The results of Tuesday’s “earth shattering” election are quite revelatory, but not for the reasons bruited about by your average MSNBC/Fox/CNN vacuous pundit.
Although President Obama won’t use the word—and bless him for it—it was a “shellacking” which the voters meted out to the Democratic Party. But let’s examine this “mandate” a bit further.
The turnout for the midterm election stands at 36%, a low not seen since the 1940s. That’s 36% of registered voters. Voter registration in its turn doesn’t encompass all eligible voters. This Al Jazeera article has this telling paragraph:
Election turnout is often cited as an indicator of the strength of the mandate of winning candidates, but it can be a misleading statistic: Turnout is usually measured as a proportion of registered voters rather than of those eligible to vote — and census numbers show that more than 70 million U.S. citizens of voting age are not registered voters.
Get that? 70 million Americans who are eligible to vote aren’t even registered. What does this mean? That the number of registered voters is at best a bare majority of eligible voters. And then that the voters who turned out were a minority of that number. And then that the GOP “landslide” depended on a further minority of registered voters, which in turn doesn’t account for all eligible voters.
This opens up a veritable cornucopia of delicious dysfunction.