In a few days, we will elect thousands of public servants across the country, including the 435 members of the House of Representatives and the 34 members of the Senate. The winners will be those who returned their voters. But what about the voices of those who don’t show up?
In 2020, 74 million voted for Trump, 81 million voted for Biden. But, about 85 million registered voters (and an unknown number of eligible but unregistered) did not turn out. “I didn’t vote” outnumbered MAGA Democrats or Republicans. This statistic alone should make us fear for our future. Britons now face the virtual certainty that Brexit, which passed with 27% of the eligible vote, looks likely to turn the UK into a bankrupt economy. They can’t complain because half didn’t vote. In the United States, the MAGA “big lie” exploits the existence of a huge non-voting population.
The media, pollsters and pundits tell us that the number of American voters who have not yet decided who to vote for is very small. They are wrong because they only count what pollsters define as “likely to vote”.
In a few days, you will have the opportunity to vote. This plea is not addressed to those who will vote, but to the plurality who will not vote. The future of our democracy and what we leave to our children hangs in the balance with every election. I make no secret of how fervently I believe you should vote.
The Democratic Party is not perfect and has a depressing inability to publicize its true accomplishments. However, even if you think Biden could have done better, the alternative, frankly, is too awful to consider.
MAGA, the new name for the former Grand Old Party, represents a determined minority led by populist politicians who seek to transform the United States into an amalgamation of Iran and China, a one-party permanent theocratic state. They attack their opponents over inflation and crime, but as far as anyone can tell, they offer no solution. Instead, they openly proclaim that they want revenge on their adversaries rather than fixing the problems.
Putative House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has previously said that, rather than solving problems, he will devote all the time and attention of MAGA members of Congress to (a) investigating the FBI, (b ) remove President Biden, (c) remove the Attorney General, and (d) block an increase in the debt ceiling. If he carries out this latest threat, he will force the United States into an economic crisis that will make the Great Depression look like a market correction.
MAGA rallies its base by attacking Democrats on real issues like inflation, crime, and immigration, then does whatever it can to make the problems worse.
MAGA’s solution to inflation: cut taxes on the rich even further and undermine the IRS so that no rich are audited. MAGA also promises to reduce the safety net that keeps millions out of poverty. For example, Florida MAGA Senator Rick Scott announced a platform that would put Social Security to a vote every few years. Scott’s voters are wealthy retirees from The Villages, a retirement complex, who don’t need Social Security and will instead get the tax cuts promised by MAGA.
MAGA’s solution to crime: putting more guns on the streets. And for those disheartened by the massive massacre of school children, Texas MAGA Attorney General Ken Paxton assures us that these children died as part of “God’s plan.”
MAGA leaders cannot decide whether they want to ban abortion at the state level or nationwide. They haven’t figured out what decision they can market, but have promised their base (who vote religiously) that they will ban abortion for every woman in America forever.
MAGA reignited the foreign policy isolationism that led to World War II and Pearl Harbor. MAGA leaders promise they will force Ukraine to “compromise” – a code word for surrender – with Vladimir Putin. MAGA’s candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, has a close relationship with Turkish President Erdogan. which threatens daily to attack Greece. Oz actually volunteered to serve in the Turkish military – once a disqualifying act for public office in the United States. Erdogan must be salivating while waiting for Dr. Oz in the Senate.
MAGA candidates across the country are seeking to undermine faith in Democratic elections by claiming that massive fraud has defeated Trump. (Every MAGA supporter I know – and I know many – knows the fraud charges are a lie, but sees the benefit of selling them.) MAGA Florida Governor Ron DeSantis created a special ‘election police’ to jail former convicts (mostly black) who voted after MAGA election officials registered them – but when four retirees from The Villages were caught voting Republican in two states, they were given a pat on the fingers. Across the country, MAGA politicians are working to rig the electoral system and suppress voter turnout to ensure they win every election in the future.
The space precludes any further discussion of MAGA’s dangerous positions on climate denial or incitement to violence against black people, immigrants, Jews and political opponents (Pelosi?). Not voting means MAGA’s policies don’t concern you – so you are supporting, by omission, a party that lives in misery and does nothing to solve the problems.
If you don’t agree with me, I still want you to vote. Facing a ballot can also force you to think about your children’s future.