top of page
  • hajira3a

Non-Voters: Enemy or Scapegoat?

Pundits and pollsters alike concluded well before Election Day in 2016 that a Clinton presidency was on its way and that Trump’s bid would soon become a mere blip in electoral history. Yet they were wrong. The shock of Trump’s victory shook the American political establishment and corporate media who simply lacked the foresight of what was to come. Soon, an entire field of political discourse emerged attempting to grasp at some logic behind this bewildering and earth shattering situation. For so many, this abrupt shift in the status quo was an unsettling reminder of how prominent reactionary elements of society had become. In an attempt to diagnose the reasons that led to a Trump victory, a hyperfocus on the individual voter emerged. The nonvoter, the American who failed to make the choice between Clinton and Trump in 2016 or the foolish third party voter, was the new villain.  The sentiment maintained that had they just gotten out and voted Democrat, the fate of America would have been saved. The deviant non-voter suddenly was in the hot seat, labelled as a menace to democracy for not playing by the rules of the game. Not only is this a misplacement of responsibility, but it most obviously reflects a larger misunderstanding of the American political system and a lack of empathy for the hidden part of America that exists neglected until they can be used as a source for blame. 

There are many reasons why people choose to vote. They believe it is their duty to participate in their nation’s political processes.They identify one of the two parties and candidates as one who upholds their values and has their best interests in mind. There are also those who don't always feel quite comfortable with the choices presented but still align with one or another due to circumstance and the sentiment that the two party system is a team sport. Then there are those who simply do not have the access to the ballot, those who have been deprived of their right to vote, and those who feel unrepresented. Entire machiavellian systems of gerrymandering and inaccessibility are put into place that deprive Americans of ostensibly their only way to make a difference. There are the countless forgotten Americans who time and time again have seen both parties fail them in the most fundamental ways.  They saw Bush push the nation into disastrous and murderous interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan with Obama following suit. They bared witness as mass evictions in Democrat run cities and states persisted just as they did in Republican run areas. Those who bared the brunt of the aftermath of bipartisan tough on crime narratives that have proved devastating in consequence. In many ways, the actual reality of the American political system operates in such a way that the differences posed between the two parties are nothing more than semantics. Election Campaigns become shameless competitions of who can pander to their "base" most effectively. As the right shifts further into fascism, the liberal alternative follows suit. Messages of harm reduction are espoused, but the actual harm of the state are totally underscored in preservation of the system. Disillusionment is a natural consequence of bearing the brunt of the American system that has been resoundingly united in pursuing policies of ruling class interest above all.

Fast forward to the countdown before the 2020 Election Day, we are now experiencing a resurgence of this mentality. The pressure is on for individuals to go out and make their voices heard through the polls as we’re told the fate of this country is at stake. In a way never seen before, the responsibility for the horrors of poverty, war, inequality, racism, and violence are placed squarely onto the laps of voters. Never is the question pointed towards the root causes of these ills and how the candidates that are framed as our saviors are complicit in the perpetuation of these systems. Like clockwork, those who stand in rejection of this system and rally towards an alternative or those who simply cannot be asked to choose the next puppet in the political theatre of their oppression are maligned. No real indictment on the responsibility for these problems occurs and a fundamental misunderstanding remains that these issues can be voted out with a swing of the political pendulum.  And if all goes wrong, the blame can be placed on non-voters.

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Elf on the Shelf, Deviance, and Social Control

Elf on the shelf is a very popular character during Christmas time. Parents buy their children elves for Christmas and the idea is that the elves spy on the children and report back to Santa at night.

Capitalism, Christmas, and COVID-19

During a time usually marked by cheer, celebration, and abundance, millions of Americans will instead spend upcoming holidays this year in grief and deprivation. In the weeks approaching Christmas and


bottom of page