These seven midterm ballot questions could change the country’s direction if they are passed by the voters in November. The key is to understand what the questions actually mean.
In America, our electoral democracy is not a democracy at all. The very idea that a majority of the people’s votes (“the people” and not just “Democrats and Republicans”) create a governing majority (“the people” and not just “Democrats and Republicans”) has always been a fallacy. In the 20th century, it was often a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Today, that self-fulfilling prophecy is no longer possible.
Even as a young student in high school, a professor told me, “When the votes are counted, your vote will matter only if your vote is counted.”
This was in the 1950s, when the votes were counted after the “final” election, at the time when the U.S. had a two-party system.
It’s a fair statement, as it turns out. At least in the last 25 years. In the 2008 and 2010 elections, the U.S. Senate election of Harry Reid (D-NV) and Barack Obama (D-MA) were the first times that the votes of the Democratic Party were counted by the Electoral College after the traditional “final” election. The results then were essentially the same as the popular vote: the Democratic Party won both times, not only by a margin of 51-49, but by a margin of 1.3-1.4 million votes. I don’t have a count of the actual number that were the final electoral votes, but I’m willing to bet that the actual voting population that voted in the 2008 election (and the 2010 election) was quite a bit larger than the 18 million that voted in the historic 2012 presidential election, when the voters turned out in record numbers.
And it’s now in the process of becoming even more so—and more important—after the Supreme Court’s decision this week, which will allow all American voters to vote in the 2016 presidential election.
The question of the day is this: “whether to extend the franchise to all 12 million Americans who are citizens but are not currently able to cast a ballot.”
This is a critical question because the Supreme Court