Charles C. W. Cooke presents an excellent counter-argument to the populist view that low voter participation is indicative of a national malaise. Or it would be a counter-argument if there was an argument to counter. Proponents merely presume universal voting to be an unalloyed good. The British Guardian had this to say about the midterm election -- "The low voter turnout on Election Day last week in the United States was an international disgrace."
Pace Lyndon Johnson, who posited famously that “a man without a vote is a man without protection,” I remain as free as a non-citizen as any man who is able to choose his representatives. Like others, I may speak in sharp and harsh terms without interference or censure from the state — and I do. I may own firearms for my defense and carry them with me should I so wish — and I do. I may expect to secure my person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures — and I do. With no meaningful exceptions, I enjoy equal protection under the law and the right to due process should I be accused of having violated that law. Given how hard it would be to repeal these safeguards, it seems fair for me to conclude that I may do these things not primarily because others vote to permit me to, but because the questions have been deliberately set outside of the standard democratic process and engraved deep into the highest law in the land: the Constitution.
The United States was established on the principle that just power is derived from the consent of the governed. Can an unwillingness to involve oneself in public affairs not be interpreted as a sign of contentment with the status quo — qui tacet consentire, and all that — or, at least, as an indication that one is happy to watch from afar as things play out? Is it not virtuous, too, for Americans who have no interest in matters political to stay away from the realm?
There's much more. Read it all here.
The Party pushing for universal voter participation is, of course, the Democrats. Take (Please!) Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for instance. (Sanders is technically an Independent, but proclaims himself a Socialist, making him a Democrat who is honest about his convictions. Barack Obama's Senate voting record was to the left of that of Sanders'). Sanders wants to make Election Day a national holiday to encourage more people to vote - people he assumes will be more likely to favor leftist policy. Unfortunately for him, this proposal, if implemented, is sure to backfire, as this Election Day Facebook post makes clear...
That prediction proved to be correct.
Democrats are also at the forefront of efforts to enfranchise felons, illegal aliens and other unqualified groups and to block voter ID laws intended to prevent voter fraud. This strategy has, at times, proven successful, most recently in the 2014 Virginia Senate race as votes from several thousand foreign nationals helped give incumbent Mark Warner his razor thin victory over challenger Ed Gillespie.
Then listen up, Barry.
Democratic operatives are not the only ones pushing for more voters. The incessant naggers from the "Rock The Vote" crowd are among those pretending political neutrality. And from those with no such pretensions, (Lena Dunham, et al.), the disinterested and uninformed receive assurances that filling out a ballot will result in enhanced self-esteem.
Paradoxically, Democrats have no respect for the electorate they ostensibly champion. This was demonstrated recently by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber's revealing comments concerning the deceptions utilized to confuse and mislead the American public during the campaign to pass the law.
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it's written to do that. (Mr. Smart Guy Gruber means it's written not to do that). In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in -- you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money -- it would not have passed. ... Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass. ... Look, I wish (health economist) Mark (Pauly) was right (that) we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not.
David Limbaugh responds with an appropriate degree of outrage --
This is the stuff of outright tyrants -- arrogant, unaccountable, cavalier despots. This is political fascism. This is not representative government. This type of behavior nullifies the Constitution and disenfranchises the American people.
But, (as Ian Tuttle points out in an NRO column), Gruber's disdain for the electorate is far from an isolated sentiment among Democrats. Indeed, it's their faith in the irredeemable stupidity of the American electorate that inspires their efforts to expand it. A growing electorate becomes (collectively) less engaged in current affairs, less informed, and more susceptible to manipulation by enthusiastic obfuscators like Jonathan Gruber. And outright liars like Barack Obama.