Sun
Aug 6 2017
04:53 am

Less than 20% of the US population voted to elect Trump.

That's not a mandate. It's not a majority. Hell, it's barely an angry mob.

We can do better.

About 250 million people are eligible to vote. About 200 million are registered. About 129 million voted.

That means that about 52% of the eligible population participated in the election, and less than half of those people decided it. And look what we got.

We can do better.

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bizgrrl's picture

Yes we can.

Yes we can. It's exhausting sometimes getting people to understand the importance of voting, much less getting them to understand the issues.

R. Neal's picture

It's even worse for state and

It's even worse for state and local elections.

City of Knoxville election turnout has hovered around 5%. And that's registered voters. A lot of eligible voters aren't registered. Part of the problem is that non-partisan city elections are in off years between county, state and federal elections. Not sure if that's a blessing or a curse, but it definitely affects turnout.

County elections aren't much better. 15% to 20%? And those elections include state legislators, U.S. House, and every four years a mid-term governor's election.

Everybody's focused on the presidential election, but nobody seems to realize the president isn't going to fix the potholes on the street in front of your house or send a fire truck if you need it.

And state legislators do most of the actual damage. I'd bet the average person on the street couldn't tell you who their state rep or senator is.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Cliff Rodgers

jbr's picture

I think the "Come out and

I think the "Come out and vote" sessions were outstanding. Excellent by everyone involved.

I believe a k-12 voting in election program, that is part of the curriculum needs to be developed and implemented in all schools. It would be county, city, state and nation changing.

R. Neal's picture

Excellent. Thanks!

Excellent. Thanks!

Somebody's picture

We can do better, but I don't

We can do better, but I don't think it's as easy as thinking if we'd had higher overall voter turnout the results would have been different. If you think of election day as one big opinion poll, you then have a sample size that's 52% of the eligible voter pool. Thinking of it that way, your margin of error is going to be pretty small, so the idea that the outcome would be any different is probably not correct.

You could try to make an argument that the non-voters represent some sort of cohesive bloc that holds opinions somehow significantly different from those who do turn up, but you'd have to show your work to prove it. Otherwise, we have to default to the 52% sample size.

So that means increasing voter turnout has to be a partisan exercise, motivating only some of the voters to turn out, in order to tip the scales. Or, you could try the Republican tactic and work to suppress your opponent's voters and actually lower voter turnout in order to tip the scales. Either way.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

You could try to make an argument that the non-voters represent some sort of cohesive bloc that holds opinions somehow significantly different from those who do turn up, but you'd have to show your work to prove it. Otherwise, we have to default to the 52% sample size.

What you're glossing over is that between the two parties, it was primarily Democratic voters who didn't show up at the polls in 2016. And yes, as all the media were reporting immediately after the election, they stayed home because they were a "cohesive bloc" that held an opinion contrary to that of the Democrats who showed up.

For example, Clinton pulled 300,000 fewer votes in just Michigan than Obama did four years earlier, but Trump pulled just 10,000 more votes there than Romney did--and that pattern was repeated in other states, too.

Stay at home Dems handed the election to Trump, so this "sample" of just those who voted really isn't one.

Forbes (November 17, 2016): The Non-Voters Who Decided The Election: Trump Won Because Of Lower Democratic Turnout

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