Although I’m shamelessly steeling this, in a way, from William Shakespeare, I will agree with you that this title is not so positive, and I promised only positive messages on this Blog. But sometimes you have to tackle the negatives to eventually wind up with a positive, after all that’s life in many ways, right … you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet…or to make my math teachers happy; a negative times a negative equals a positive. 😊
Well, the title of the next two weeks blogs, part one and two, are in reference to this past election and why the results aren’t so positive, regardless of which party you support. I’m not supporting or demeaning any candidate because my true faith and trust is in God, not in humans, but I am concerned about the process and the path of our country. I say this because there are very few things more beautiful than a rose and thus there are very few governments in this world, more beautiful, due to its’ design and structure, than ours – so both are, or should be beautiful. But I am concerned the rose is withering a bit and I don’t want to see either a rose, nor our country, wane from those gorgeous newly blooming petals, because the sight of either withering, truly stinks!!!
Yesterday, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, was inaugurated as the United States’ 46th President. As with every inauguration, it is certainly a historic day. But our country has been in turmoil ever since this election and I’m sure Covid-19, and social justice issues, didn’t help this feeling of craziness and utter weirdness. So, I want to revisit why this whole process seems so backwards and far beneath the capabilities of the greatest country on earth. As I posted, back in November (Why is Voting Such a Challenge - Another Crazy Election), I feel there is absolutely no reason why our elections need to be so messed up.
First off, many people will say it’s the electoral college because it rewards the big population centers or cities, and seems to ignore the remainder of the US population. While a healthy debate on this topic is certainly welcome, there is some question, based on the data, as to whether or not this is the, or at least a, root cause. However, I believe the data points more to the following, none of which is directly related to the electoral college:
1. Lack of commitment and/or integrity to use our technology
2. Strong arm politics versus statesmanship
3. Need for a tweak to the roles of the Fed versus the States
4. Finally, the apathy of our citizens.
We addressed #1; the use of technology and touched on #3; the roles of the Fed versus the State, in our blog in November: Why is Voting Such a Challenge - Another Crazy Election
So, let’s address the other two reasons by taking a look at some statistics and you can decide what you think. We don’t have 2020 Census data yet so we’ll rely on the elections of 2018 and 2016 as representative numbers even though we know this past election yielded the largest turn out in 120 years.
2016 was a presidential election, and thus certainly more representative than 2018, even though the two years have several similarities. In 2016:
· 157.6M US Citizens were registered to vote – 70.3% of the voting population.
· 32.6M were not registered to vote – 14.6%
· 33.8M did not respond to registration opportunities – 15.1%
· 137.5M actually voted – 61.4%
· 53.8M were registered but did not vote – 24%
· 32.6M did not respond to the voting opportunity – 14.6%.
In 2018, the percentage ranges were nearly identical. However here are some other pertinent statistics:
· 114.2M US Citizens voted – 49%,
· As tends to be the norm, the lowest voter turnout was in Arizona district 7 = 29%
· Also, seemingly the norm, the highest turnout was Minnesota district 3 =70%
· However, when you check the notes assigned to these numbers, it truly goes to support my position that we have real problems with our elections. Here are those notes for the 2018 election alone:
* NOTES: Congressional districts 10, 14, 21, and 24 in Florida and district 9 in North Carolina did not report vote totals. In Florida, state law prohibits candidates without an opponent from having their name printed on the ballot. In North Carolina, the state’s Board of Elections ordered a new election in February of 2019.
In 2020, what we do know is this: 159,633,396 Citizens voted. That’s the largest total voter turnout in U.S. history and the first time more than 140 million people voted. Voter turnout in 2020 was the highest in 120 years, and when measured as a percentage of the voting-eligible population: 66.7 percent. You have to go back all the way to 1900 to find a higher percentage turnout (73.7 percent). The election of 1876 holds the record for highest turnout: 82.6 percent.
