The largest single bloc of American voters today is the "League of Non Voters." In the 2016 presidential election over ninety million eligible voters failed to show up at the polls.
That’s 42 percent of the total, larger by far than either major party and not too much less than both parties combined.
Even worse, 35 percent of America’s eligible voters aren’t even registered. They don’t even intend to vote. For the world’s wealthiest nation and its first successful democracy this is an absolute disgrace. My grandmother would call it: "Just plain sorryness!"
Hillary Clinton feels that a letter sent to Congress by then-FBI director James Comey about the agency’s second inquiry into her use of a private email server for classified documents might have tipped the scales in the last few days of the campaign. But this will continue to be a matter of conjecture, as if it any longer matters.
Most studies indicate that the solid 5 percent majority that gave Barrack Obama victories in 2008 and 2012 was still there but Hillary just couldn’t seem to connect with it. Obama had a remarkable ability to get people to the polls in a country ranked among the world’s worst in voter turnout. Hillary, obviously, did not. She also lacked empathy and appeal with blue collar rank-and-file voters. Most pundits agree that Donald Trump beat her by wooing a group he actually despises.
Another interesting note: Of the voters who gave Trump an electoral, but not a popular majority, a substantial percentage actually disapproved of Trump but gave him their vote anyway. They apparently disapproved of Hillary even more.
The group of voters who put Trump over the top seems to have been motivated more by emotion than reason or self-interest. This lower-middle-income blue-collar constituency felt they had been pushed out of their rightful places in society, first by African Americans, then by the feminists and now by illegal immigrants. Although they didn’t put a lot of credence in Trump’s disconnected rhetoric, they did believe his warnings that Hillary Clinton intended to open the flood gates to millions of illegal aliens in order to add them to the rolls of Democratic voters. To paraphrase the attributed words of Lyndon Johnson concerning SOBs: They knew Trump was a crook, but he was "their crook."
Although I claim no expertise in American history, I do have some academic credentials in that area and have at least an overview of our nation’s past. And I can recall no period of American history that even remotely resembles the present fiasco.
As already stated, I believe one of the main causes of the Trump anomaly was our failure to exercise our most sacred right and duty, the vote. I could list a host of adjectives to describe this deplorable situation, but I would run out of space before I would run out of adjectives. People in countries under autocratic rule have risked their lives for the right to vote. But we won’t even give a couple of hours of our precious time once every two years on the first Tuesday of November to fulfill our duty as citizens of this great country. If we don’t wake up, America’s reign as the number one world power could turn out to be the briefest regency on record.
George B. Reed Jr., who lives in Rossville, can be reached by email at email@example.com.