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Sweeping landslides of indifference

From Jim Hightower’s book, If the Gods had meant us to vote, they would have given us candidates:

In 1994, the year of the Republicans’ “Big Sweep,” 22% of eligible voters voted Republican and 19% voted for Democrats. In 1998, they reported a “Democratic Party Comeback” when the Republicans dropped to 18% of eligible voters voting for them, and the Democrats got 17%, also a drop. What this tells us is that, by disdaining both parties, the effective “None-of-the-above” vote increased from 58% in 1994 to 64% in 1998. Now that’s a sweep.

Need another example? In 1998, George W. Bush was re-elected Governor of Texas by what the Media called a “breathtaking landslide.” Unmentioned by the media was the fact that only 26% of the eligible voters in Texas had even bothered to vote, the smallest turnout in the nation. Bush had managed to get only about 16% of the eligible voters to vote for him.

WEhen you compare this 26% turnout to the 60% turnout in the Minnesota election, only one conclusion seems reasonable. Candidates from both major parties have nothing to offer to the average voter. Even more frightening is the fact that the two major parties want it that way. Party candidates are beholden to their big donors, and the issues that are important to these big donors are not of interest to the average voter, so a great part of most campaigns is designed to keep us away from the polls.

Unfortunately for the country, but fortunately for these moneyed supporters of the politicians, this lack of interest on our part generally results in a choice between Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee.

Although written in 2001, I am finding this book enjoyable and insightful. And inspiring.

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