Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
The United States is the world’s largest democracy, we spend an obscene amount of money on elections–more than any other country–and we have the lowest voter turnout. The trend has been: the more money that is spent, the lower the turnout.
Since the 2014 election– which had the lowest voter turnout since 1942– many people have been asking: Why aren’t Americans voting? When you consider thehorrible financial mess the Tea Party is making of red states like Arizona, there also been a lot of non-voter bashing and shaming. But does that do any good? I think not.
At a recent John Nichols event, hosted by PDA Tucson and the Pima Area Labor Federation, Nichols shed light onto the inverse relationship between money spent and votes cast.
Nichols told the crowd of approximately 130 progressives and unionists that Americans don’t vote because negative television commercials repeatedly tell us not to. Check out this excerpt from his talk below.
Why don’t American’s vote? John Nichols is kind of right, but mostly wrong. Go deeper. His message that the corporations are saying “don’t vote” is relevant to those who can vote in meaningful elections. Before looking a media funding, which is important, is that voters are prevented from having choices by gerrymandering and partisan primaries. A Republican in a gerrymandered Democratic district or al contrario is prevent from casting a meaningful vote by a wired structure. The majority of Arizona registered voters are independents. We are forced to vote a straight party ticket in a primary – another level of wiring. Look at election laws that protect incumbents (right and left) and leave so little competition that it is not worth going to the market place. TV commercials come much lower in the food chain – as is evident that most funds are spent on the remaining competitive districts.