The United States, which likes to see itself as the shining example of democracy that the rest of the world follows, has (and has long had) a disgracefully low level of voter participation compared to other democracies.
One party, the Democratic Party, is always trying to do things to raise turnout. The Republicans, not so much. In a recent interview on “Fox & Friends,” President Trump let slip the reason for this. Higher turnout is good for Democrats. Bad for Republicans.
And that explains why proposals to encourage higher turnout are opposed by Republicans in general and Trump in particular.
Responding to a series of proposals, linked to the coronavirus situation, to make it easier for Americans to vote. Early, absentee or by mail Trump said:
“The things they had in there were crazy,” Trump said. “They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
This seems to be another example of Trump saying the quiet part out loud again. This link, from Minnesota native Aaron Blake, now of the Washington Post, lays it out. Trump understands that making it easier to vote is bad for Republicans. But, unlike most Republicans who hide behind various arguments that things that make it easier to vote will lead to voter fraud, Trump adorably admits the open secret: Republicans rely on lower turnout to win. Making it easier to vote, which should, in some fantasy world where democracy is more important than partisan advantage be a good thing, is bad for Republicans
Republicans rely on voter suppression tactics. And they’re very good at them. They hide behind various excuses, but you don’t really have to be paranoid to notice that they lead the charge against anything that makes voting easier.
This link will get you a list of the rankings of countries by the percentage of the voting-eligible population who vote. Here are the top five:
South Korea: 77.92
The United States checks in at 55.70 of the population who voted in the 2016 presidential election.
Midterm participation is always much lower, usually something around 40 percent. But there was a big surge in 2018 when it rocketed up to 49.3 percent, the highest midterm turnout in more than a century. (This led to big gains for Democrats, who took over the U.S. House.)
That backs up President Trump’s brilliant analysis quoted above.
You’ll hear various excuses, usually more diplomatic than Trump’s candid admission, but you won’t find many ideas for making it easier for people to vote that Democrats don’t favor and Republicans don’t oppose.
Of course, we should have a vigorous campaign in 2020, debate the records and the issue positions of the candidates, and may the best facts and arguments win those debates. But, notwithstanding Trump’s unfortunate admission, we aren’t much of a democracy if we allow voter suppression tactics to determine the outcome.