Politics

Half of the Country Did Nothing

November 9, 2016

47% of the U.S. did not participate at all in the “historic” 2016 election.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to drone on, but I am still going to harp on this FACT: 47% of the country DID NOT VOTE AT ALL. That’s embarrassing, as it always has been, but it’s also important. When you say we are a “divided country,” or “half of this country..” you are wrong. Anyone who says it, is wrong. Completely wrong. In fact, based on the popular vote, it means that less than 25% of this country voted for this outcome that will affect the entire globe.

I will tell you this, that 47% that did not engage at all, are not the rural voice. We know this from the red county turnouts. The vast majority of those who did not vote are progressive, if apathetic, or genuinely disinterested in the political bullshit. It’s about 75% of the non-voter are progressive.

When you see a map with Red vs. Blue on it, you are being tricked. That “blue state” had almost as many “red” voters, and that “red” state had almost as many “blue” voters in it. But it also had half as many again who are not represented at all. And they are not half and half.

This was my favorite tweet of the night, from the the fantastic Suzanne MacNeil, @esooze a wonderful woman from Canada.

This is the true Electoral Map

Countless think pieces will be written about repairing this divide with less than 25% of the country. But maybe, just maybe, we should pay attention the the whole HALF OF THIS COUNTRY that did not vote. Why not? What would move them? Should we make voting registration/voting compulsory (as it is in so many democracies)?

Granted, they should vote. They should have voted. It’s bullshit. And I know many of you will say, “Fuck ’em, they don’t get to bitch.” But guess what, they do have to pay taxes, serve in the military, etc. But they didn’t vote (even in this election) for a reason, and that number is not improving.

The point is, as the media tries to tell you what this election means and make sense of it, it is leaving out the story of half of the country.

The electorate is divided, the country is not. That’s why this feels so weird.

That’s why you personally don’t know many people who agree with the rhetoric that was just elected. This is also why President Obama has such a high approval rating, it’s not based on voters, it’s based on the citizens.

The vast majority in this country don’t hate POC, LGBT, and yes, they respect women. The vast majority are not racists. The vast majority do not believe in a stronger Russia or isolationist policies.

But the majority of voters won. that’s the deal. We must respect it. Especially if you are someone who intends to change it, and expect that result to be respected.

Now is the test. Was this all crass show to get those angry people to elect him, but he becomes pragmatic or even moderate? Will he change institutions and 240 years of a republic formed to prevent that very thing? OR is it fascism 2.0 as countless cases around the world show it might be?

In any event, those 47% will be affected too. Here’s hoping that we figure out a way to get them involved.

Because until we do, not you, nor I, have any definitive data of what “this country” believes in.

Just half of it.