed to get enough votes, you could have even had a traffic light coalition (green-yellow-red).

Looking at turnout numbers got me thinking about elections here in the U.S., considering how low are turnout rates always are. And that led to the titular question of this diary:

Who was the last president to outpoll non-voters?

We'll work backwards to find the answer.

In determining this, I decided to use "voting age population" (VAP) rather than "voting eligible population" (VEP) because the former is more readily available for elections from many decades past. I used the turnout numbers provided by the American Presidency Project. Professor Michael McDonald of GMU has analyzed the relationship between the two turnout measures, and his graph shows that they began to diverge in the 1980s. Using the voting age population (which includes non-citizen residents, those barred from voting because of criminal history, etc.) as the denominator will deflate the turnout percentage a bit--but not enough to significantly affect our findings.

In the last election, voter turnout was only 53.6%. That means that, of the voting age population (VAP), 46.4% did not vote, 27.4% voted for Obama, and 25.3% voted for Romney. That's right. All of that media coverage and money, and Obama didn't even get the votes of 30% of the voting age population (or, if you check, the voting eligible population).

According to the the data from here and here, Minnesota and Wisconsin were the only states in which both candidates outpolled non-voters among the voting age population. Obama also outpolled non-voters among the voting age populations of DC, Iowa, Maine, and New Hampshire. Both Obama and Romney outpolled non-voters among the voting eligible population of Colorado. Obama also outpolled nonvoters among the voting eligible populations of Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont; Romney, Iowa and New Hampshire.

2008 Election:

42.5% non-voters
30.4% Obama
26.3% McCain

2004 Election
44.7% non-voters
28.0% George W. Bush
26.7% John Kerry

2000 Election

48.7% non-voters
24.6% George W. Bush
24.8% Al Gore

1996 Election

51.0% non-voters
24.1% Bill Clinton
19.9% Bob Dole

This was one of only three elections in which non-voters constituted an outright majority. The other two were 1920 and 1924. There were more than twice as many non-voters as there were voters for Clinton. That's pretty depressing when you think about it.

1992 Election
44.8% non-voters
23.7% Bill Clinton
20.7% George H. W. Bush

I believe that Bill Clinton's 23.7% was the record low. It feels weird to realize that Clinton never even had the support of 1/4 of the VAP.

1988 Election
49.8% non-voters
26.8% George H. W. Bush
22.9% Michael Dukakis

1984 Election
46.9% non-voters
31.2% Ronald Reagan
21.6% Walter Mondale

That's right: In Reagan's landslide re-election, he didn't even have the support of 1/3 of the VAP.

1980 Election
47.4% non-voters
26.7% Ronald Reagan
21.6% Jimmy Carter

1976 Election
46.5% non-voters
26.8% Jimmy Carter
25.7% Gerald Ford

1972 Election
44.8% non-voters
33.5% Richard Nixon
20.7% George McGovern

This is the last time a president won more than 1/3 of the VAP.

1968 Election

39.2% non-voters
26.4% Richard Nixon
25.2% Hubert Humphrey

1964 Election
38.1% non-voters
37.8% Lyndon B. Johnson
23.8% Barry Goldwater

So close, LBJ! As a consolation prize, even though he didn't beat the non-voters, he still won the largest share of the VAP of any president in the 20th century.

1960 Election
36.9% non-voters
31.4% John F. Kennedy
31.3% Richard Nixon

1956 Election

39.4% non-voters
34.8% Dwight D. Eisenhower
25.5% Adlai Stevenson

1952 Election
36.7% non-voters
34.9% Dwight D. Eisenhower
28.0% Adlai Stevenson

1948 Election
47.0% non-voters
26.3% Harry Truman
23.9% Thomas Dewey

1944 Election
44.1% non-voters
29.9% Franklin D. Roosevelt
26.7% Thomas Dewey

1940 Election

37.5% non-voters
34.2% FDR
28.0% Wendell Wilkie

1936 Election
39.0% non-voters
37.1% FDR
22.3% Alf Landon

1932 Election
43.1% non-voters
32.7% FDR
22.6% Herbert Hoover

1928 Election
43.1% non-voters
33.1% Herbert Hoover
23.2% Al Smith

1924 Election
51.1% non-voters
26.4% Calvin Coolidge
14.1% John Davis

1920 Election

50.8% non-voters
29.7% Warren G. Harding
16.8% James Cox

1920 was the first presidential election since women gained suffrage nationally. So the share of the voting age population in elections prior is really a constricted population.

1916 Election
38.4% non-voters
30.3% Woodrow Wilson
28.4% Charles Evans Hughes

1912 Election
41.2% non-voters
24.6% Woodrow Wilson
13.6% William Taft

1908 Election

34.6% non-voters
33.7% William Taft
28.1% William Jennings Bryan

1904 Election
34.8% non-voters
36.8% Theodore Roosevelt
24.5% Alton B. Parker

We have a winner!

And to fill out the century....

1900 Election

26.8% non-voters
37.8% William McKinley
33.3% William Jennings Bryan

Both candidates actually beat the non-voters!

If my calculations are correct, the president who won the highest share of the voting age population* ever was William Henry Harrison, who spent just over a month in office. A bit ironic.  

*The franchise in 1840 didn't include women, the enslaved population of the South, most of the free blacks of the North, and Native Americans, and many states still had property requirements. I'm using "voting age population" because that's how it is used in turnout data sources; however, that population was quite small.

Originally posted to Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:24 AM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks, Headwaters, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How could William Henry Harrison (5+ / 0-)

    have won the highest share of the "voting age population" when he was elected in an era of limited suffrage? No women or blacks could vote, and the vote was not even available nationwide to all white men (landholding requirements still existed at the time of the Civil War). 2.4 million votes were cast in 1840, which was only 14% of the population (in 2012, 42% of us voted).