Based on these numbers, reasons #2 and #4 are clearly in play: #2 Strong arm politics versus statesmanship and #4, the apathy of our citizens. For #2: 2020 saw roughly 20M – 5% more votes than the previous Presidential election and these votes were driven and recruited through the nasty political wrangling, from both parties, that occurred over the past Presidential term, and in the drive to recruit new voters to this election.
@ More on Item #2 and The role of government is the primary topic in next week’s Part Two of this blog.
For point #4: Apathy has been and will continue to be a challenge until we can prove ease and accuracy in our elections, and show a government that truly cares about its constituents. As the numbers show, 33.3% of our citizens didn’t vote in 2020, the most hotly contested election in 120 years – really 33.3%, that’s roughly 79.2M citizens - I’m sorry but that is disappointing to me. If you look at the 2016 and 2018 numbers, the percentage and number of people who did not vote is far worse: 2018 = 51% and in 2016 = 38.6%, did not vote which equates to an average of 107.1M people per election. Let’s not forget that the 2016 numbers show, on average, that we have about 60M-66M citizens who don’t even register to vote. ☹ ☹
Even though I listed it as the #4 reason, I feel voter or citizen apathy towards the government is clearly the top reason for election woes. The largest surveys of the American people, ever taken, show the country has nearly always been conservative and the majority of the respondents were still conservative even in the years the liberal parties have won the major elections. Like me, this prompts most people to ponder how this can be. Well, I think it’s quite simple; there is no party that is TRULY conservative, TRULY liberal, or TRULY moderate!
We often associate these core philosophies with certain parties but I believe such association is not accurate. The Republics claim they are conservative but a simple check into their strategies and philosophy’s shows that more than half of the party is far more moderate than a true conservative would be. This is also true of the Democrats who proclaim to be liberal while the vast majority are more moderate than a true liberal. Quite honestly, a true conservative should be more aligned with the libertarians, however I don’t feel that most want to align with a party where they feel victory is not achievable and where their vote would be wasted. To see an example of this, one only needs to look back at the election of 1992. Presidential Independent candidate Ross Perot pulled 18.97% of the vote, mostly equally divided from Republicans and Democrats. But of the Republicans voting for Perot, 70% shifted from George W. Bush to Perot because of Bush’s tax increase. The result then swung the election for the Democrats putting Bill Clinton into office. Further evidence, in the statistics from every election, shows this lack of party loyalty amongst conservatives, liberals, and moderates, in that roughly 10-30% of the citizens who vote, cross party lines, in nearly every election.
@Thus, a conclusion can be drawn that political parties are not true to their constituents, nor do they truly mirror any philosophical view, and thus should be outlawed. We will discuss outlawing political parties in PART II, of this blog, next week.
Another component of citizen apathy is the actual active role a citizen plays in their country’s democracy. The statistics show that many play no role nor do they even make an effort to exercise their civil duty of participating and/or electing their own representatives. Let’s add some context to this statement. According to a Congressional Research Report: The duties carried out by a Member of Congress are understood to include representation, legislation, and constituent service and education, as well as political and electoral activities. Also noted in a House of Representatives guide, created by the House Historian: Members are elected to the House to represent the constituents of their congressional district in the federal government, and to attend to their particular needs. To this end, Representatives and their staff devote individual attention to requests from people of the district. I make these points because it not only defines the role of congress, but it also clearly points out that we citizens have a responsibility here as well.
We are the People and the Constituents. Per Merriam-Webster: A constituent is one who authorizes another to act as agent, or the Principal who is one who engages another to act as an agent subject to general control and instruction…specifically: the person from whom an agent's authority derives
Per Dictionary.com: A constituent is a person who authorizes another to act in his or her behalf, as a voter in a district represented by an elected official.
Per Vocabulary.com: Constituent means part of a whole. The word comes up often in political contexts: constituents are the people politicians have been elected to represent. Elected officials should stay in touch with the needs of their constituents.
To understand constituent, look at constitute, which means "to make up." The words share the Latin root constituentem, meaning "to compose," as in a part that makes up a larger whole. A politician's electorate is made of individual constituent voters.
