I see a lot of people talking about impeachment this morning. I get it. Donald Trump is a scoundrel. This much is undeniable. His firing of FBI Director James Comey is undoubtedly suspicious. If Twitter polls were how we impeached people, we’d be in a good place right now. Sadly, that’s not how this thing works.
If you wanna dream of Trump’s impeachment, that’s fine, but don’t waste a single second of your time awake fighting for such a thing right now. This Republican Congress is not going to impeach Donald Trump. They are all in so deep with him that impeaching him would be an indictment on themselves. They helped get him here. These are the same people, mind you, who blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee for nearly a year simply because they felt like it – effectively stealing the nominee from him. They don’t have the guts, backbone, will, or moral high ground to impeach Trump. They are down in the dirt with him.
Instead, for those of us who desperately want to defeat Trump, we should put nearly all of our eggs into one essential basket – voter turnout. Let me give you some context for just how dismal voter turnout is right now. This past weekend, France had its lowest voter turnout for a presidential election in a generation. Nearly 75% of voting age adults cast a ballot. That’s down from a turnout of nearly 85% in France just a decade ago.
And still, the lowest turnout in decades for France is better than we’ve had in any presidential election in the United States since 1896. In fact, we haven’t had a turnout of 60% or more in this country since the 1960s. The highest voter turnout in my lifetime was when Barack Obama was first elected in 2008 and even then only 57.1% of voting age adults cast a ballot.
87.2% of the people voted in Belgium, 85.2% in Turkey, 82.6% in Sweden, and 80.4% in South Korea. In fact, voter turnout in the United States drastically trails almost every developed country in the world.
This is not OK. My gut reaction to learning these numbers was to say that we desperately need more voter registration drives, but the United States, in this past election crossed 200 million registered voters for the very first time. Yes, we should keep registering people, but our problems are bigger than registration. Sorry to sound like a rhyming preacher, but our problems are voter education, inspiration, identification, and easy access to the polls.
Every election, from school board seats to sheriffs, district attorneys, and state representatives all require far more voter education and awareness than we see right now. Turnout in those elections is even worse than presidential elections, but voters are simply not educated on who’s who and exactly why those elections matter as much as they do.
Voters aren’t inspired. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the two least liked presidential candidates in American history. Of course voter turnout was terrible. And as much as people despised Donald Trump, fear did not seem to be a tremendous motivator. Obama had the highest turnout in recent history because his candidacy inspired voters and we must get back to that.
Most nations around the world either make voting on weekends or make Election Day a national holiday. Of course they do! Only our dumb country puts voting on Tuesday and still requires everybody to go to school and work like normal. It’s foolish. We should do everything we can to move in that direction. Not only that, but new voter ID laws are one more impediment to easy voting for everyday Americans.
The best model we have in the country for drastically increasing voter turnout is Oregon. 78.9% of the people there voted in the past election and that was down from their record highs of over 85% (although more people voted in this past election than ever before.) Oregon has done two things that we should fight for state by state. Residents are automatically registered to vote there and residents vote by mail. It’s actually the only way to vote there and it clearly works.
If we had 80% voter turnout, not only would Trump lose in 2020, I don’t think we’d ever have another person like him win again.