  •  Chuck Todd's trivia questions (7+ / 0-)

    He has one on his show every day. This would have been a good one for that segment. (Still would be, if you send it in a few weeks from now.)

    Thanks for posting this. It was fun.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:39:38 AM PST

  •  LBJ's Near Miss Came At the Economic High Water (14+ / 0-)

    mark of the American people.

    Shortly after that, with Medicare, Medicaid, the War on Poverty and the Great Society launched, American leadership had enough, and began to restore the fortunes of ownership.

    For the overall interests of all the people, what's there been to turn out for since before men walked on the Moon?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:48:51 AM PST

    •  The effing Great Depression II of 2008. (0+ / 0-)

      But then Obama ran without going all in to blame George Bush and his firing of bank regulators and SEC investigators for the crash.

      Obama had a safe win the way he did it. Even a small Class Warfare effort would have risked assassination -- as always -- while grabbing votes by the millions.

  •  I do not understand the phrase (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HudsonValleyMark

    "outpoll non-voters". What does this mean?

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 07:44:35 AM PST

    •  Explanation (6+ / 0-)

      To have more voters than there are non-voters in the election

      If you can think of a clearer way of saying that, please let me know. I was toying around with different wordings and never fully liked any of them.

      •  I would say what you said here: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        david78209

        Who was the last President to have more voters participate than non-voters sit out an election?

        The answer in your comment is very clear to me.

        Thanks for responding. I was really in the dark.

        Very interesting diary.

        "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

        by rubyr on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:12:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How about, "Who was the last President to get more (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alice in Florida, Dvd Avins

          votes than 'None of the Above'?"

          "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

          by Bisbonian on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:04:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not really. (4+ / 0-)

            Having voters cast a "none of the above" vote would tell us a great deal more than simply staying home.

            Because voting "none of the above" would require the voter to take some kind of action to register his or her dissatisfaction with the candidates offered, it would provide a much stronger indication that the voter did not vote for any of the candidates on the ticket because they found them all distasteful.

            As it is, when someone doesn't vote, we don't have any information about why—meaning that we don't know whether it's because they were dissatisfied with the candidates on the ticket, because they weren't able to get to the polls, because they don't think voting changes anything, because they simply don't care enough about politics to bother, or any of a host of other reasons.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:48:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quite true. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eztempo

              I wish we could know...mostly i would guess that they don't think it makes enough difference to make the effort.

              "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

              by Bisbonian on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:02:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Supposedly there used to be polls of non voters (0+ / 0-)

                (I say supposedly because I don't have the citations from twenty years ago and cannot verify what I remember.)
                Anyway, supposedly non voters polled as essentially the same as the actual election - until 1994. For that and the next few elections until they stopped polling Democrats outpolled Republicans among non voters by over 2- 1.
                Assuming that's true it goes to show you what Third Way politics are worth.

  •  A near penniless hitchhiker is dropped off in (6+ / 0-)

    front of a small town mini-casino. Within are a rigged roulette wheel and a crap table with crooked dice. Which should he play?

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:06:51 AM PST

    •  in other words: this diary demonstrates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      that the American public isn't quite as stupid as it's made out to be.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:25:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet if a grand total of Three Americans voted (4+ / 0-)

        in the next election, the candidate who got two votes would be the "winner".

        The rest of us would lose.

        "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

        by Bisbonian on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:05:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but for lots of these people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris, radmul

          one loses any way you cut it.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:13:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's the Good Cop/Bad Cop theory. (4+ / 0-)

            Yes, most of us know the system is rigged and that neither party is truly on our side. But, you are trapped in a room with both of those cops. One is threatening you with a baseball bat. One is offering you a donut. Until you figure out how to get out of that room, you damn well better make a choice.

            "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

            by tb92 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:07:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bullshit. Self-fulfilling. Enabling GOP. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bartcopfan

              Sure, so few vote because the two major parties are so similar. But it's equally true that the parties are so similar because so few vote.

              Two examples:

              1. Blanche Lincoln vs. Bill Halter.

              Blue Dog Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in 2009-10 watered down healthcare, watered down the economic stimulus. Obviously she should've been replaced by a progressive. Progressive Bill Halter ran against her in the 2010 Dem primary, took her to a runoff.

              In that runoff, less than 5% of the population of Arkansas bothered to turn out for Halter. OK, if you consider voting-age population, it was probably a bit over 5%, still well under 10%.

              If only 5% or so of the population bothers to turn out and vote for a more progressive option, then it's no damn surprise we don't have more progressive options.

              We're not going to have some cataclysmic revolution that ushers in an era of goodness and light. If we get better government, it's going to be incrementally--one election at a time.

              2. Dubya vs. Al Gore.

              The last time this "they're all the same" crap gained prominence, Nader voters and non-voters made the election close enough for the Supremes to give it to Dubya.

              And why were there so many GOP appointees on the Supreme Court, anyway? See the diary on the % of non-voters in the elections of 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988.

              Does anyone REALLY think there was no significant difference between Dubya and Gore?

              The GOP's shtick since at least Reagan has been, "government is not worth paying for." Thus at every turn they do their damnedest to ensure that government is not worth paying for. When we buy into the idea that it's hopeless, we enable the GOP. We empower them to f*ck up the government. We end up ruled by more Blanche Lincolns and Dubyas.

              Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

              --FDR

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:32:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your approach to the Democratic Party's (0+ / 0-)

                successful destruction of the Halter campaign is interesting, but tends to ignore the fact that they party actively threw all of its weight behind Lincoln. It is hard to get a progressive past TPTB in the Dem party, The DLC and New Dems will do all they can to crush them, unless it is somebody like Barbara Lee that they simply cannot unseat and replace with a conservadem.

