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The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Monday Wake Up Call – November 14, 2016

We just can’t seem to stop talking about Trump winning the election. Pundits have sliced and diced the data from November 9, and so far, the major trend remains poor turnout.

From 538: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

The raw number of votes rose: About 1.4 million MORE Americans voted in this year’s election than in 2012, a total which itself was down from 2008. But the electorate was growing in the meantime: About 57% of eligible voters cast ballots this year, down from 58.6% in 2012 and 61.6% in 2008, which was the highest mark in 40 years.

The total number of votes was up, but the percentage of actual voters to eligible voters was down. This says that, in 2016, people cared less about the outcome of the election than they did in 2012. 60% of Millennials failed to vote, 6% less than in 2012. The 65+ cohort dropped most dramatically, down 12% from 2012. From Carl Beijer:

The major trend in 2016 was one of increasingly apathy. Within that broader trend, the demographic patterns are muddy. Deviations in relative support from group to group don’t map well onto the standard media narratives that dominated this election; for example, apathy grew more among women and voters of color than among men and white voters. Among the candidates, Clinton either broke even or lost support among every single demographic group, while Trump won support among voters of color and boomers.

And if we look at states that were key to Trump’s victory – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, all but Pennsylvania and Florida had lower overall turnout. And in the case of Ohio and Wisconsin, turnout was much lower.

While it’s too early to say that we saw a populist revolt, it is clear that the slimy campaigns and the unattractive candidates probably depressed turnout.  And it isn’t clear yet whether voter suppression laws had a significant impact on the outcome of the election, but America’s gotta wake up.

When 43% of eligible voters don’t bother to vote, we risk surrendering our democracy to a well-organized minority of Americans. Nobody should be complaining if they failed to vote.

To help the non-voters wake up, we will listen today to Leonard Cohen. Wrongo mentioned Cohen’s death yesterday. His dying wasn’t a surprise, since he said in last month’s profile in the New Yorker that he was “ready to die.” Yet, on October 13th he told an LA audience:

I think I was exaggerating. I’ve always been into self-dramatization… I intend to stick around until 120.

That didn’t come to pass. His final album, “You Want It Darker” came out on three weeks ago. In it, he waves goodbye to us with grace. Asked often about his process for songwriting he usually replied:

I’ve often said if I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.

But we remember him today with “Everybody Knows”. It probably has been overplayed this week, but it is appropriate for the revolutionary week we had:

Those who read the Wrongologist in email can view the video here.

Sample lyrics:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Doesn’t that kind of sum up where we are heading for the next four years?

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