Cartographer Philip Kearney has put together this map showing the scale of non-voting in the presidential election of 2016. In that election, the percent of Americans who could have voted but didn’t far exceeded the percentage of votes cast for either Trump or Clinton. Each grey county represents where the sentiment of apathy exceeded the votes cast for any one candidate.
The national struggle to defeat Donald Trump in November is going forward amid an exodus from the Republican Party and a paradoxical crisis in the two-party system. The paradox is that, even as the parties and their candidates raise more and more money and draw the battle lines between one another more sharply, they excite more animus and aversion in the population at large. It’s hard to be mindful of the huge swath of the American population that is withdrawn and disenchanted, unaffiliated and uncertain, especially given the hype that keeps Democrats and Republicans ever before our eyes.
This hype inadvertently sustains Trump’s power, a president whose popularity ratings are shockingly low relative to every other modern president. Trump’s “base”– the amoral and low-information voters who continue to approve of him–lacks the geographic spread to prevail. Meanwhile, legions of prominent and rank-and-file Republicans have either left the party, gone silent, or endorsed Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
The pool of voters available to put Biden in the White House is unusually large. Let’s remember this as we work to get out the vote against Trump. Innumerable voters besides those who are Democrat want Trump to go.
The millions of people currently without a party are something like “a silent majority.” They do not need to be convinced to join a party: they only need to be persuaded to vote once for Biden and, by ending Trump’s disastrous presidency, save what’s left of our Constitutional system. For that matter, the Senate Republicans (with the exception of the noble Mitt Romney) have so failed in their duties to the Constitution and the nation that the voters must try to depose them, too.
Image: Albert Levering’s “Republican Voters Revolt” (1910), from this source.