                Dubya v Gore is classic, the party trying to blame everything but what really occurred for a specific failure. Take away Nader and Gore probably still loses. More FL Democrats voted GOP than Nader, for example. Gore ran an uninspiring campaign and couldn't even win his own home state.

                That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:29:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

                  Halter vs. Lincoln:

                  The Dem primary runoff results were Lincoln 134,758, Halter 124,405. (Total Dem runoff voters 259,163.) Population of Arkansas: 2.9 million. http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  79.8% of the US population is age 15 or older. For our rough-estimation purposes, I assume (a) the age breakdown is the same for Arkansas as the USA, and (b) for age 18 and up the figure is 75%. So voting age population of Arkansas = .75 x 2.9 million = 2,175,000.

                  So 12% of the voting age population of Arkansas participated in the Dem primary runoff, in which the margin of victory was less than 1/2 of 1% of the voting age population.

                  Assume the Dem leadership is corrupt and stupid. If only 6% of the population realizes that and decides to vote for the progressive alternative, we could replace the Dem leadership. 6%. "You can't fool all of the people all the time." To consistently have 94+% behaving like sheep, the people have to fool themselves.

                  Dubya vs. Gore:

                  Must I resort to a sports analogy?

                  Kicker misses field goal. Running back loses fumble just before crossing goal line. Quarterback throws interception, returned for touchdown. Official makes bad call, costing team another TD. Team loses game by 1 point. Coach later wants running back to work on anti-fumble drill. Running back says, "Don't blame me! Blame the kicker! Blame the quarterback! Blame the official!"

                  A lot of things made us lose the 2000 election, including Gore's lousy campaign and his DLC-liteness. If any one of them had been fixed, Gore would've won. We should fix all of them that are in our power. The third party candidacy of Nader was one of them. Another was--as the diary points out--that a plurality of adults didn't vote.

                  "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                  by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:57:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sorry, but given the horrible Gore campaign, (0+ / 0-)

                    there is no reason to believe that Nader voters would've supported Gore in greater numbers than Dubya and that more would've voted than stayed at home.

                    Gore had no charisma, ran an uninspiring campaign, was tainted from numerous perspectives from having been Clinton's VP and had royally pissed off every government worker (usually Dems) by running the Reaganist "privatize and outsource government" project for Clinton and bragging about it.

                    Face the facts, he blew it, Nader wasn't a determining factor, or even a significant one. Gore actually drove Democrats to vote for W, what more telling criticism can there be?

                    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                    by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 11:26:37 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Gimme a break. Math. (0+ / 0-)

                      Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida. Dubya's margin of victory (er, "victory") over Gore in FL was 537, which is about 0.6% of Nader's vote.

                      That's not six percent. That's six-tenths of one percent of Nader's vote.

                      Obviously, if Nader had not been on the ballot, some of his voters would have voted for Gore, some for Dubya, and some would have stayed home. (Hell, I suppose a few would've voted for Pat Buchanan.) Of the Nader voters who'd have chosen either Gore or Dubya, do you REALLY think Gore wouldn't have gotten at least .06% more of them than Dubya?

                      I personally knew several people who agonized over whether to vote Nader or Gore. I know exactly zero who were trying to choose between Nader or Dubya. I know, anecdotes don't = data, but still...

                      As you say, face the facts.

                      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                      by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 11:56:27 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I know of no reason to believe (0+ / 0-)

                        Of the Nader voters who'd have chosen either Gore or Dubya,  Gore wouldv'e have gotten at least .06% more of them than Dubya. Hell, lifelong Dems voted for W.

                        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                        by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 12:43:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  How about 5 reasons? (0+ / 0-)

                          Nader got 3% of the vote nationwide in 2000.

                          (1) Nader got 6% of self-described liberals, 2% of self-described moderates, 1% of self-described conservatives.

                          (2) Nader got 4% of those age 25-29.

                          (3) Nader got 4% of those with incomes under $15,000.

                          (4) Nader got 4% of GLB voters. (No data for other sexual minorities.)

                          (5) Nader got 2% of Democrats and 0% of Republicans.

                          http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/...

                          So Nader overperformed with liberals, the 25-29, the poor, the GLB, and Dems (vs. GOP). And if you click the same link, you'll see that Gore outperformed Dubya with liberals, those age 25-29, those with incomes under $15,000, GLB voters, and (of course) Dems.

                          So that's five reasons to think if Nader had not been an option, more Nader voters would've settled for Gore than settled for Dubya.

                          Is any of that really a surprise?

                          (Curiously, Bush & Gore tied in the 18-24 age bracket. The only category in which both Nader and Bush overperformed was Independents, but Bush's margin there over Gore was just 2 points, so not enough to outweigh the more substantial pro-Gore slant of the other categories in which Nader overperformed.)

                          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                          by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 03:17:29 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Meaningless. Grasping. People voted for (0+ / 0-)

                            Nader as the "Not- Gore", if you cannot vote for the "Not- Gore", you don't turn around and vote for Gore, you fail to vote or vote for the other not Gore. Remember that actual lifelong Democrats voted for W in that election rather than vote for Gore, including in FL, which is where your mythical Nader problem is touted most highly. Remember that Gore couldn't even carry his own state.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 03:29:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bell curve. (0+ / 0-)

                            You see Nader voters as monolithic.

