Deconstructing The Absurdity

Posts Tagged ‘United States of America’

Can enforced mandatory voting in a post-industrial United States increase political efficacy?

In Democratic Party, Elections, Electoral process, Republican Party, U.S Congress, U.S States, United States of America on June 3, 2016 at 9:49 am

vote

An outline of the problem

Political participation can assume various forms: protesting, voting and actively engaging in campaign activities, however in industrial democracies, more people vote than engage in a routine mass political behavior. A participatory culture creates an atmosphere where citizens depict a heightened enthusiasm for politics and take pride in the institutions and its roles in public life (Jackman 405). But interest in matters of state and policy framing is dependent on individual experience and relationship to the sociopolitical environment. Sociologist Andrew Perrin posits that we fabricate a “democratic imagination” from experiences in civic life along with other domains such as work, family, and neighborhood. This democratic imagination drives the motivation of getting involved in politics, how to do so and when to stay away (Perrin 2).

A relatively new trend in the American political system is emerging where public engagement with the policy framing process is on a steady decline towards a deep legitimacy crisis. In the 2014 U.S midterm election, a meager 36.4 percent of the eligible voting population showed up to the polls. According to the New York Times editorial board, this national election cycle marked a 70-year low in terms of voter turnout going back to 1942 when 33.9 percent of adults reportedly voted. The excuse in 1942 was reasonable as most young men eligible to vote were fighting in the Second World War (Montanaro et al).

The detrimental aspect of the 2014 midterms was the disproportionate outcome when viewed across the lines of race and ethnicity. According to the latest U.S census data: 75 percent of the population is Caucasian; 12.5 percent Hispanic or Latino (of any race); 12.3 percent African-American; 3.6 percent Asian. The United States has a tremendous mixture of ethnic groups with different expectations from government, however, the exit poll data from the last election shows a grim picture when it comes to representation from the above-listed communities. In the race for the U.S House of Representatives, 75 percent of the voters were white and the next significant number is 12 percent from the African-American community followed by eight percent of Hispanic voters (NBC news). Read the rest of this entry »