When voters stay at home

My latest op-ed appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Wednesday. In it, I talk about some of the legislation that has been introduced in this session of the General Assembly, legislation that has made Virginia the butt of jokes pretty much everywhere.

Drawing on the survey conducted by the Wason Center, it seems that the legislature is out of step with those who they were elected to represent. At the end of the day, this failure lies at the feet of the voters who didn’t participate in the political process. While a 28% voter participation rate is horrible, the real problem was that few cared enough about the redistricting process to ensure we had competitive elections. If the protests about redistricting had been as loud as those about the bills, we wouldn’t have gotten districts in which candidates of one party have virtually no chance of winning.

The real result of the lack of competitiveness is that we get ideologues, folks who are committed only to the base of the party. They don’t need the votes of moderates to get elected, so they don’t bother to listen to them. They forge ahead, oblivious to what the majority wants.

It is tyranny of the minority.

Imagine if we elected a president that way.

Even if you agree with the machinations of this legislature – and my email tells me that some of you do – you should be concerned about the move to have the minority impose its will on the majority. Because one day, assuming things go the way they always do, the shoe is going to be on the other foot.


6 thoughts on “When voters stay at home

  1. > It is tyranny of the minority.

    > Imagine if we elected a president that way.

    You’re kidding, right? You DO know that WE do not vote for the President, right? WE vote for electors, and those 538 people choose our President and Vice President. They do NOT have to vote for the person we wanted them to vote for.

    1. Other than showing off your superiority, what is the value of your comment? I understand the point of Ms. Paige’s op-ed to be that not enough average citizens participate in the processes which lead up to actual voting and then do not vote in great numbers. Thus, various political entities, and the Commonwealth is but one, find themselves in outlandish positions which do nothing to benefit their constituents. I agree.

      In recent days I’ve seen several members of Virginia’s House and Senate commit themselves admirably on national television and only wish they hae been given the power to influence Virginia’s priorities BEFORE the Commonwealth became associated with the subjection of women to invasive, unnecessary medical procredures.

      1. Their constituents are those who VOTE. What I cannot figure out is why anyone would want people who really don’t care, to vote. Do they think that people who don’t care enough to vote, will research the issues and candidates just because it is a little easier for them to vote?

        They are self-selecting out of the electorate. Let them.

  2. Vivian,

    Good article, but I doubt it will shake people off their duffs and get them to vote. That will only happen if things get bad enough that people can’t get food & beer//alcohol/TV. When it happens people cannot get that–watch out. They will be in the streets rioting. Food prices are already out of sight.

    Yes, those of us who show up and vote make the decisions.

    Sorry I am so forthright, but that’s reality.


  3. Elections have consequences. A citizen SHOULD take the time to exam the issues and vote in every election. If they won;t do that it is better not to vote. I would not want to be operated on by doctor who had not prepped for surgery. It is useless to vote without putting thought and reflection into their choice. .

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