                            Nader voters, like practically everything in the universe, plot on a bell curve. At one thin end were people who were going to vote for Nader or absolutely nobody. At the other thin end were people who were absolutely going to vote for somebody, whether or not Nader were available. In the fat part of the curve, in the middle, were those who would be somewhat likely to vote even if Nader were not available. The bell curve ("normal distribution" to a statistician), coupled with the statistics I cited above, virtually guarantees Gore would've beaten Bush by a margin of at least 0.6% of Nader voters.

                            See? You can be 99.4% right and still not right enough.

                            This black-and-white nature of your thinking should be a tipoff that you need to rethink. Practically nothing is that clearcut. (Complexity of enterprises plots on a bell curve...clearcut enterprises at one very thin end.) Herding cats etc.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 07:23:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Myth math, you got nothing whatsoever to (0+ / 0-)

                            support that garbage.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 01:37:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And you've got...? NT (0+ / 0-)

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 02:07:51 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I lack the desperate need to assume that *my* (0+ / 0-)

                            candidate could've only lost due to sabotage, that leads others to, in essence, postulate said sabotage in the form of Nader. Being objective, I was damn surprised that Gore even got that colse. The only time I've ever graoned louder at the choice of a Democratic candidate was Kerry.

                            Gore had a lot against him and needed a brilliant campaign, which he didn't run.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 02:33:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Please re-read sports analogy. More analogies! (0+ / 0-)
                            need to assume that my candidate could've only lost due to sabotage
                            Please go back up a few comments and re-read the sports analogy. A lot of things went wrong in 2000. Nader was just one of them.
                            Gore had a lot against him and needed a brilliant campaign, which he didn't run.
                            Yes. I agree with that. But it's not one or the other; it's both.

                            Wait, here's a money analogy. I need $800 to pay my rent. I get sick and miss two days of work, costing me $160. My wallet is stolen, with $200 in it. My child outgrows his shoes and I buy him new ones, that cost $30. My Food Stamps get canceled because of a paperwork mixup, costing me $200. When the rent is due I only have $780. What is the reason I can't pay my rent? Obviously there isn't a single reason.

                            But wait, there's more! I'm running for school board in my small town. One of my voters gets sick and doesn't vote. Another has a flat tire and makes it to the polls too late. Another supporter mistakenly thinks I have been accused of a terrible crime on the local news; turns out it was somebody else with a similar name, but the supporter doesn't find out till after election day. Another voter has to go out of town for a funeral. Another supporter just got lazy and didn't feel like going to the polls. I lose the race by 1 vote. Which one of my supporters caused me to lose? Again, obviously there's not just one.

                            Same deal with Gore in 2000. Nader was one factor.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 03:03:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No point in re-reading a false analogy. You (0+ / 0-)

                            continue to assume facts not in evidence, that an excess of Nader voters who wouldn't have abstained, done a write in or whatever would've voted Gore in the absence of Nader. you have no evidence for that and instead use spurious math based on the false assumptin that what you wish to be true is, a fallacy known as petitio principii.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 03:39:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Global warming? Evolution? Austerity? (0+ / 0-)

                            A lot of what progressives don't like about the GOP is that they won't listen to reason and disregard empirical evidence.

                            I cited those Roper Center findings--which, really, are a surprise to just about nobody--and you have responded with adjectives--"meaningless," "grasping," "false." This is no different than Tea Partiers referring to all taxes as "stealing," to global warming as a "hoax," and to evolution as "a lie from the pit of hell," and thinking that makes it so.

                            A thesaurus is no substitute for evidence--not for Tea Partiers, and not for you.

                             

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 04:43:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You cited no statistical studies of FL Nader (0+ / 0-)

                            voters' statements as to who they would've voted for without Nader's candidacy that I ever saw. Care to repost it?

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 04:57:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I posted national figures. (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you have any evidence Florida Nader voters were significantly different than national-average Nader voters, in the relevant respects?

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 05:20:03 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You posted national figures on how Nader (0+ / 0-)

                            voters said they would vote without a Nader option? I saw no such post. But I'll try to backtrack to find one.

                            Before I waste my time, however, is that really what the study said? The lifelong Democrats that voted Nader in that election that I happen to know all did so because "There is no way in hell I'd ever vote for Gore" or equivalent. So the fact that they were Democrats still doesn't mean that they were potental Gore voters.

                            OK, off to look for your alleged study.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 05:57:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  OK, I have found two things you may be (0+ / 0-)

                            referring to:

                            1) Psuedo math as follows

                            Nader voters, like practically everything in the universe, plot on a bell curve. At one thin end were people who were going to vote for Nader or absolutely nobody. At the other thin end were people who were absolutely going to vote for somebody, whether or not Nader were available. In the fat part of the curve, in the middle, were those who would be somewhat likely to vote even if Nader were not available. The bell curve ("normal distribution" to a statistician), coupled with the statistics I cited above, virtually guarantees Gore would've beaten Bush by a margin of at least 0.6% of Nader voters.
                            This is pure verbiage, with no support whatsoever. The universe isn't all bell curves, in fact almost none of it is a perfect bell curve. There is absolutely no reason to assume any of the silliness you assume in that bit of nonsense.

                            Now, there is also this:

                            Nader got 3% of the vote nationwide in 2000.

                            (1) Nader got 6% of self-described liberals, 2% of self-described moderates, 1% of self-described conservatives.

                            (2) Nader got 4% of those age 25-29.

                            (3) Nader got 4% of those with incomes under $15,000.

                            (4) Nader got 4% of GLB voters. (No data for other sexual minorities.)

                            You also ignore whites, males, and independents which you try to offset with

                            (5) Nader got 2% of Democrats and 0% of Republicans.

                            That says nothing about how any Nader voter would've voted without Nader present, especially in FL. You also ignore whites, men, and independents which you try to make vanish with all of your presumptions that those chosing to vote against Gore wuld've rushed to his arms if Nader weren't on the ballot.

