Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Specter of Voter "Apathy"

Quite a few months ago, a friend explained to me that my attitude toward voting--that each individual's vote doesn't matter much, even if it's counted--was "dangerous" and showed I "don't understand how politics works." His argument was that my point of view plays into "conservatives'" hands because conservatives win elections by convincing people to stay home on the grounds that a single vote doesn't matter.

His argument seems to run afoul of the Karl Rove style of politics. One aspect of Rove's strategy was to put hot-button cultural issues (like gay marriage) on the ballot so convince people who might be inclined to vote for Mr. Bush but who might be inclined to stay home extra motivation to come to the polls.

I would not be surprised if the Democrats, who my friend champions, almost to the point of fanaticism, try to prevent such "cultural issues" initiatives from appearing on the ballot in part because they know (or believe) that these initiatives will encourage more conservatives to come to the polls.

In other words, whatever the other faults of my position on voting might have, my friend's particular argument needs a lot more evidence.

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