OP-ED: Want a revolution? It’s easy: Vote
I’m talking about a revolution.
Not the kind that gets you tear-gassed in the streets of Hong Kong, tortured in a Syrian prison or guillotined in the Place de la Concorde.
All we have to do for this revolution is show up to vote, first in our primaries, and then Nov. 3.
All of us.
Easiest. Revolution. Ever.
This surge at the polls would indeed be a revolution because it’s a given that so many won’t show up on Election Day.
Estimates vary, but data from the U.S. Census Bureau and research from the Sentencing Project indicate that 60.4 million eligible Americans haven’t bothered to register to vote. That’s a huge number of citizens sitting on the sidelines. That’s almost the same number of people who voted for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Are you one of those nonvoters? Then the pollsters and media pundits have already counted you out.
You’re not part of their polling, because they only count registered or likely voters. You’re not part of their electoral calculus. You’re not part of their plans. And you’re sure not a part of their budget.
That’s because they’re certain you’re not going to vote. So, they look right past you. You don’t matter. If you don’t vote, you’re invisible.
But, what if our voting habits changed overnight? What if those 60 million adults who’ve been sitting out showed up Nov. 3?
Wait, you say, voting is pointless. Politicians do what they want, you argue. Democracy is broken, you shrug. Well, it’s only broken in the way that your dust-collecting exercise bike or rowing machine doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because you’re not using it.
When huge swaths of the American people don’t vote, we cede outsize power to the people who actually do vote. When you are silent at the ballot box, the shouts of a small minority fill the void.
If we as an entire nation vote, things in Washington (and in our state and local governments) will be transformed. Here’s how:
—The candidate a true majority of us decide is the best will win, not the candidate whom a loud minority wants.
—The power of special interests will diminish as their funding can no longer work to motivate a small group of voters with outsize power.
—Policies that the majority of Americans say they want will finally start to happen.
The best part of this revolution is that it’s easy for each of us to pull our weight. The only thing each of us needs to do is to check a box. If we each go vote, and bring a few others with us to vote, we will all win.
If we all register, and the number of registered voters starts to swell meaningfully over the next several weeks and months, change will start to happen even before our elections. Candidates will notice and the narratives will begin to change. I guarantee it.
This is how we can ensure we have the power to choose whom we want to be as a nation. This is how we can remove the anxiety and fear for our futures. This is how we can determine the direction of the country we love for decades to come.
This is how we win the easiest revolution ever.
— Russell Glass is a board member of Rock the Vote, CEO of Ginger, an on-demand mental health company, and co-author of the children’s book “Voting With a Porpoise.”