Jerry Robert’s column “Electoral Apartheid” suggests to me that the idea of citizens being politically powerless is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Roberts cites a new study by the Public Policy Institute of California that reveals broad social, economic, and political disparities between voters and nonvoters. This appears to offer proof that we really have to take action before politicians will attend to our needs and institute progressive changes, like those long since called for in Green Party platforms across the U.S. and around the world.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign seems in this regard an excellent example of one thing that happens when we don’t take such action. The presence of a vocal and active electorate — one that actually votes — has in the past been able to elicit at least token gestures from U.S. politicians. Clinton’s campaign may be an example of just such tokenism, as I’m concerned that Secretary Clinton will not really be able to champion the sort of changes the people of this nation need the most.
Unfortunately, statistics and opinions seem prone to move the dialog in indistinct and hypothetical directions. Nonetheless, however it came to be, the fact that these days we don’t seem to elect national representatives who share the interests of all U.S. citizens (including people who aren’t even eligible to vote) speaks to far more tangible and demonstrable realities. It suggests that our two-party system has grown past thinking it needs to represent those interests, our interests, any more. And that, my friends, has been part of your local Green Party’s position since the 1980s.