Brief Thoughts on Non-Voters

Originally from a facebook post, but copied to medium to allow easier archiving and access.

Aly E
2 min readOct 13, 2018

Non-voters are the largest voting demographic in the United States.

Liberal arrogance assumes that this is because they have no been properly motivated, that no one has adequately enlightened them to the importance of exercising their voting rights.

What if, on the other hand, we assumed not that we know better than non-voters, but that non-voters are making a rational decision that reflects their social interests?

Non-voters are younger than voters, by far. I know myself and most the young people I know feel so failed by the neoliberal economics that dominates our country that we are not super hopeful that minor attempts to expand our pathetically small welfare programs will ever offer us anything. The programs democrats are fighting for barely address our needs. Most of us remember being promised single payer and getting the ACA instead.

Non-voters are more racially diverse than voters. 48% of non voters, like myself, are latinx. We remember seeing Obama deport just as many of our people as any republican president, we have spend forever seeing democrat rhetoric about progressive race politics while supporting policing, deportation, and politics of white supremacy.

Non-voters are poorer than voters. 46% come from households making < 30k a year. For those of us workers who are living in poverty, what does the minor expansion of programs which barely get us by offer us? Why would we vote for democrats who are just as likely to vote for war and military expansion (to send poor people overseas to kill poor people)?
45% of non-voters have had trouble paying bills in the last year.

What does it mean if we get rid of the arrogant liberal assumption that these non-voters are just too stupid to realize voting is important, and instead understand non voters as a demographic who are making a rational decision to refuse to waste their time on a system which has very little to offer them?

Well then we might have to stop giving democratic socialists the benefit of the doubt when they say electoral politics is pragmatic or an obviously easy direction for socialist organizing to move it. We might just have to consider that these non-voters are not interested in the capitalist state, and that many are just waiting to be offer an alternative.