I don't need to tell any of you that the Internet and TV are both absolutely overflowing with both Left and Right-leaning individuals accusing one another of being the singular cause of the world's current problems.
In the 2016 American Presidential election, only 55% of Americans actually voted. This tells me, personally, that 45% of Americans, a percentage that far outweighs either Republicans or Democrats individually, were so disheartened, disinterested or disinclined regarding their choices that they chose to stay home.
What makes a person stay home? I think these are some of the more common reasons, some of which can be shared by any individual:
1) Lack of support for either of the Two Parties and/or their candidates, (basically a protest vote, which I believe doesn't exist in America - correct me if I'm wrong about that)
2) Lack of support for or protest against the current state of American "democracy"
3) Political apathy brought about by the assumption that the third-party candidate they like has no chance
4) Political apathy brought about by disgust, hopelessness or some other negative relationship with politics
5) Political apathy brought about by the belief that nothing ever changes for the little guy, so who cares about voting?
6) General indolence and disinterest
In my experience, some voters tend to be harshly critical of anyone who stays home, regardless of the reason. I often heard the argument growing up, "If you didn't vote, you have no right to complain!" I always questioned that, because - what if you didn't vote because you had a complaint about each choice presented to you? I think the only answer I ever got to that was, "Well, just vote for the least evil, then." I declined, and have not been a voter save the very first time I became old enough to vote (I'm also no longer allowed to vote in Canada because I'm an immigrant to another country, although I still wouldn't if I could). I recall at the time wanting to vote for the Communist Party, because I thought politics was a joke (still not sure if I was wrong), but wound up voting Green because there was no Communist candidate in my area to vote for. The Greens, of course, lost enormously.
Are all non-voters really just a bunch of pot-smoking adult-children hiding in their parents' basement, as the media and numerous talk people would have us believe? I don't personally think so. I actually think that the indolent, disinterested group is the smallest percent of those who don't vote. Personally, I'm willing to wager that the majority of those who don't vote fall into either the Protest or Apathy categories I listed above.
Those who protest have very valid points to make, as can be shown by numerous past elections and not just the colossal mess that was Clinton vs Trump, as well as numerous terrible world leaders currently in power. Modern democracy is a game wherein some rich people compete for power with the advice and financial backing of other rich people. Modern democracy is almost always a tug-of-war played between two dusty and prehistoric political parties that are too large for anyone else to dislodge. The ground the tug-of-war is played on? The lives of the people in that nation. If you're being trampled by a pair of tyrannosaurs, wouldn't you protest the entire situation?
The apathetic are easy targets for many, but I wonder if the wiser members of society might be among them. When you have seen no change in your personal life or feel that neither candidate deserves to be handed the reigns to a horse, let alone a country, it makes perfect sense to stay at home on election day. If you believe and accept that small numbers of people cannot effectively govern large populations, it makes sense not to cast a vote - especially since "Anarchy" will never be an option on any ballot.
And that, I think, leads me to a point I wish to make - all ballots should include an option stating: "I protest the available candidates" as well as another option stating: "I protest the current state of our government and believe it unlikely to change." If those options were offered and - this is important - tallied up and reported during elections, I think we'd get a much clearer picture of what Americans or whoever really think and feel. Making voting compulsory to non-invalids would also help ensure that accurate numbers come out (who knows - maybe 61% of Americans are actually Democrats?)
Anyway, I wounder whether or not either the Democratic or Republican supporters would be so confident in their rhetoric if they had a statistic indicating that 31% of all Americans protested the available candidates, with another 14% declaring the entire process a sham?
Low-level commentary briefly touches on the lack of voter turnout, but no one seems to dwell very long on what that actually means.
Also worth mentioning is that only half of millennials voted, meaning half of them either protest both candidates, are apathetic or just plain lazy. 55% of millennials voted for Clinton, so all we can know for sure is that a quarter of millennials are actually left-leaning "libtards" as the Internet likes to call them. Considering that all millennials tend to get lumped into that category by default, the numbers show faulty thinking on the part of critics and analysts.
What are your thoughts? Should voting be mandatory? If so, should ballots require protest vote options? Should ballots require them even if voting is not mandatory?
Is the lack of turnout more important than either the reds or the blues?
Should I put on a monkey suit and eat bananas in front of the Japanese National Diet until Abe gets the message?
People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what
they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It
- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings