I have heard many people complain this political season that the system is not working for them. I have heard this from young people and from some minority voters. I do understand this and I also think there is, at least, a partial solution.
The system does seem to work pretty well for the exceptionally wealthy. The reason for that is pretty simple, they vote with their dollars and dollars speak pretty loudly to politicians (and to be fair, most people).
But for politicians, those dollars have to translate into votes. Winning elections is what keeps politicians in business. Which leads to what the rest of us can do to make the system work better for us. We can vote. We can vote early and often.
Polls over the last 40 years or so have consistently show that a majority of Americans support things like national healthcare, more gun control, and reasonable access to abortions. So, why don’t we have these things? Pretty simple, a majority of people don’t vote most of the time.
Now, yes, I know there are structural problems with folks getting out to vote. And yes, I know that there are full fledged voter suppression efforts, even in my home state. And I think we should do something about those problems.
But in the mean time we have to get out and vote.
We have to get out and vote in every single election. Primaries and general elections. Presidential elections and congressional elections. Every single one.
The little old ladies who oppose abortion, the white guys who think property values are the only thing worth thinking about, the rich folks who want more tax cuts, they vote. Every election. When the young people, people of color and progressives stay home, they win. Just look at who your state sends to congress. Your state legislature. Your governor. All elected when much less than a majority of the people voted.
This then makes people depressed about voting. “If voting could change things, they wouldn’t let people do it,” is a popular meme.
Well, guess what, all the voter suppression stuff that Republicans are doing tell you all you need to know. Voting IS effective. Voting DOES change things — and now they don’t want to let you do it.
If you want the political system to work for you, get out and vote every time. Demographics are in your favor if you are young, if you are Latino, if you are progressive. But demographics mean nothing, only actual votes do.
Vote every single time and get your friends to do the same and pretty soon, you will see, the political system will start working for you.