Democracy. One person, one vote. A concept that millions have died for, in revolutions and war. Democracy, a concept that has its modern roots in Ancient Greece, written about and then codified in Athenian law. Rule of the people. As opposed to aristocracy, rule of the elite. Increasingly, the lines between democracy and aristocracy, are blurred by modern government. We elect people who, in ideal circumstances, represent the majority of voters who cast their ballots for political candidates. We call our 'democracy', a representative republic.
Nothing is further from the truth. Our politicians are elected by a minority of voters, with an even larger population of eligible voters who have only, silently, given tacit consent. Tacit consent by eligible voters who did not directly consent to party rule by either majority party. Yet, those who remained silent by not casting a ballot, have consented - in some way - to the policies of both parties, that govern America.
"The people lay down the conditions which the king is bound to fulfill. Hence they are bound to obedience only conditionally, namely, upon receiving the protection of just and lawful government…the power of the ruler is delegated by the people and continues only with their consent." -George Sabine, A History of Political Theory, p381, paraphrasing Theodore Beza from 1579 A.D.A government's legitimacy and moral right are obtained by "consent of the governed" who, by voting or not, confer that legitimacy and moral right upon whichever politician is elected by the majority of eligible voters, of whom are comprised of voters and non-voters. If an eligible voter does not vote then he or she still consents to be governed, even if that non-voter does not agree with his rulers. Silence confers legitimacy and moral right upon whichever politician of whichever party manages to garner the majority, thereby winning the election of those who do vote.
Dissent is only registered by those who actively participate in the electoral process, by voting. Voting is an active voice against those who would rule. Not voting is tacit consent, a passive voice of those who may not agree with the policies of their political leaders, yet by the very act of not voting, provides tacit consent by their silence.
In the US 2012 presidential elections, President Obama was re-elected with fifty-one percent of the popular vote. Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney managed to persuade forty-seven percent of voters that he should be President, yet failed. Roughly one to two percent of voters registered their dissent with both candidates by voting for neither, instead choosing to vote for third-party candidates, or by marking 'none of the above', or writing in a candidate for President.
President Obama obtained consent of the governed. The Democratic Party, as opposed to Democratic voters, retained control of the Senate, while Republicans gained seats in The House of Representatives. All politicians obtained consent of the governed - both those so governed, who voted, and by those who did not vote.
Both parties are minority parties. Both parties and their politicians obtained consent of the governed with a minority of votes. The reality is that, President Obama was re-elected with twenty-nine percent of eligible voters while twenty seven percent of eligible voters registered dissent with President Obama's leadership, by voting for Mitt Romney. Two percent of voters registered dissent with both candidates. Furthermore, dissenting votes by Republican voters returned The House to Republican rule while Democratic Party candidates retained consent of the governed, to remain the majority in The Senate.
The reported results of The 2012 Presidential Primary:
- Obama - 51%,
- Romney - 47%
- Other - 2%
- Obama - 29.7%
- Romney - 27%
- Other - 2%
- Not Voting - 41%
By the reported results, President Obama obtained an overwhelming mandate, which was reported as such by The Democratic Party. This mandate he obtained has allowed him to conduct himself as he has, pursuing policies against traditional Democratic values. Because he has consent of the governed.
In reality, President Obama and the Democratic Party obtained consent of the governed, yet - by using the real results of the 2012 elections - are in effect, a minority government elected by a minority of eligible voters - who retain majority rule in the Senate and control the administration. Republicans achieved the same in the House of Representatives. Both parties are elected by the minority and are minority parties, in light of the real results of the elections of 2012. Both have consent of the governed. Non-voters approved their retaining of their respective positions simply by not voting. In effect, non-voters vote for both parties in the same proportion as do the actual voters.
There are those who argue that voting does not matter. That voting is useless. That nothing will change in government. And those that advocate or believe so, are correct. By not voting, those non-voters are effectively consenting to be governed by both parties; parties who are free to pursue interests inimical to the well-being of those who are non-voters.
Silence is consent. Not voting, is silence. Not voting conveys legitimacy and moral authority upon those who are elected.
That legitimacy and moral authority is of enormous psychological value, once conveyed to those who are elected. Those elected by the majority of voters and non-voters, use legitimacy and moral authority to pursue their own or party interests. They have both. The non-voter, despite what he or she may think, disagree with, or object to; has already consented through their silence. Other governments recognize the legitimacy and moral authority of an elected government as obtained through the consent of the governed.
Silence is not dissent. It is merely being silent. Voting against an elected official or party, is dissent. Active dissent instead as opposed to passive acceptance, where one may speak out against their rulers' policies; yet have consented through their silence to a ruling party's policies.
Reconsider the 2012 Presidential Elections with the participation of all voters, as a theoretical, if one hundred percent of voters, had voted. By using the same numbers above, as to the real results:
- Obama: 29.7%
- Romney: 27%
- All Others: 56.3%
That fifty-six-point-three percent of voters did not consent to be governed if such would have been the case.
