Why People Didn't Vote

Two thirds of registered Texas voters didn't vote in the Nov 4 election. The turnout was 5% lower than it was in 2010. It is worth noting, too, that the "electorate" -- registered voters -- don't represent all eligible voters, because many are not registered at all. It is fair to say that the winners took immense state power with the express permission of less than 17% of Texas adults!

The richer people are, the more likely they are to vote. Those who were hoping to govern on behalf of the less-rich were extremely disappointed with the low turnout. They were hoping for 40% or more in this mid-term election.

But even in a hot presidential election year, we don't get much more than half the registered voters, which is probably less than half the eligible voters.


There are at least three good reasons:

Texas has the worst of the voter suppression laws, and the Supreme Court made sure that it was enforced on November 4th. Eventually, we will probably get some statistics on the numbers of people turned away at the polls, but we will never know how many discouraged people didn't even try to vote.
Negativity, including negative electoral campaigns, causes aversion. Both parties ran extremely negative campaigns saying "don't vote for the other guy" in 2014. The giant "super pacs" spend their unlimited dark money (thanks, again, to the Supreme Court) mostly on attack ads; consequently the campaigns are much more negative than the candidates could have created by themselves.

The biggest reason that people don't vote is that we are alienated from the processes that govern us. Even worse, we are alienated from one another, and consequently, from ourselves. Our culture and, specifically, our schools,  direct us to distrust one another. Competition, not cooperation, is the watchword throughout society. Those who drop out of competition tend toward apathy. The y don't compete, but they don't do much of anything else, either, as concerns their fellow beings.

This topic of generalized, pervasive alienation needs a much larger explanation. I'm working on that.

--Gene Lantz