Election Lost, Not Won

The Republicans or Tea Party did not win the last election. It was lost by those eligible who did not vote. The U.S. has been constantly shrinking in percentages of eligible voters who do not vote — particularly these days younger Americans. The figures posted at the conclusion of this report tell the story — and contrasts with comparable nations though 1995. Things have gotten worse since. People simply do not see their votes as making a difference in outcomes.

As I have repeatedly reported, our nation is in bad shape. We do not pay sufficient taxes to meet our commitments. I fear for those increasing numbers of hungry — millions of children– and those losing their homes. Older people cannot get jobs and yet the Republicans talk of raising the age for eligibility for social security, if not destroying it as a system of support for those retired. As one who did physical labor summers as a student and had former workers injured on their jobs in my Brooklyn classes, I cringe at such policies.

In my recent postings by Ted Honderich he pondered the whys of lack of care for all members of a nation — we can add the global disasters such as Haiti as well.

The upshot is that anyone who does not vote is not living in a democracy. We shall see the outcome of this election soon. Will it wake some non voters up? And I hope we do not destroy Obama’s medical reforms. Already each year about 145,000 Americans die needlessly because they can not afford medical care — speaking of killing off the elderly, which may be part of the conservative strategy. Unfortunately about as many children as adults are dying for this reason.

I cringe at what I see our nation becoming.



Turnout in national lower house elections, 1960–1995 Country↓ Compulsory↓ №↓ Turnout↓
Australia Y 14 95%
Malta N 6 94%
Chile Y 2 93%†
Austria N 9 92%
Belgium Y 12 91%
Italy N 9 90%
Luxembourg N 7 90%
Iceland N 10 89%
New Zealand N 12 88%
Denmark N 14 87%
Germany N 9 86%
Sweden N 14 86%
Greece Y 10 86%
Venezuela N* 7 85%
Czech Republic N 2 85%
Brazil Y 3 83%
Netherlands N** 7 83%
Costa Rica N 8 81%
Norway N 9 81%
Romania N 2 81%
Bulgaria N 2 80%
Israel N 9 80%
Portugal N 9 79%
Finland N 10 78%
Canada N 11 76%
France N 9 76%
United Kingdom N 9 76%
South Korea N 11 75%
Ireland N 11 74%
Spain N 6 73%
Japan N 12 71%
Estonia N 2 69%
Hungary N 2 66%
Russia N 2 61%
India N 6 58%
United States N 9 54%***
Switzerland N 8 54%
Poland N 2 51%
*Compulsory voting until 1998
**Excludes pre-1968 elections, when voting was compulsory.
***Only Congressional elections held the same year as presidential ones.
Turnout rates for off-year elections are approximately 10–15 percentage points lower than the general election immediately preceding it.
Statistics from Mark N. Franklin’s “Electoral Participation”, found in Controversies in Voting Behavior (2001). Includes only “free” elections.
†Excludes pre-1989 elections. Sources: Electoral Service, Election Qualifying Court

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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