There should be no doubt that the key drivers of adherence to our constitution are the constitution’s constituents.
Based on these definitions, it is not only our civic responsibility, it’s an obligation, and I would argue the entire constitutional process becomes fallible when we don’t do our part and vote. Our vote, and our voice, is essential for a democracy to stand. We have the greatest country in the world and the greatest capability, but for our voices to matter and then be heard, we have to first speak at the ballot boxes.
To recap and generally address the four reasons I cite:
1. Lack of commitment and/or integrity to use our technology: As mentioned in our November Blog (Why is Voting Such a Challenge - Another Crazy Election), we have the technology to clearly identify every legal citizen in the country and use technology, through mutli-authentication ID software, to assure every legal citizen gets one vote. With the money we normally spend on the presidential nomination conventions, we could pay for the software to make this happen and guarantee honest and factual results.
2. Strong arm politics versus statesmanship: We use political pressure and biased vote recruiting methods to influence one party/position or the other, and whomever does this the best usually wins. We need to outlaw or restrict political parties such that this cannot happen or cannot be effective; We’ll touch on this in PART II next week.
3. Need for a tweak to the roles of the Fed versus the States: As touched on in our November Blog, the Constitution puts the governance of voting into the states hands. Since the states have passed all sorts of varying, in some cases significantly different, legislation around their rules, we end up with significant variation and challenges. Perhaps it’s time for a 27th amendment to the Constitution to remove or better define, the States’ rights to define these election rules.
Personally, I believe this past election, and all the outrage that occurred, came simply from the fact that, due to COVID-19, bulk/massive mail-in ballots were allowed by several states, with again varying rules, and very few effective ways to assure all ballots were genuine and valid. However, when these mail-in ballot rules were being proposed, in the early months of Covid, this whole activity should have been challenged far more aggressively than what occurred. Was their tampering, I don’t think we’ll ever know. Is there evidence, I don’t know, but it’s important to point out that you can’t find what doesn’t exist, meaning there either wasn’t tampering to start with or if there was tampering the evidence has been destroyed. Not finding evidence does not prove or disprove anything, because in either scenario … you can’t find what does not exist.
4. Finally, the apathy of our citizens. We have clearly shown this is an issue – WAKE UP America and get involved – It TRULY does not take much time to make an informed decision, register, and vote.
I can honestly say, and I believe it is fair to say, that this whole process simply stinks. If any of our businesses operated like this, they would cease to make it and always fail. We are better, and far more capable, than this. But we have to pressure our leaders to truly do something and commit to fixing this process. We can either care, as responsible citizens looking to fulfill our civic responsibilities, by making true election reform a reality, by continuing to pressure our leaders until they reciprocate…or… we can mirror one third of our country and give up and not care. When I think about the decision to not care, I think about the young adults and the beautiful children in our country that soon, or generations from now, will suffer. I think historically about the many society’s that have failed and fallen, and the leaders that followed such failures, many of which the world had to go to war to defeat.
I want better for our country, we all do, and I think we all want it done in a fair and intelligent way, just like our founding fathers did when they put together our Constitution. But I fear our time is running out and we need to act very very soon, if not now. Write your congressperson and senator and tell them you’re fed up and we need a change – I will commit to doing so on at a routine repetitive frequency. I, like all of you, love the beautiful fragrance of freedom as well as the scent of the beautiful flowers and the gorgeous roses, which we have the freedom and capability to enjoy every moment, of every day. Or, we can follow suit with the 35-70 million citizens who don’t care enough to register to vote, or to actually vote. Not caring stinks…it truly stinks…So we need to start pushing our leaders for change … or … we choose to not care and add to the stink. I choose freedom and roses because the alternative would require a whole hell of a lot of deodorant.
Join us for PART II of this Blog next week.
As always, we welcome any comments, questions, or suggestions here in this Blog, or at https://godandourcountry.com