The Non-Voter

Like the largest political group in America, the non-voter, I completely ignored this year’s Democratic convention. Like an overwhelming majority of Americans I didn’t watch any speeches, didn’t go online to read hot takes spinning those speeches, and I didn’t fight on Twitter over whatever happened.

Instead I spent the week doing what I usually do, and what most people do, which is getting on with my life by working, talking to friends and family, watching sports, playing video games, whatever.

If I am going to continue to do this I will keep ignoring the silly details of the election and focus instead on keeping my head above water, and when election day comes, I will probably forget about it, or if I remember it, will simply shrug and say, “Too busy. Doesn’t matter anyways.”

For many Americans, as they see it, politics, especially presidential politics, doesn’t matter. It is a far removed thing that every few years makes a lot of noise, pestering them with ads and phone calls, and when over, forgets about them or screws them over. It is like that flower they see on TV that attracts big crowds because it blooms every seven years and smells of rotting flesh.

Each election there are three choices and the winner is always not voting. In 2016 100 million people chose this option, far far more than people who voted for Trump. Or Clinton. “None of the above” effectively wins every presidential election, and it isn’t even close.

That is a pretty damning indictment of our political system and suggest understanding non-voters is more important than a Joe Biden speech watched by less than 10% of adults, and far more important than what a bunch of DC insiders think of it.

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For the 2020 American Views survey, Gallup and Knight polled more than 20,000 U.S. adults and found deepening pessimism and further partisan entrenchment about how the news media delivers on its democratic mandate for factual, trustworthy information. Many Americans feel the media’s critical role of informing and holding those in power accountable is compromised by increasing bias. As such, Americans have not only lost confidence in the ideal of an objective media, they believe news organizations actively support the partisan divide. At the same time, Americans have not lost sight of the value of news — strong majorities uphold the ideal that the news media is fundamental to a healthy democracy.

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