An Even More Inconvenient Truth…

Lucia Graves on the US electoral system:

Bernie Sanders said something he wasn’t supposed to say: that poor people don’t vote.


The impolitic remark came in response to a question about why the candidate had been losing so much in the places he should have been winning (he’s lost 16 of the 17 states with the highest levels of income inequality). The most straightforward thing for him to say would be to acknowledge that he hasn’t performed well with minority voters who tend to be less affluent. But he didn’t want to say that on television. Instead, he decided to talk about something else that’s actually more important than where he, personally, is up or down.

He said: “Poor people don’t vote. I mean, that’s just a fact. That’s a sad reality of American society” .

‘That’s a fact’. Really? Well it would seem that it is…

Fact-checkers immediately aimed to set the record straight only to discover that Sanders claim was “mostly true” or even, looked at comprehensively, totally correct.

Oh dear!

But why don’t they vote? Any clues?

Barriers to voting like long wait lines and strict voter ID laws contribute to the effect, as does the potential for the increased use of provisional ballots among minorities.

Long waiting lines? Hmmm, why might that be a problem for poor people, but not for rich people (who are often described as ‘time poor’)?

Strict voter ID laws? Hmm, why might that be a problem for the poor? Does it cost money to get voter ID in the States?

As Danielle C Belton explained in The Root, it is those who most need representation that are denied it.

“The reason politicians ignore so many of the working poor is that they don’t vote,” she writes. “And the reason so many of the working poor don’t vote is that certain politicians have made sure it’s as inconvenient as possible for them.”

It doesn’t seem – assuming that there’s no cost involved in getting voter ID – that there’s anything denying voter representation to them except their own lack of get up and go.

Maybe that’s also why they are poor?

10 comments for “An Even More Inconvenient Truth…

  1. May 4, 2016 at 10:12 am

    that there’s anything denying voter representation to them except their own lack of get up and go


  2. Lord T
    May 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    and yet politicians pander to their every whim. Is is just to secure the SJW vote? If so then we need to take that into consideration when campaining.

  3. Voice of Reason
    May 4, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    It does indeed cost money to get a voter ID in the US, and those fees have been rising quickly. In addition, many Republican-controlled state governments, including Texas, have carefully crafted those laws, defining which ID’s can be accepted. In the latter case, driver’s licenses and concealed-carry permits are valid, but ID cards issued to State employees and students at State universities are not.

    • Errol
      May 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Much obliged for that snippet: I didn’t know you had to pay to be able to vote in the US. I have to say I disagree with that practice. ID, certainly, paying for it? Makes me uncomfortable. Out of interest how much is the fee? £50, £10?

      • Voice of Reason
        May 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

        I believe that the fees are of the order of $40 now for the state-issued ID’s.

    • Mudplugger
      May 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Add to that the reports that around 90% of Americans don’t have a passport, the default form of ID elsewhere, so will need some other form of acceptable ID, with the cost implications. Most of that 90% will be poor folk.

  4. Stonyground
    May 5, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I can see a sort of catch 22 type thing happening here. If the poor people don’t vote then the politicians see no reason to even attempt to represent them. If the politicians don’t represent them then that leaves them with no one to vote for.

    Then again, I live in the UK, I’m not particularly rich but I’m not poor either. I always vote but, nowadays, I’m feeling pretty disenfranchised by the total lack of credible non-lefties available.

    • Mudplugger
      May 5, 2016 at 8:35 am

      The close correlation between voting-patterns and ‘freebies’ is best illustrated by politicians of all parties falling over themselves to spread good-cheer amongst pensioners – they consistently vote in far greater numbers than any other age-group, so collect substantial ‘bribes’ to influence their choices.
      It’s quite perverse because the oldies will not be around to see the future effects of their voting but hey, who cares, so long as the Triple-Lock Pension, Winter Fuel Allowance, Free TV License, Bus-Pass and £10 Christmas Bonus all keep arriving, whether we need/deserve them or not.

      • Bucko
        May 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        Maybe if you’ve paid into the system your entire life, you do deserve something back in old age.

        • Mudplugger
          May 5, 2016 at 8:14 pm

          I’d be more impressed if, as a result of paying into the system, you got more votes than those who do not pay in, but merely collect from the system.
          Imagine if you got an extra vote for every £1,000 or part thereof that you contributed in personal Income Tax and NI……
          Now that would put a cat amongst the pigeons of political bribe-giving.

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