                            BTW, Nationwide isn't reflective of FL, either.  If you look at any year, you'll see that the average is a tad useless, clearly demonstrated by the wide disparity of votes in different locales, like red states, blue states, etc.

                            In short, you are doing a crazy tap dance to try to use information unralated to the question of how those Anti-Gore voters and assorted other naderites would've voted without Nader on the ticket.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 06:12:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Get real. 0.6%. (0+ / 0-)

                            As I noted above, to beat Bush, Gore didn't need all the Florida Nader voters, or even most of the Florida Nader voters. He only needed 0.6% of the Florida Nader voters. Six-tenths of one percent.

                            So even if you're right that the vast, overwhelming majority of Florida Nader voters would not have voted for Gore, that's irrelevant--just Nader's table crumbs in Florida would have been enough.

                            0.6%.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 07:19:03 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry, Nader was not Perot. The only Nader (0+ / 0-)

                            voter I ever met who would've voted for anybody else would've voted for Bush.

                            Here's your argument: "Gee, 3% of the population of people who might normally vote Democrat were driven to vote for another candidate who didn't even seriously campaign, but they would've voted for Gore if nobody else existed." Ludicrous.

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 08:56:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Take a math class. (0+ / 0-)

                            Wrong. 3% were driven to vote for Nader; .006% would've voted for Gore if not for Nader.

                            "100% of Nader voters would not have settled for a lesser evil." Ludicrous.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:24:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  .0018%, sorry. No coffee yet. NT (0+ / 0-)

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:25:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Look, if the Dems run a rabid racist, and hence (0+ / 0-)

                            a bunch of people of color vote for an independent, you look at the demographics, people of color and registered Dems, all of them and assume that if the independent weren't there to vote for they would vote for the racist. That is simply wrong.

                            They are making a statement. If they don't vote, that is interpreted apathy or laziness, and they strongly wish to convey a message: "We abhor both candidates and cannot bring ourselves to vote for either of them". Now, what part of "cannot bring ourselves to vote for either of them" is it that you fail to understand here?

                            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

                            by enhydra lutris on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 09:43:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What I fail to understand... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...is your presumption that you know exactly what 99.5% of all 97,000+ Nader voters in Florida were thinking.

                            Even if you're right that you can read the minds of 99.4%, that's not enough. You have to read the minds of more than 99.4%.

                            You may be a mind reader, but you're not that good a mind reader.

                            OTOH I'm simply assuming that if you take 97,000 people, even those inclined toward a certain opinion, you'll find some variation in the specifics of their opinions. At least 0.6% of them will share a variant on that opinion that is commonly held in their greater society. That ain't much of a leap.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 10:11:30 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Absolutely right but (0+ / 0-)

                I wish people would stop using 2000 as an example - Katherine Harris would have announced that W won no matter what the real totals were.
                And there was apparently little diference between Bush and Gore at the time. Al Gore ran a terribly weak campaign and the media (with the exception of Molly Ivans) refused to expose W's true evil.

        •  Actually there would be no winner (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bisbonian, riverlover, enhydra lutris

          If only three people voted, then the largest number of electoral college votes the winning candidate could amass is 122, well short of the 270 required to win. (California 55, Texas 38 and either New York 29 or Florida 29)

          It would then go to the House of Representatives to elect a President. That's even more of a loser than your scenario.

          There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

          by OHeyeO on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 06:08:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah...the damned EC got me again, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HeyMikey, enhydra lutris

            Okay, make it a few hundred well scattered people then...  Not as simple, but the point is, staying home accomplishes nothing...somebody still gets a majority of even a paltry amount of votes.

            "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

            by Bisbonian on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 08:05:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Of course it is: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scott5js, mkor7, enhydra lutris

        The turnout is considerably lower during primaries, when they have the most power to effect change.  So the public's even worse than you're making them out to be.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 04:01:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Solitaire! eom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, enhydra lutris

      Believe nothing. Question everything.

      by Selphinea on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:35:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The one that makes him feel better.n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:03:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You forgot, el, in your mini-casino trip,... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      ...that you have chips that are only good in the casino, and you can't convert them to currency good anywhere else.

      Have fun.

  •  I hope you read the Robert Webb's response (5+ / 0-)

    to Brand also in the new statesman. He's also a comedian (and unlike brand actually funny). I thought it was very, very good.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/...

    Best comment i hear about Brand was that his manifesto was that of an angry teenage boy with a thesaurus.

    •  Well, he speaks for a lot of other people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, mkor7, recontext

      And ignoring that by making fun of him doesn't change that. Insults don't get more people to vote.

      •  You know what also doesn't get more people to (9+ / 0-)

        vote? Telling them not to.

        •  Well then, clearly you've got the strategy down (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mkor7

          Let me know how insulting people works for you. If you wanted to avoid the point completely then you managed to do so.

          •  Wasn't insulting people precisely what Brand did? (0+ / 0-)

            Insulting many, maybe most, women right in his opening sentence (way to start a revolution by alienating half your target population).

            Insulting "politicians" (talk about picking an easy target).

            And quite a few more along the way.

            In my books it's him who's trying to win hearts and mind. All his counterparts need to do, is to expose him as the superficial egotistical hack that he seems to be.

            •  Sure, and if you think hes the only one (0+ / 0-)

              who doesn't vote for the reason he gives in the interview then you'd be right. Is he misogynistic, yep. Does that mean that no one agrees with the other stuff he said? Nope, not at all. If you're content with insults as a strategy to counter the things he said that weren't misogyny then fine, but that's not going to do anything. People here seem content to portray voting as the Most Important Thing Ever! and leave it at that and insults. Ignoring the basic fact that insulting people doesn't do shit for you in politics. "He's dumb! He's immature! He's a misogynist!" won't convince anyone that voting is a good idea. Neither will ignoring the fact that people feel disenfranchised.