The psychological impact upon both parties, in such an outcome, would have dramatically weakened both parties. They would, in effect, by minority-elected representatives. These results would scare them as they know that the majority of voters had voted against their rule. That the political landscape of America could be changed if enough voters among those fifty-six-point-three percent, could only find a common cause and candidates.
The reality of the number of those who actually cast votes for President Obama, stands at twenty-nine-point-seven percent. The Republican Party knows this. The psychological value of the real number is invaluable to blocking President Obama's initiatives. Simply because The Republican leadership knows, without a doubt, that President Obama was elected with such a low number of ballots cast. That President Obama only has consent of the governed due to those who remained silent, by not voting. That those voters will most likely remain silent in future elections.
Paul Weyrich, considered by many to be the Founding Father of Modern Conservatism, through The Moral Majority and other conservative institutions, openly advocated that the less people who vote, the better off the Republican Party is in winning elections. In a speech before Conservatives in Dallas, Texas, in the Fall of 1980, Paul Weyrich remarked, "Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome — good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
Paul Weyrich, as a conservative Republican, railed against good government. Good government that can come about by increasing voter participation. The consent of the governed. By registering dissent through the voting process - even if you do not win - sends a powerful message to those who govern in our stead. Legitimacy and moral authority are stripped from politicians and ruling parties when the majority actively dissent through active participation in the election of officials.
Governments fall because of dissent. Societal transformation is achieved, eventually, when the majority actively dissent, thus stripping elected officials of the majority of legitimacy and moral authority, conferred upon them, by voters. Such results are not instantaneous. There is no short-cut to change. Electing one person will not provide that change.
As long as those who do not vote, believing in the fallacy that by not voting that they are actively dissenting; fail to actively register their dissent. Silence is consent to both The Democratic and Republican Parties, that they have the legitimacy and moral authority, to act upon the behalf of our population. By not voting, you do not speak to power.
Those who believe they dissent by not voting, the politicians have nothing to fear from those who do not voice their opinion through the ballot box. The ballot box is what elects them. The ballot box is where they obtain their legitimacy and moral authority. The results of the ballot box are only registered by those who vote. The remaining of eligible voters who fail to vote; remain silent, thus conferring tacit consent upon those who would govern.
For those who protest against the ruling party(ies), for those who advocate policies to their liking; for those who fail to vote? The only protest that matters is the protest cast at the ballot box. Politicians will still be elected. Non-voters are simply absent.
What possible effects do non-voters have upon the electoral process? American politics, as measured through polls, is seen as about evenly split between the policies of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Polls show this. The casting of ballots reflect this. Yet, a significant minority of voters are missing from the results used to prove such an almost even split between voters. Poll results are simply that. We can not know what the real gap between the polls that show an almost even split is; if the polls are real. Without the participation of the majority of voters. A meme is established that America is an almost evenly divided nation, between liberals and conservatives. Polls show this. The ballot box - through the popular vote with the participation of the majority of voters - does not and can not show the reality.
Consider, also, that the less eligible voters that vote, the easier it may be to manipulate the results of an election, thereby enabling the theft of elections through vote-count fraud. Anomalies in American political races have been reported through the use of one of the most reliable methods to detect fraud: exit polls. When such anomalies have been encountered, the most reliable indicator of fraud - exit polls - has been discounted. One factor that may influence such a conclusion of unreliability with exit polls is that the so few vote in the local races.
Passive consent by non-voters is key to the Democratic and Republican parties, to continue to pursue policies inimical to America's interests. To your interests. The the interests of the public good and well being. To America's Common-Weal. Common Wealth. Common Well-Being.
Both parties are crudely represented by social divisions, who pursue roughly the same economic policies of neoliberal economics, and who pursue the foreign policy of the neoconservative movement that dictates America's actions around the world, in relation to other nations. With both active and passive consent, of those who vote and non-voters respectively, legitimacy and moral authority to pursue such policies, is granted.
In one sense, active voters who elect their leaders only provide a minority consent. Thus, a rule by the minority. Coupled with passive consent by those non-voters, both parties are able to realize a consent of the governed. Non-voters, are in effect, voting for the policies of both parties, irregardless of the non-voters' personal beliefs and actions. Dissent at the ballot box is the only dissent that matters to a politician. It is only through the ballot box that a politician is elected. A politician has nothing to fear from those who do not vote, who do not register their dissent.
Register your dissent. Vote. Even if you do not win, you will be counted. Or forever, remain silent with the politicians knowing, that they have nothing to fear from you since you refuse, as a non-voter, to be heard where it counts: at the ballot box.
For those of you who say, that the elections are stolen? Remember Paul Weyrich. He is right. You are not. Elections are easier to steal, the fewer that vote.
Don't vote? Well, non-voters are only signaling, "Bye Bye, Democracy!"