In each presidential election, there are many people who say, “I don’t like either candidate, so I’m not going to vote”. Then there are those who say, “My vote doesn’t count, so why should I bother”? And finally, there are those who feel disenfranchised, that it doesn’t matter who is president, the government just doesn’t work for them – so why should they vote? In fact, throughout this century 40% of eligible voters in the U.S. do not vote in presidential elections – and in this coming presidential election it probably will be no different. That’s always a serious problem, but this year it will be even more so.
The group with the largest percentage of non-voters is 18 to 29 years of age. The majority of those are registered Democrats or Independents leaning Democratic1,2 and have liberal leanings. Even those who are registered Republicans or lean Republican tend to be far more liberal than older Republicans. As a result, most non-voters are liberals and their failure to vote biases the elections in favor of conservatives.
In the coming election, the consequences of not voting are far graver than normal due the need to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court. Looking at the table below, you see that two of the judges on the court (both liberal) are in their 80’s and will probably retire during the next four years. Whoever is president will then have to nominate their successors.
Prior to Donald Trump’s presidency, the Supreme Court was balanced with 4 conservatives, 4 liberals and 1 swing voter. Trump replaced one conservative and the swing voter with two young3, ultra-conservative judges leaving the court with 5 conservatives and 4 liberals. If Trump wins re-election, he will undoubtedly nominate 2 more judges just like them who will be on the bench for a very long time. This will severely unbalance the court with 7 conservative (corporate friendly, anti-civil liberties and anti-social welfare) judges and only 2 liberal judges.
Bottom Line: If you or anyone you know are among those who ususally don’t vote, be mindful that not voting in this year’s election is essentially a vote for Trump and a vote for an ultra-conservative Supreme Court which will remain so long after Trump leaves office in 2024.
1 Ages 52 and 55 meaning they probably will be on the court for 20 plus years.
2 Trends in party affiliation among demographic groups, Pew Research Center
3 Generation Z Looks a Lot Like Millennials on Key Social and Political Issues, Pew Research Center