              •  Brand is brilliant but uneducated. (0+ / 0-)

                Brand obviously has an incredibly sharp mind. But he hasn't spent much time using it to study history.

                Ignorance is easier to fix than stupidity. So for Brand there's hope.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:55:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Why should he vote? (0+ / 0-)

          If he's hoping for a genuine revolution?  

          The answer, of course, is obvious.  He's working outside the existing political structure in Britain to change it.  

          And it's obvious that the vast majority of dkos users are not revolutionaries, but "liberals."  They are implicit supporters of the existing state.  

          But as an outsider getting a lot of attention by agitating against the existing social machinery, Brand is arguably doing far more politically than any of us will by voting for the next presidential candidate.

          Voting may help marginally at the local level, but nationally it has given Progressives the likes of Obama, even when we "win."  

    •  I did read Webb's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vonrobkin

      I actually considered making a diary out of Webb's piece and was going to link to it here but forgot to.

      Did you ever watch That Mitchell & Webb Look? The Watergategate sketch is one of my favorites.

  •  Interesting but ultimately unimportant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    godlessmath

    You understand the concept of sampling, right? Realistically our system of elections could be replaced by a random polling of maybe a few thousand americans.  You might ask- but what about the other several hundred million americans? Do they not count? Actually they count- but their preferences are adequately represented by the several thousand random respondents.

    Same here. That there exist a large pool of non-voters ultimately does not matter to the functioning of democracy. It is a fantasy that the non-voters would somehow have a vastly different outlook than the voters, and that their participation would change any outcomes.

    •  I think you make a large assumption (6+ / 0-)

      in taking it for granted that the non-voting population is only the voting population writ larger.

      Voting takes effort.  It takes engagement.  It takes literacy.  It implies committment to known ideologies.  

      I think it's a bit thin to argue without any further substantiation that those lacking this profile can be predicted by the same rules.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:46:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So then voter suppression doesn't matter? (4+ / 0-)

      Or does it only matter when the GOP is actively seeking to have fewer people vote? There needs be a bad guy I suppose otherwise some folks can't see the problem.

      The idea that non-voters are statistically similar to voters is flatly wrong. If a democracy is legitimated on the grounds that it represents the "will of the people" then the number of people who feel the system is legitimate is important. Unless you think we just have this system because it sounds good then the number of people who participate is in fact a poll on the legitimacy of the system.

    •  That's not how sampling works (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, lgmcp, eztempo

      A random sample can be taken to represent a larger group, but nonvoters are not a random sample, they are making the choice not to vote.

      As for what difference it would make...of course we don't know how these people would vote if they did vote, but neither should we assume they'd vote the same as those who do vote...they are different people. I believe their makeup has been analyzed in the past, and that they are probably less affluent and younger than the population that does vote.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:11:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Drudge Report will pick this Diary up . . . (0+ / 0-)

    And announce, with a positive comment, that the expansion of the electorate has very clearly trended with a downturn in American Exceptionalism ~~~ Snark

    Oh, but for the days when only the people of plenty, were graced with the privilege to vote.  The Republican Tea Party should announce with Glee, that the cornerstone of their platform is to restore the knights of shining armor, the lords and ignorant ladies, the serfs and minions!  Why not advertise with truth and let Ted and Rafael tell the nation what they would really like to see!

    Liberty Equality Fraternity (Sorority) and Trees has provided us all with a glimpse into the reality of what a Republican future would really be when Democratic Judges and ex- Democratic Speakers of United States Congress would not be able to vote in the State of Texas.  Thanks for the glimpse, Reality is frightening enough.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:18:32 AM PST

  •  So interesting, thanks (4+ / 0-)

    What strikes me about the data is that there really are no "Good Old Days" here.   While the problem of non-voting citizens is a large one, it is far from new.  

    I do think vote-by-mail schemes would improve this dramatically.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:40:20 AM PST

  •  Not sure about that. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice in Florida, nominalize
    Using the voting age population (which includes non-citizen residents, those barred from voting because of criminal history, etc.) as the denominator will deflate the turnout percentage a bit--but not enough to significantly affect our findings.
    According to the Great Wiki, in 2011 alone almost 3% of the adult population of the United States was either in prison, on probation, or on parole.

    Yes, that percentage includes misdemeanors, but I'd still wager that the proportion of the population that's ineligible to vote due to past criminal convictions is even a few percentage points larger than the 3% number, given that one can complete one's sentence (including parole or probation) and still be denied the franchise as an ex-felon.

    According to this estimate, as of 2010 there were 12.6 million legal permanent residents in the US—another 4% of the total population of the United States. Add to that the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US, and that's another 4%.

    Add all of that up, and you're looking at 10+% of the population that is of voting age, but is not able to vote due to non-citizenship or felon status. That could substantially skew your numbers.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:48:21 AM PST

    •  Not substantially in the context of this piece (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bisbonian, AoT

      I linked to a piece by a professor at GMU who has analyzed the relationship between the voting age population and the voting eligible population. According to his chart, from 1944 to 1968, they were effectively the same. Since then, the gap has been growing larger, but it is roughly about 5 percentage points in turnout.

      I originally calculated 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 with voting eligible population rather than voting age population. Obviously, the percentages you get are two to three points higher. However, that does not change the overarching narrative. With VEP, Obama would be at 32.8% in 2008 rather than 30.4%--still not enough to change my comment about Nixon as the last one to pass 1/3.

