We Get What We Vote For

Something I’m questioning is how much policy is driven by us and how many of us are being conditioned to think a certain way based on political leadership. I don’t mean for it to sound confusing. Our government is supposed to represent our interests. That’s why we vote for and elect the leaders we elect. Yet increasingly, with policy divisiveness near post-Civil Rights era levels, I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t falling into a trap of having candidates pander to political minorities and having those priorities advocated back to us. 

According to the Pew Research Center, while around 38% of voters say they’re independent, only 7% aren’t truly partisans. Now, why does that matter? Because there really isn’t a political middle for politicians to cater to anymore. So, what happens? They cater to the bases. But who are the bases? In non-presidential election years, primary turnout averages 28% and in presidential election years, 40%.

By virtue of candidates being elected to their party platforms by minorities of voters, who’re often the most partisan among voters, we’ve increasingly been electing candidates that reflect growing hard-line positions. That often means we feel as though politicians are almost always serving our interests or never are based on who that politician happens to be. That’s what’s leading to the feeling of bitter divisiveness politically in this country. Think about the average Democrat and the average Republican for a moment. You and your neighbor, for example, have acquaintances of differing political views. Do the two of you personally live your lives and have interests that differ as much as the politicians who represent us? 

In the wake of the recent shootings, there’s a growing contingent of people calling for some degree of civility if not unity. We get what we vote for, or don’t as the case might be. In Florida, 27% of voters are registered NPA’s though statistically, only mid-single digits aren’t partisans. If you’re registered as an NPA but lean heavily to one political party. It might be time to re-register. Impacting primary elections will impact the policy advocated by both political parties. Fewer voters are voting in primaries than ever before because more voters are registering as independents than ever before. As a result, look at the politicians around you. Then look at your neighbors. 

Photo by: Getty Images

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