Low Voter Turnout Is By Design
We have entered the terminal stage of the 2020 Presidential election.
Now is when the game gets played in earnest. The victim-blaming game, that is. I’m not just talking about victims of sexual assault, who are being betrayed en masse by former #MeToo advocates who have now decided believing women is too politically costly. I’m also talking about blaming the victims of our electoral system, the people so alienated by mainstream, moneyed politics they cannot engage in it, who will nonetheless get blamed for their own exclusion and disenfranchisement.
From here on out, non-voters are going to be relentlessly shamed for being thoughtless, selfish, lazy children. Talk of reforming the electoral college or overturning our oligarchy altogether will be silenced, in favor of mocking young people who have never voted before, and progressives who refuse to endorse a rapist with a track record of supporting mass incarceration. The most marginalized among us will be held responsible for the fundamental injustices of our electoral system.
Non-voters make for an easy punching bag. They’re a silent majority onto which a person can project all kinds of nefarious motives and ignorant points-of-view. People claim that they’re totally apathetic, and yet also too obsessed with political purity to hold their nose and vote for a flawed candidate. Non-voters are seen as both uninformed ignoramuses, and elitist, theory-obsessed communists who don’t live in the real world. They’re lazy conformists, but they’re also single-handedly responsible for the destruction of the country.
None of this makes sense, of course, but it sure feels satisfying to believe. When you’re feeling despondent and powerless, it’s nice to have someone to sanctimoniously punch down at. It’s comforting to believe the root of our political problems is that there’s a large collective of amoral, lazy saps who need to be scolded into taking action. It’s far more horrifying to admit that we are all being manipulated and exploited by a system that undermines Black and brown voters, young people, disabled people, and the poor, and that sometimes people decide giving up on a losing game is the only move that…