Too Many People Don’t Vote!
Of all the statistics one can glean from exit polls and from the voting statistics stemming from this election, probably the most alarming is the fact that around 90 million people in this country who are eligible to vote don’t vote. That’s more than 27 times the average popular vote difference in the last 5 presidential elections, and over 148 times the average popular vote difference in 2000 and 2016 [the two closest races in that time period]. Of those, 13 million don’t even bother to REGISTER to vote. That’s more than 4 times the average popular vote difference in the last 5 presidential elections, and over 20 times the average popular vote difference in 2000 and 2016.
Just think about those numbers for a moment. The people who don’t even vote could literally seize control of America if they could do three things very well in the year or so leading up to a presidential election: 1) develop a common cause [or a small, easy-to-communicate set of causes] around which they could rally themselves and either an Extreme Left or an Extreme Right “base”; 2) put together an effective Social Media campaign strategy [which would require only a fraction of the money traditional campaigns spend on media advertising]; and 3) execute that strategy as effectively as the Trump campaign just did and the Sanders campaign almost did.
In a way, that’s encouraging, and in another way, it’s scary. It’s encouraging because, as the Trump campaign just demonstrated [and as the campaign that defeated Senator Eric Cantor did in 2014, and as the Sanders campaign almost did this year], there is clearly a paradigm shift underway, and traditional views of what wins elections no longer “rule”. It’s scary because how the 90 million non-voters think, and what causes they might develop to rally around, is a huge unknown — i.e., other than demographic information [age, sex, race, marital status, etc.], there are no election statistics, exit polls, etc., to give any insight into who they are and how they think, and assuming that they could simply be lumped into “buckets” based on demographics alone would be a very risky basis for making predictions.
Something that would be most interesting to know, but which is probably impossible to accurately measure, is the percentage of the people involved in all the demonstrations going on who actually voted in this election. If most of them voted and they’re just frustrated because they lost or elated because they won, I guess demonstrations are fine as long as they don’t turn violent [as some have] — and as long as they don’t simply throw back to Trump supporters or Clinton supporters the same kind of hate speech that both of these candidates used in their campaigns [which at this point is totally unproductive and even counterproductive]. But if they didn’t vote and they’re involved in demonstrations, shame on them! I’ve quoted President Garfield before, but what he said is wise counsel to anybody who is demonstrating but didn’t vote: “The people are responsible for the character of their [leaders]. If [they] be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If [they] be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities [in the people who] represent them”. In other words, “they” didn’t bring this situation about; you did!
People considering running for office in the future, as well as those now in office and having a desire to remain there, would be wise to take the dynamic I’m referring to here into account as they continue in their current roles and/or aspire to other roles.
Moving on to a different and more currently significant subject. …
In looking at key appointments Mr. Trump is already making, I am even more encouraged that he is a man who will ultimately overcome the negative impressions many people have of him and rise to the challenges of the office. Some of his appointments are “establishment” people — a recognition on his part that although he campaigned as — and in large part was elected because he is — an “outsider”, he will need more “political savvy” than he personally has to be successful. I believe he is a man who has keen insight into “goings on”, and that this insight, maybe even intuition, gives him a unique ability to “know what he doesn’t know” and fill in the gaps with people who do know those things.
Our President Elect has two other qualities which I believe, when combined with that mentioned in the preceding paragraph, will make him a successful President. He is a proven leader and decision-maker, something that has been grossly missing during the current administration. Also, he clearly has a love for his country and thinks of it as exceptional. Whether he will be as good a President as I believe he has the capacity to be remains to be seen, but at this point, I am encouraged, and will pray to that end.
Charles M. Jones