There is a refrain which seems to have become sort of a mantra nowadays that voters are casting ballots out of “anger”. When asked what causes this reaction, various generalities are offered such as dissatisfaction with governmental policy, gridlock on legislation, dislike for the president, and one party has been able to advance their agenda at the perceived expense of the other party. I was watching the Republican debate which was held in the state of Michigan with the hope that a candidate would show a semblance of statesmanship by mentioning the crisis in nearby Flint, Michigan which is mired in an environmental catastrophe (
Flint water crisis). You would think all citizens would be outraged by this act of negligence and demand immediate action from responsible city leaders. Instead it has degenerated into political partisanship without thought to the well – being of the populace (GOP Senators holding up Flint aid deal@ The Hill). None of the candidates spoke about the situation – presumably to spare the Republican governor any more embarrassment which was disappointing. It is these type of actions, along with the continued vitriol and hyperbole that infuriate some in the electorate.
Another issue seldom discussed is the participation rate of voting – aged Americans in the electoral process. If non citizens and felons are eliminated from the overall voting census, a staggering 84.3% of U.S. citizens are eligible to vote yet only 53.6% participate in any election( http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/06/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries)
is a well known axiom that less voter turnout favors the Republican Party while more turnout benefits the Democrats. Herein lies the dilemma; as both political parties attempt to gain an advantage of a percentage of the voting sector, many people are left feeling outside the process. Add to that attempts at voter suppression, racial identity rhetoric, misleading advertisement, bombastic campaigning and other issues, it is no wonder people don’t believe in the process yet we as citizens are the ones who continue to suffer because of our inability to recognize that our right to vote was earned through blood and death in the name of freedom.
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