      It does, however, influence something like an inter-year ranking, which is why I did not do that.

  •  personally I thought Brand sounded unhinged (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    He's is definitely not a good spokesperson for a counter-culture revolution.  When will people realize that you can't have a revolution just because you want one.  First there has to be agreement that a revolution is needed.  Then you need a vision for what would be better.  Then you need a plan to make it happen.  That's alot of steps.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:04:53 PM PST

    •  To me he sounded cynical and smarmy. (0+ / 0-)

      Like a shrewd salesman who had learned the favorite radical and counter-culture slogans, and knows who to whip up a nice word souffle out of them.

      His attitude towards women in general, seems disgusting. You don't need to go further than his opening sentence to get a flavor of it.

      But so many people fall for this crap... they want to believe there's someone out there who can instigate a good revolution...

      •  I think most people who this resonated with (0+ / 0-)

        were just happy to hear something that expressed what they feel about the system as t exists right now. Sure, he's a shock comedian so they aren't going to agree with everything he says, but it's easy enough for people to dismiss that sort of thing, even if they're women, if they see someone who is actually on the TV saying the things they feel. They don't want him to lead anything, they're just happy to see someone say this.

  •  There's the path to sweeping electoral (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, tardis10, Alice in Florida, HeyMikey

    victories: getting the non-voter -- and we've got to assume a very large part of the ∼44% are natural Democrats by class, income, and sympathies.

    A pointed drive to get non-voters registered and out seems to have been a key part in the last California elections (sorry, don't have link handy, but it was front-paged by Meteor Blades a couple of months ago.)

    Of course, if we had a outright 'Elect Dems, Get a Massive Jobs Stimulus Happening" agenda, made into a brand for the Dem Party, that would be a lot easier.

    That Dem leadership is pretending (or honestly confused) that the budget/deficit/austerity is the most pressing issue of the day when 67%, 75%, 80% have been saying JOBS JOBS JOBS for going on eight years now is ... bizarre, if the object is to win elections.

    It's doubly bizarre when GOOD JOBS is the cure for any imagined or real safety-net funding issues.

    I can't see the non-voters deciding 'now I must vote Democratic' while our party establishment has yet to repudiate the massive -- and indisputable -- failure of Trickle Down, Privatization, Deregulation, and Free Trade. In fact, they seem to embrace these Reaganisms.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:08:37 PM PST

    •  That's a rather huge assumption: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      "and we've got to assume a very large part of the ∼44% are natural Democrats"

      I think it would be more accurate to guess that they took a look at the candidates on both sides, and decided they didn't like what they saw.

      "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

      by Bisbonian on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:12:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But I'm assuming a Dem Party with Dem ideas. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        Now, while we push the same assumptions Repubs do about Economics and Foreign Policy 'they're the same' is probably a large portion of the non-voter group.

        But if interests were actually represented on those points? Different story, neh?


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 02:49:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How are we so sure they are disappointed liberals (0+ / 0-)

          rather than disappointed conservatives, people who just don't care, or people who think both liberalism and conservatism have failed?

          After all, at least in some areas it is possible to vote for a genuine Democrat. How much better was turnout in MA-Sen 2012 than a normal Senate election in that state? They had Elizabeth Warren to vote for!

          Male, 23, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin)

          by fearlessfred14 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:11:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Generally non-voters are largely poorer (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HeyMikey

            than most. So if Dems were running a Democratic candidate -- using any of the issues which 60-80% polls say people want, like Jobs; like 'we're not talking about cutting back on the safety net, but increasing benefits'... well, there you go.

            There's the practical experience in California's last general election to back that.


            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:26:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I remember celebrating the 1992 election (2+ / 0-)

    before a winner had been announced because exit polls indicated such high turnout.  Don't think I'll celebrate again until US turnout at least matches that in the UK.

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 01:00:54 PM PST

  •  Let's not forget registration (1+ / 0-)

    I don't have the numbers on me, but typically, nearly 80% of registered voters vote in these elections.  Thus, it's quite possible that the best way to increase voting turnout is to increase registration, even if we don't get a perfectly proportional increase in voting.

    Republicans have tried to repeal the ACA 42 times now, knowing it would fail. That means we have a party full of people who don't learn from repeating the same mistake 42 times.

    by nominalize on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 02:19:45 PM PST

  •  Uh, check the 1992 election. (0+ / 0-)

    Ross Perot got 5% of the vote, as a third party, your figures don't account for this.  

  •  I have some problems with the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    methodology, there is an implied assumption that while people are of voting age they are not voting voluntarily. What percentage of black people legally of voting age and theoretically eligible to vote were actually able to vote due to Jim Crow laws? The lack of mention of the voting rights act and the impact on voting is not mentioned. The numbers need to be further disaggregated to draw more serious conclusion checking on race, gender and class and to see differences over time to draw more trenchant conclusions.  There is a lack of history and its implications in a study of history. So, before any conclusions are drawn, there are serious things that need to be drawn.

    Wrt Britain, in a first past the post system, the Greens have only managed to get one MP, Caroline Lucas; I like her a lot, but breaking into the British system is difficult.  The author does not understand the system in Britain; even if everyone eligible to vote actually did vote, would it have made a difference voting for Labour and the LibDems? Members of Parliament are elected by a first past the post system tied to different areas; even if everyone in every London area came out and voted Labour (and that won't happen as there are Tory seats in London), that probably would not have affected the outcome. It may have influenced the swing seats in areas split between Tories and Labour and between the LibDems and Tories. The Greens have strength in a few areas. The point being that yes, a Labour-LibDem coalition would have been better for many reasons, but is the problem the non-voters or the fact that the 3 main parties all hold a neoliberal perspective and hence offer variations on the same thing? Why would people vote for any of them?

