Low Voter Turnout is the Biggest Threat to Democracy

karl marx junior
2 min readMar 3, 2023

If this weren’t the case, the GOP wouldn’t work so tirelessly to restrict voting access

Credits: Natalie Runnerstrom of Unsplash

If you tallied up all the nonvoters, they’d outnumber Trump supporters by a few million people.

In 2020, only 66.8% of the population above the age of 18 voted. Meaning a third of those eligible to cast a ballot chose to not partake in the presidential election at all.

The number of people over the age of 18 who voted for no one (33.2%) was greater than the percent that voted for Trump (31.3%) and almost the same as the number that voted for Biden (34.2%). The 2020 election had the highest turnout since 1952, but one-third of eligible voters still didn’t cast a ballot for either candidate.

In some states with a lower-than-average turnout, nonvoters were the real winners of the 2020 election. For example, in Texas, 40% of the population didn’t even cast a ballot and since Trump only won 51% of the vote (of the 60% who voted), he effectively only received 31% of the vote for the eligible voting population. This is a 9% margin between nonvoters (40%) and Trump voters (31%).

I’d hate to give Trump too much credit, but he was able to woo a lot of people who sat out during previous elections. But so did Biden.

For every anti-vaxxer and white supremacist that registered to vote as a Republican in 2020, Biden was able to appeal to all the anti-racists and decent folk who were sick of watching the COVID daily death count spiral into the thousands.

It’s unlikely for any loyal Republican voters to switch parties at this point. If the coup attempt wasn’t enough to turn off conservatives, then I don’t think anything else is going to change their minds.

But it’s not too late to get nonvoters both registered and engaged. Stacey Abrams proved that Georgia is light Blue at best, Purple at worst. She registered hundreds of thousands of people to vote, and look what happened: the first two Democratic Senators in two decades, as well as the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992.

In 2020, the first sitting US president refused to acknowledge whether he’d accept the results of the upcoming election, and roughly 80 million Americans shrugged it off by not voting.

The most important issue in coming elections is increasing voter turnout because Republicans never miss a chance to cast a ballot for their party’s next new shiny thing. And if Trump didn’t make things clear enough in the last election, the Republican party’s newest obsession is one party rule.

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