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About 1/3 of registered voters cast ballots in the last election. That’s about as good as it gets in a non-presidential year. Let’s see what that means to you and me and all Americans.

Since most elections are decided by just a few percentage points, that means that just over half of the ballots cast were for the winner, so approximately 18% of all registered voters determined the victors. Yes, that’s right: Just 18% of all registered voters decided for the rest of us, registered or not, who will hold power. And the story gets crazier.

People over the age of 50 vote in higher percentages than any other age group. More specifically, whites over 50 show up. And while there are considerably more white women than white men, the men show up in higher numbers. People who are members of minority groups vote in a low percentages and poor people don’t show up at all.

So, what the math says is that a small bunch of old white guys decided who will be in charge in Washington and in our state capitols. Is that okay with you? Do you know any poor or minority people? If so, ask them if that math is okay with them. Because old white guys are getting what they want, but the rest of us aren’t.

And lest you think that’s as bad as it gets, think again. The big money bad kids broadcast lies, false innuendo and blatantly misleading propaganda and they do it incessantly – like Rush Limbaugh proclaiming that President Obama violates the Constitution or that he is going to come and take away your guns or that he was born in Kenya. Like Ted Cruz (R-Mars) talking about President Obama’s “lawlessness.” Like Saint Ronald Reagan railing against “welfare queens” in Chicago (there weren’t and there aren’t any – he just made that up). Of course, they aren’t the only slimers doing the sliming. The Koch brothers, the NRA, the American Petroleum Institute, the RNC and so many more do the same things, lying in order to get what they want. As bad as that is, this gets even worse.

These reality distorters keep beating their “gimme more” drum until the vitriol and falsehoods are familiar to the people who show up at the polls. It’s the Big Lie and ordinary (i.e., non-super rich) Americans fall for it and vote against their own interests.

Well, at least 18% of Americans – old white guys – do. And the rest of us just let that happen.

So, vote on November 1, 2016. Vote in 2018, 2020 and in every election. And bring at least two people to the poles with you. Work in a call center to get out the vote. Go door-to-door in your neighborhood just urging people to vote. Put door hanger reminders on their doors regardless of whether they’re home. If we don’t do our part and our friends and neighbors fail America, it’s partly on our shoulders.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke, Irish orator, philosopher, & politician (1729 – 1797)


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to subscribe and do the same.  Thanks.  JA

Copyright 2024 by Jack Altschuler
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4 Responses to Math
  1. Frank Levy Reply

    It is not that 18% of the population determined who would win the 2014 mid-term elections, it is the 82% that stayed home. It is the 82% who did not vote, and who did not/do not speak up against Fox News, Ted Cruz, the Koch Brothers, Boehner, McConnnell, and the rest of the Republican crazies that made it possible for the 18% to have what they want.

    While I would like to believe that most Americans DO NOT want the government and elected officials that we got from the mid-terms, ACTIONS speak louder than words. If you do not vote, you get the governement (local, state, and federal) that you want and deserve.
    Not voting is a very selfish act. I would rather see a view point I disagree with get elected by a real majority, then see it get elected because people are too disinterested in the future of our country to vote.

    OH, BTW, the democrats deserve plenty of blame here for their cowardice in NOT clearly taking on the Republicans and not loudly explaining to the voters the dangers in letting the Republicans and the Koch Brothers get their way – it is all about the Supreme Court, presidential appointments, and the ending of the one man one vote democracy we claim to cherish – and those who claim to believe in democracy lost, again.

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    It is a sad commentary but true that a minimal number of people “bother” to take the time to perform the most important duty that they have to their communities, to their states and to the country — their responsibility to vote for their representation.

    That’s right, it’s a responsibility. In exchange for the myriad rights and privileges that we enjoy in this country we have certain responsibilities, included in which is the responsibility to vote to elect who will represent our interests — in the city we live in, in the state we live in, and in America.

    The “MATH” in this issue of “JaxPolitix” says that the vast majority of Americans are abrogating their responsibility. Not just sad, but downright wrong.

    But the freedoms granted to our citizens say that there is nothing that we can do about their failure to fulfill their responsibility. It’s freedom of choice and if some choose not to fulfill their responsibility, then no matter how wrong their actions, so be it.

    I have voted in every election since I turned 21, and that was a very long time ago. I voted in this most recent mid-term election; did you?

  3. dominick Reply

    Great points in this article Jack! It reveals how voters allow an immoral minority to rule over their lives. Most of us who have some alarming understanding of how our government runs seem to be preaching to the brain dead, but the fight must go on! If just 10% more of the working poor would show up at the polls, they would virtually guarantee better paying jobs and more economic security for themselves. But unfortunately, the anti-social personality people directing their political mercenaries and messaging for the masses continue to triumph with their lies and distortions – at least for now.

  4. Joni Lindgren Reply

    If the Republicans win the 2016 presidential office, [repeal of] Citizens United will not have a prayer in gaining any traction!! For the next 8 years, it will be tabled and we’ll live in a system of more bullying by the wealthy and corporations….because, don’t forget….corporations are people and money is speech!

    Only the wealthy and corporations will drive this country….they’ll destroy the environment, democratic political system, public education, and restrictions on the banking industry. The Republicans will pass more laws to privatize our water supplies and power plants! They will dismantle the ACA, Medicare, Social Security and SET UP more laws to keep the minimum wage low, restrictions on birth control and cancer screening clinics, laws deregulating the electricity industry, laws for the gun industry, laws reducing the retirement security earned by public employees, and laws opposing limits on carbon emissions and incentives for homeowners who install solar panels on their homes. Then least, but not forgotten….the constant threats of cuts to Medicare, ACA and SS!

    Since the Republican Party is the most powerful lobbying group of the corporations, do you think any bill will be in favor of you??