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 05:05:59 PM PST

  •  small aside...state by state non voters vary (0+ / 0-)

    widely of course. US in 2012 had only 53. 6 percent voter turnout, as mentioned in the diary. So percent of non-voter was pretty hefty nationally.

    But MA for example had 72% voter turnout in 2012 (a record). I guess they wanted to be sure Romney wasn't elected after their experience with him as Governor. So non-voter percentage of the total is only 28% if I am calculating correctly.

    In the case of MA in the last election, both the Obama and Romney out polled non-voters it would seem.

    A good thing, and something to be proud of.

  •  Names spell check: Humphrey and Landon... not (1+ / 0-)

    Humphreys and Langdon

    very interesting diary besides this...

    The future with smart phones and more local awareness and involvement could change democracy locally and then from there change participation at every level.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 03:07:54 AM PST

  •  Someone mentioned that presidential years always (0+ / 0-)

    … have higher turnout than off-year federal elections.

    Which was the last off-year House of Representatives to outpoll non-voters, I wonder?

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 03:40:26 AM PST

  •  Orwell explains non-voting. (0+ / 0-)
    In the face of terrifying dangers and golden political opportunities, people just keep on keeping on, in a sort of twilight sleep in which they are conscious of nothing except the daily round of work, family life, darts at the pub, exercising the dog, mowing the lawn, bringing home the beer, etc.

    --George Orwell

    Or as Pogo said: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:57:37 AM PST

  •  Great Diary! (1+ / 0-)

    Mind-bending statistics.

    Where is everybody?

    "... all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." --Mark 11:24

    by november3rd on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 08:59:19 AM PST

  •  "He should vote for the Greens???" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radmul

    A lot of people clearly don't listen to what Brand is actually saying.  

    Brand wants a social revolution.  He is not interested in pretending to tinker at the margins of the existing oligarchy with the futile exercise of voting for politically irrelevant entities like the Green Party in England.  

    And it's hard to fault him for believing that.

  •  this wasn't an accident (6+ / 2-)

    The reasons for this and the statistics about who continued to vote, and who dropped out, are covered in detail in Piven and Cloward's remarkable book: "Why Americans Don't Vote".  From one of their papers:

    "at the beginning of the twentieth century, a series of changes in American electoral arrangements—such as the reintroduction of literacy tests and poll taxes, the invention of cumbersome voter registration requirements, and the subsequent withering of party efforts to mobilize those who were confronted by these barriers— sharply reduced voting by the northern immigrant working class and virtually eliminated voting by blacks and poor whites in the South. By World War I, turnout rates had fallen to half the eligible electorate and, despite some rises and dips, they have never recovered.
    The purging of lower-strata voters from the electorate occurred at precisely that time in our history when the possibilities of democratic electoral politics had begun to enlarge. Indeed, we think it occurred because the possibilities of popular influence were expanding."
    http://www.kropfpolisci.com/...

    Prior to this, during the entire 19th century, turnout rates were typically above 85%.

  •  There is one way to make elections (0+ / 0-)

    reflect the best "consensus" of the people, rather than who got the most "soldiers" to the polls, and reduce the influence of fanatical voters in primaries.  Instant runoff, also known as ranked preference voting, in races with three or more candidates (with "none of the above" automatically added).  In the theoretically four-way 2000 presidential election, Nader voters who would rather have settled for Gore than Bush would have been able to vote: (Nader, Gore, none), and Buchanan voters who wanted to try to keep Gore out of office could have voted (Buchanan, Bush, none), while true Dems could have voted (Gore, Gore, Gore) and true GOPs (Bush, Bush, Bush).

    Knowing that either Bush or Gore would actually WIN the election, Nader voters could have expressed their true preference without risking that their votes would (and did) help their least favorite, Bush, to win, because after counting the first choice votes,  the votes for the least popular candidates would be replaced by their second choices.  The process would be repeated until only two candidates were left.

    I'm not sure what should be done if "none of the above" came out with a plurality.  Some offices could be left unfilled until a totally different field of candidates could be nominated for a special election.  Others have to be filled (Presidential Electors for a state HAVE TO BE named in a limited time period) regardless of the number of "none of the above" votes.

  •  Russell Brand copout (0+ / 0-)

    I agree, LEFT--not voting is just a copout. Interestingly, there were some here at Kos defending Brand's statement in another diary discussing that interview! I had pointed out then some reasons to deplore Brand's illogical stance. The thing is, I kind of like Brand, and other than that unfortunate position he aired, we share very similar views.

  •  18-year-olds began voting in 1972 (0+ / 0-)

    In 1972 the voting age dropped from 21 to 18, which is partly why the non-voters jumped from 38 or 39 percent to 45 or 46 percent between '64-'68 and '72-'76. You note the point at which women's suffrage occurs; it might be useful to note the voting age change at that point.

    This is a fascinating presentation of the data. Thank you for researching it and putting it together.

    We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

    by dconrad on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 03:33:04 PM PST

  •  One thing Brand would have been keenly aware of: (0+ / 0-)
    If Brand was disgusted with the Labour Party after Tony Blair hollowed it out...
    For a good synopsis of the Rupert Murdoch scandal and how it played out in England, watch this Frontline coverage. It reveals how Murdoch and his media empire held sway over not just the Tory Party, but the Labour Party and even the Met Police.

    As already posted here before, I think Brand's not voting is a copout, but the scandal referenced helps explain some of the reasons for voter disgust.

  •  Pretty sad that during my lifetime, there were... (0+ / 0-)

    three Presidential elections where most of the voting age population didn't even vote! No wonder we get the clowns we do if one must go back to TR!

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