While both sides constantly complain about money in politics, how terrible our elected officials are and the inefficiencies of our government, the bottom line is we elect these people into office. Without our votes, most of these politicians would have never been elected.
Well, one of the biggest problems we have in this country is that the rich and powerful seem to control our government. Now most people might think that’s because of the cumulative millions these people donate every election cycle. And for the most part that’s fairly accurate. Time and time again it’s proven that in politics, those who have the most money almost always win.
But that’s not the only reason why the richest among us rule this country. They also vote much more often than poor and middle class Americans.
Just take a look at this chart of voter turnout for the 2008 Presidential election, which was put together as part of a larger, in-depth report by Demos.org:
In every income bracket of people making $30K or less per year, voter turnout is less than 50 percent. Yet on the opposite end, people making $75K or more per year have a voter turnout above 70 percent.
So it’s not just the money they’re donating that’s determining what type of government we have, it’s the rate at which they’re voting (and we’re not voting) which is also giving them the upper hand on selecting who represents us in our government.
Furthermore, as this study by Nonprofit VOTE points out, only 40% of those with a household income below $50K voted in the 2010 midterm elections. This is especially concerning seeing as how this year’s midterms are so vitally important if we want anything to get accomplished in President Obama’s final two years in office.
From Nonprofit VOTE’s report:
- In the survey, lower income voters cite
transportation problems, registration
issues, and lack of awareness of the
election as reasons for not voting.
I cannot stress it enough – we must make voting a top priority. All these blogs, comments, pages, petitions, debates, discussions, political shows – none of them matter if we don’t get out and vote. Ask your neighbors if they need a ride to the polls – you’d be surprised how many people do need a little help but just don’t know who to ask. Make sure your friends and family are registered and aware of when and where to vote. These are things that many consider common sense, but a 40% voter turnout rate is just absolutely unacceptable and proves that not enough of us are doing these simple things.
The cliché saying really is true, “If you don’t get out and vote, then you really don’t have a right to bitch.” And we have far too many people (especially poor and middle class Americans) complaining about what’s going on in this country who aren’t doing anything about it.
Let’s change that. Because if we don’t, nothing in this country is ever going to change.
If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend checking out the complete report that was just put together by Demos. It’s eye-opening, to say the least.