Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Inspiration Is Hard To Come By

There are those who believe that the world is going to hell in an authoritarian hand basket. David Leonhardt suggests that they  -- and we -- should look at voter turnout numbers:

If liberals voted at the same rate as conservatives, Hillary Clinton would be president. Even with Donald Trump’s working-class appeal, Clinton could have swept Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

If liberals voted at the same rate as conservatives, Democrats would control the Senate. Clinton or Barack Obama could then have filled the recent Supreme Court vacancy, and that justice would hold the tiebreaking vote on campaign finance, labor unions and other issues.

If liberals voted at the same rate as conservatives, the country would be doing more to address the two defining issues of our time — climate change and stagnant middle-class living standards. Instead, Trump is making both worse.

Breaking down the numbers reveals why Donald Trump is president of the United States:

Polls show that a majority of Americans support progressive positions on most big issues. Yet Republicans dominate state and federal government.

Turnout is a big reason. Last year, Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 voted for Clinton over Trump in a landslide. Only 43 percent of citizens in that age group voted, however. By contrast, Americans over age 65 supported Trump — and 71 percent of them voted. Similarly, Americans in their 30s were more likely to support Clinton, and less likely to vote, than those in their 50s.

The pattern also exists across ethnic groups. Asian and Hispanic voters went for Clinton in a bigger landslide than millennials, but most Asian and Hispanic citizens didn’t vote.

And the gaps grow even larger in midterm elections. A mere 17 percent — 17 percent! — of Americans between 18 and 24 voted in 2014, compared with 59 percent of seniors.

So you may want to blame the young. Leonhardt suggests than rather than casting blame, progressives should inspire young voters: 

My instinct is that the answer for Democrats involves a passionate message of fairness — of providing jobs, lifting wages, protecting rights and fighting Trump’s plutocracy. It can be bolder than Democrats have been in decades. But it should not resemble a complete progressive wish list, which could turn off swing voters without even raising turnout.

Unfortunately, these days, inspiration is hard to come by. 

Image: quotesgram


thwap said...

US-Americans voted for "hope and change." They got continued war, bail-outs for Wall Street criminals, a Republican-inspired health-care bill, massive increases in inequality, and rising suicide rates and opoid addictions.

Bernie Sanders was inspiring hundreds of thousands with his message of economic justice, but the corporate media conspired to ignore him and the Democratic National Committee conspired to rig the primaries process for Wall Street servant and insane war-monger, Hillary Clinton.

It was Hillary's job to get people to want to vote for her. Not to guilt people into it or scare people into it.

A lot of US-Americans rightly find the entire process a sham and, while they can't think of anything positive to do (and neither can progressive activists) they've decided not to be participants in their own betrayal and exploitation.

Danneau said...

I am a senior citizen. I always vote. Invariably, I vote as far on the progressive side as I can. I'm also a lousy salesman, particularly for progressivism, mostly because it seems to sell itself and, mostly, I'm too polite to point out to people what blithering self-destructive idiots they are.

Dana said...

How many of those so called liberals didn't bother because their candidate's name wasn't on the ballot? How many of them didn't bother because their pet issue didn't get enough attention? How many because they didn't like their local candidate?

Remember Will Rogers saying? "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

It's truer today than it has ever before been. The cult of the individual is an infection throughout American society but in a political context its effect is much less pronounced among republicans than it is among democrats. The days of the yellow dog democrats are well and truly gone. Today that yellow dog would be subject to a myriad of purity tests from dozens of single issue groups who would each find a unique reason to not vote for that yellow dog. Republicans meanwhile happily elect week old road kill on a regular basis.

If avoiding having Trump elected as potus didn't get people off their asses I don't know what would.

Twenty-first century western liberals are a namby-pamby, scaredy-pants, convictionless bunch terrified of offending bigots, racists and ignorant fools.

As you know I've been thinking for a while now that the US is heading toward a second civil war.

The liberal side will not win it should it come. The liberal side will be obliterated.

Owen Gray said...

Like you, Danneau, I am a senior citizen. You would think that a progressive agenda would appeal to the young. The problem appears to be that the young believe that all politicians break their promises.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Dana, liberals keep insisting that their candidates pass purity tests, forgetting that politics has always been the art of the possible, not the art of achieving the ideal.

Owen Gray said...

Your analysis of the present state of American politics strikes me as pretty accurate, thwap.