Twenty-four percent of a democracy

Let’s break down some numbers for a little perspective

75 million people voted for Trump in 2020. Most likely, amazingly enough, roughly the same amount will vote for him again. He has lost some voters but gained some others.

So 75 million people is about a quarter of the population. But 20 percent of Americans are under 18. So that means that 75 million represents ⅓ of voting age Americans. But also ⅓ of voting age Americans either don’t vote or can’t vote due to immigration status, felonies and other reasons. Interestingly, a 2006 Pew research poll and a 2020 Knight Foundation study both found similar results about non-voters who would be eligible to vote. Mainly that they mostly reflect the views of the voting populace but have lost faith in the system. And that if you could get young people to vote they would skew toward Democrats.

So in practice, that 75 million Trump voters, or roughly 23% of the overall population, represent about 46% of the voting populace. Not enough to win a popular vote but enough to win the electoral college. Throw in gerrymandering and the structural problem of the Senate with it’s small state large state issue and that same 23% of the population can determine the outcome of the Senate and House elections.

So, as we all know, we can never reach Trump supporters or sway them from reacting to the completely absurd weird outs that drive them to the polls. 80% of them believe the 2020 election was stolen, that Trump was a great President and that Taylor Swift is a CIA plant. OK, that last one might be overblown. But you get the idea, anybody hungry? Pizzagate anyone?

In any case, 23% of our population controls how our country is run and they are batshit crazy. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t use such clinical terms. Batshit crazy just means that they believe in things that are clearly untrue and frankly dangerous for the future of our country.

So what’s the take away? Well we like to call ourselves a Democracy, but we still haven’t gotten to what most people, 77% maybe, would believe a Democracy should be. Where every vote counts and everyone has a voice. Until 1921 women couldn’t vote. Until 1965 elections all around the country were legally rigged against black people. No wonder people don’t trust the system today, but maybe worse, is that we’ve forgotten that Democracy is something we need to fight for. And if we don’t it can, and will, just go away.