Monday, February 24, 2020

The REAL Voter Suppression

Regarding the Nevada primaries/caucuses:

Nevada has almost 611,000 registered Democrats. Final results will show fewer than 36,000 votes for Sanders. That means for every vote Sanders won there were 16 Democrats who choose someone else—or no one at all.

Is this because of the caucus v. primary system?  I understand Nevada had early voting, which seems to be antithetical to a caucus system, but then again, final results from Nevada haven't been announced yet.  Last I saw, only 63% of the vote had been reported; which doesn't mean Bernie didn't win, but it does mean the count goes on, even as attention shifts to Super Tuesday (and belatedly to Texas.  Voting here started last week.  I don't watch much broadcast TV, but even I couldn't avoid the Bernie and Bloomberg and Steyer ads yesterday.  Of course, I'd already voted....).

Or is it because the real voter suppression (not discounting the very real efforts of Republicans to choose who can vote and who can't) is voter apathy.  Then again maybe this is irrelevant, since most people can't be bothered to vote in primaries.  But that's another problem, isn't it?  That's how we got Trump and now Bernie already anointed.  Then again, that's how we got Dukakis and Gore and Kerry and Clinton, too.  As well as Bill and Obama; as a percentages game, we're not doing well.

What we do know is that a tiny fraction of registered voters could determine who faces Trump. And we now know that there is not much enthusiasm for Sanders in Nevada, a state that is more like America as a whole than either New Hampshire or Iowa, the first caucus state.

Trump won despite only 46% of actual voters favoring him. Trump brags about his not quite 63 million votes, but Hillary Clinton got close to 66 million votes. Add in minor candidates and 74 million Americans voted against Trump.

The big question is whether Trump fatigue weighs so heavily on America that the November election will be determined not by the American people, but by tiny minorities in picking the Democratic Party candidate. Even if Sanders founders in the next few primaries, a minority of Democrats will decide.

And what happens if the vast majority stay home on Nov. 3?

In the end, our government is the result not of what the American people want, but of who votes. Turnout first. Turnout last. Turnout is all that matters.

Ask yourself what it means that in the Nevada Democratic primary the real vote was 9% care and 91% couldn’t be bothered.

I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that we should be actively discussing this. And we should do so not from wishes or fears, but from thoughtful concern about the future, we will soon choose for our nation.
The opening tweet is meant to be ironic.  Rick Wilson, who derides any campaigning that is not directly aimed at attacking Donald Trump, retweeted it.  I'm not sure about the message "don't vote," though.  I agree the parties are failing to produce fit candidates for office, but I don't think I'm "endorsing their failures" with my vote.  Rather, I'm choosing the lesser of evils, which is all the parties ever really offer.  My vote is not so holy it must not be sullied by candidates unworthy of me and my franchise.  We have few enough people participating in democracy as it is.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't some number of cycles before the idea of a primary overcomes the discouraging habits of thought you get from having a caucus system. It takes time to overcome bad habits, among the electorate as among individuals. Maine is in the overly long process of moving from a caucus to a primary. We've got both this time, hopefully we'll only have the one by next time.