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.
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.