Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


October 20, 2020

Two weeks to go.

We're talking about dozens of different things now: all of the ways the Republicans are trying to suppress or void Democrat votes; the expectations for every imaginable demographic group; and the situations in the different states. But underneath all of this there is one simple, and supreme, measure: Turnout.

Turnout - the percentage of Americans of voting age who cast a ballot, has been stuck around 60%, sometimes a little higher, other times a little lower, for decades. Every single presidential election, only about 60 out of 100 people who have the right to vote actually do.

In the past, I would have said this wasn't that shocking. People in mature democracies vote less. Politicians of all stripes appear the same - corrupt and power-mad, and the goings on in Washington, and state capitals, seem far away. Maybe it's not irrelevant to your ordinary life, but it is rarely pressing.

This year is different.

Looking at the race, many people - even with the polls favoring Biden - believe it is still a toss-up. This ignores turnout. There are more Democrats and progressive Independents in America than Republicans. If the former vote, Trump will be defeated in a landslide.

Given the choice we face, the future of our country and of our personal lives, 60% for 2020 is ridiculous. Overall turnout should approach 80%, with the Republicans still at the traditional level - it's hard to see where they get the enthusiasm to go much higher, but with Democrats and other progressives at close to 100%.

It all comes down to young voters. They are the demographic that normally has the lowest participation, but also where modern values are definitely more widespread. I don't know a lot of young people personally, or how to connect to them. I just hope they appreciate that the rest of their lives will depend on what they do now.

If Trump somehow prevails there will never be a response to the pandemic, and a million Americans could die. The economy will not recover, for the next four years. The ACA plan will be eliminated, and Roe v. Wade overturned. Previously unimaginable scenarios, such as widespread civil violence and even a new type of civil war, are plausible.

To young people, if you vote your lives will be better. The pandemic will be addressed and economic and political normality will return. We will finally be in a position to chart a new path that confronts the climate emergency; embedded racism, particularly in the police; and obscene levels of inequality. If you don't vote, your lives will be worse, perhaps a lot worse. It's as simple as that. Not voting this year is like driving on a highway stone cold drunk, or jumping out of a plane without a parachute.

I might add, this is most important political event of the last 50 years. Be a Hero. Vote.