Want to up voter participation rates? Two words: Black Friday.
Simply place a voting kiosk in all the most popular retail stores on the most profitable day of the holiday shopping season, and you’ll see a tidal wave of new voters.
Why? Because, according to a new report from the New York Times, more people are willing to brave the crowds for a $400 50-inch TV than pick a leader of the free world.
And by “more,” the Times means a LOT more.
The news site noted that estimates place the total number of Black Friday shoppers at almost twice that of midterm voters. Mediaite’s Tina Nguyen confirms.
“To ensure that this was not a lie made by socialist commies,” Nguyen writes. “The number of Black Friday participants comes from the National Retail Federation, which predicted 140.1 million would go shopping this weekend — a slight dip from the 140.3 million who went out last year.”
“According to data collected by the United States Election Project, only 76.9 million people turned out to vote in the 2014 midterm elections— the lowest turnout since World War II, when the population of America was less than 150 million people.
“America is broken.”
America being “broken” is certainly one way of looking at it.
The opposing viewpoint, however, is that wishes of the American people have been ignored for so long and lobbyists have stacked the deck to the point that voters feel like their participation doesn’t matter any more.
As the argument goes, there is too much money in politics.
Those who’ve lost their faith in the power of voting point out that to even be considered for the presidency, one would have to be a multi-millionaire.
Even with tools like Facebook and Twitter and other free platforms for getting the word out, a grassroots candidate would find it hard competing because he or she can’t outspend candidates who are capable of buying millions of dollars in ad time and hiring the best PR officials and spin doctors money can buy.
There are clearly many disenfranchised voters who have seen the changing of the guard one too many times to believe that a vote is worth the effort.
But what do you think, readers? Is voting still the best bet that the American population has of making a difference or are Americans simply as broken as Nguyen suggests? And what are you more likely to do — Black Friday shop or vote in an election?
[Image via ShutterStock]