BY VERN TURNER
First the lid: The Department of Sociology at the University of Florida has published a chart showing each state’s eligible voter numbers and their percentage of voter turnout. The state with the highest percentage of voter turnout in 2014 was Maine with 59.3%. Wisconsin followed with 56.9%, Minnesota with 51.3% and Louisiana rounded out the over-50 “crowd” with 51%.
The lowest percentage of eligible voter turnout was in Indiana at 28%, followed by Texas at 28.5%, Utah with 28.8% and Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee around 29%.
The national average was 36.6% of eligible voters doing their civic duty.
Statistics can be deceiving, however. Nationally and in Texas, there are around 30% of the eligible voters not even registered. That amounts to over 68 million Americans over the age of 18 who aren’t registered to vote. That’s almost as many people as live in Great Britain.
Just over 83 million Americans voted on Nov. 4 giving Republicans a seemingly huge mandate. Well, no …
Texas shows some typical numbers for the gap between winners and losers, with Greg Abbott defeating Wendy Davis by around 19%. But when you run the numbers against the overall population of eligible voters [16.7 million], only 16.7% of them picked Abbott. Three times more voters stayed home than voted for Greg Abbott. Only 24% of registered voters opted for Abbott.
If you looked at the “participation” against the total population, you’d see that the percentage of representation is much lower still. These data indicate why democracy doesn’t work as well as it should and how certain groups, like corporations and banks, can overly influence government.
While the Republicans crow about their overwhelming victory at the polls, any assumption that “the people have spoken” is ludicrous. Two-thirds of the people didn’t speak at all. You can’t get elected homecoming queen with only 36% of the student body voting.
It is important to note that progressive ballot initiatives won very big in red states. While “conservative” voters voted strongly for wage increases, gun background checks and even for recreational marijuana use, they still voted for Republicans for office. Even the bat crazy lady from Iowa will take her pig castration skills to the U.S. Senate. How’s that for grass roots, Democrats.
Yes, Democrats … Clearly their avoidance of Obama and progressive successes failed. Those Democrats who stood by the progressive agenda victories that the people wanted WON. Imagine that. They proved to honor their convictions and the people [the few and the brave] rewarded them with another term in office.
Alison Grimes’ refusal to say she voted for Obama was the low-point for Democrats. The DCCC, the DSCC and the DNC are clearly not listening to the people and are running cowardly candidates. They are either fundamentally incompetent at doing anything but raising money, or unaware of what the people will vote for.
There must soon be a major overhaul in those organizations if there is any hope for near-term progressive governments anywhere.
The people want higher wages, affordable health care, good schools, better and better-paid teachers, affordable college loans [Germany just opened up their colleges to the world – for free!] and a rebuilding of our crumbling infrastructure.
Republicans are against all of those things, yet here we are in November, 2014 looking at another two years of ineptitude in government at all levels.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.