Today, Gallup reports that voter turnout is going to fall short of the share of eligible voters who turned out for the 2004 and 2008 elections. The direct question is, is American democracy in crisis?
In Canada, we do have evidence of how this paradox turns out. In the Ontario elections, just last year, the current Liberal government retained its mandate, but only 49% of eligible voters went to the polls. Essentially, a minority spoke while the majority just didn’t care. Is that the case with America?
Considering that 57% came out in 2004, and 58% in 2008, then the drop in turnout will be close to, or below the halfway mark.
Regardless of who wins the election, this is a signal that the American public is tired of Washington. The economic recession has been happening for 5 years now, and no respite is in sight any time soon. Indicative is Angela Merkel’s warning that the next 5 years are going to be just as grim in Europe – coming from her, it’s something of which we should take note.
Despite the propaganda campaigns on both sides about how bright the future is going to be, we hear this song every 4 years and it is tiring. Time to flip the LP, or as most are likely going to do, just turn it off.
That, however, does not change the paradox that potentially a minority of voters are going to speak out. It is a symptom of the utter exhaustion with the status quo ... accepting mediocrity as the best option, because there is nothing else.
I won’t say we are apathetic, but we are exhausted.