Voting with your feet, not your mind

Published by marco on

It would seem that the country is ripe for revolution, given the coverage of protests and unrest since the inauguration of The Donald. But the title of the article Incumbent Reelection Rates Higher Than Average in 2016 by Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley (UVA Center for Politics) reveals the sad truth. Whereas Americans have learned how to march again, they still don’t know how to to use their civic tools to get what they want.

“This election cycle, 393 of 435 House representatives, 29 of 34 senators, and five of 12 governors sought reelection (several of the governors were prohibited from seeking another term). Of those, 380 of 393 House members (97%), 27 of 29 senators (93%), and four of five governors (80%) won another term. These members of Congress and governors not only won renomination, but also won in November.”

Less than 50% of the eligible voting public went to the polls and, of those that did, they voted overwhelmingly to stick with the incumbents for whom they had consistently declaimed about 6% support. Americans either don’t care about these issues, aren’t informed about them, or don’t understand how voting works.

Americans aren’t alone, though. According to the talk Why you should love statistics by Alan Smith (TEDx), people in England—both citizens and their representatives—are uniformly and deeply uninformed about the numbers that underlie the decisions that they make about the policies that decide their lives.