As you look across the spectrum of voters this election and how the states will line up, it seems nothing ever really changes. Blue states are blue states and red states stay red. Occasionally you have toss up, and then the swing states are at times unpredictable, but even within those states, the districts remain the same. What drives the final decision becomes more about turnout in those areas than any philosophical changing of hearts.
Ten states have straight ticket voting that makes researching candidates and policy obsolete. All you need to do is walk in on election day and mark either Republican or Democrat and you’re all done. So because you’ve always done it that way, or momma told you how to vote, you just pull the lever.
Straight ticket voting while limited to ten states is practiced in all fifty. Voters walk into a booth and simply look for R or D and check the box. Then when it comes to things like amendments and other referendums they just guess. Being uninformed is the commonality between a majority of all voters in the US.
When I ran a few years ago for a city council seat, the question I got asked more than any other was “are you a Republican or Democrat?” They didn’t want to know about the policy, or long-term planning the only qualification they needed was political affiliation. The reason they had to ask that question was that in the town I ran in, all local elections were non-partisan. The other reaction was getting the door slammed in my face because they didn’t want to be bothered with the future of their fair city. Voter turnout ended up being abysmal, partially because of a tropical storm but mostly because nobody gave a shit, and I lost by 92 votes.
If an election isn’t sexy, people won’t show up. And when they do show up it’s to cast a mostly uninformed vote, based on the colors red or blue and not on the policy and platform of the candidates. This year’s election is not any different. Trump has just managed to drag out more uninformed voters than normally vote in the primaries.
As I write this article, the Trump campaign is imploding because of a tape that was released of Donald Trump using sexist, misogynistic and incredibly creepy language. Still, we don’t know how badly it will impact his campaign. A Presidential candidate using language, on tape, that would make a local dog catcher candidate unelectable, may not have that much negative effect on his campaign.
That speaks volumes to not only the candidate but the electorate.
In 1984 the United States had a split ticket voting percentage of almost 44%. By 2012 that number had plummeted to less than 6%. That means that the work of the two major parties to demonize each other has worked masterfully. It’s also successfully led to gridlock in Washington, a divided nation, and the potential of a reality star becoming president.
We can blame where we are on the politicians, and we can blame it on the media. However who we should be blaming is ourselves. Because we have been led to the slaughter house by our own stupidity. Now stubbornness is making us ignore the fact that we are being ground into hamburger.
It’s time to take back our responsibility.
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