Many Americans will be staying out of the voting booth for the 2018 elections, disillusioned by the promises of politicians and convinced that the political system is irreparably corrupt.
At least that’s what respondents told poll takers at USA Today and Suffolk University in a recent survey:
“Nearly two-thirds of adult U.S. citizens will stay away from the polls during the coming midterm elections, and they say they have given up on the political parties and a system that they say is beyond reform and repair…
A majority of those non-voters would like to see a third party or multiple parties.”
As the Huffington Post notes: “The poll surveyed Americans who aren’t registered to vote or who are registered but say they’re unlikely to cast a ballot. Combined, the two groups include more than 100 million adults, the pollsters note.”
68 percent of independent voters and party registered voters who say they are unlikely to vote this year agreed with the statement: “I don’t pay much attention to politics because it is so corrupt.” It’s a marked increase over the 54 percent of respondents who agreed to this characterization of politics in the 2012 survey.
And 63 percent of respondents in these categories agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I don’t pay much attention to politics because nothing ever gets done – it’s a bunch of empty promises,” which is also up from the 59 percent who said the same nearly six years ago.
I don’t pay much attention to politics because it is so corrupt.
In bad news for political parties like the DNC and RNC, faith in parties is on the wane. Only 22 percent of respondents said the Democratic and Republican parties do a good job of representing Americans’ political views, which is down from 32 percent when the question was asked in 2012.
57 percent of respondents also said a third party or multiple political parties is necessary, up from the 53 percent who said so just before Obama was reelected to his second term.
A light majority, at 55 percent, of those respondents who said they will be sitting out this election hold an unfavorable view of Donald Trump and are dissatisfied with his record in office.
It’s a tale as old as American democracy. Midterm turnout is always lower than in presidential election years. Those who vote are also more likely to be educated and more likely to be white.
Historically the party in the White House usually loses seats to the opposition party in Congress during midterms, a pressure valve for dissatisfaction with the ruling administration.
As NBC News notes: “In every midterm election since the Civil War, the president’s party has lost, on average, 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate.”
With only 24 seats net gain in the House and 2 in the Senate, the Democratic Party could flip both Houses from the red team to the blue team in 2018, which makes it an exciting election to watch.
But with deep disillusionment over politics crossing party lines and an increasing number of anti-Trump voters planning to sit this one out, it’s quite possible a Democratic coup in November may just fizzle out. Trump would call the electorate “low energy.”