Disaffected U.S. Electorate Shows Old Political Model is Failing

The article discusses a growing sense of disaffection among U.S. voters, with low voter turnout and openness to alternative candidates suggesting the old political model is failing to engage the electorate. This disaffection poses a risk of voters turning to populist or extremist candidates, potentially eroding trust in democratic institutions.

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Olalekan Adigun
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Disaffected U.S. Electorate Shows Old Political Model is Failing

Disaffected U.S. Electorate Shows Old Political Model is Failing

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, a growing sense of disaffection among U.S. voters suggests that the old political model is failing to engage and motivate the electorate. Recent polls and primary election results indicate that many voters are dissatisfied with the current crop of candidates and are open to considering alternative options.

In the recent Pennsylvania primary election, less than 30% of eligible voters participated, a sign of the lack of enthusiasm among the electorate, particularly younger voters who are not excited about a potential rematch between President Biden and former President Trump. A significant number of Pennsylvania voters even chose candidates who had already dropped out of the race, further highlighting the disconnect between the candidates and the voters.

The disaffection among voters is not limited to Pennsylvania. A recent NBC News poll reveals that a quarter of all U.S. voters are still open to changing their minds on the candidate they plan to support in November. The poll shows that 26% of registered voters say there is a chance they could vote for a different presidential candidate, while 66% say they have made up their minds. The group of voters who are open to changing their minds tend to be younger, particularly younger women, independents, and those with negative feelings about both Trump and Biden.

Why this matters: The growing disaffection among U.S. voters has significant implications for the future of American democracy. As more voters become disillusioned with the current political system, there is a risk that they may turn to populist or extremist candidates who promise to upend the status quo. This could further erode trust in democratic institutions and lead to increased polarization and instability.

The disaffection among voters is not just a matter of dissatisfaction with individual candidates, but a deeper concern about the state of American democracy itself. As The Hill article argues, many voters can now see the threat that Donald Trump poses to America's liberal democracy, despite some still professing not to see it. The article suggests that the answer to this willingness to support Trump lies in a decline in what the Founders called 'public virtue' - the virtuous love of liberty and equality that was seen as necessary to sustain popular support for the revolutionary liberal principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The article warns that the nightmare feared by the Founders, of a demagogue capturing the allegiance of enough voters to overthrow the system, is one election away from becoming a reality. Trump's open challenge to democracy, including his explicit promises to violate the Constitution, should be disqualifying, but Congress failed to remove him when given the chance, with Senate Republicans refusing to play the vital role envisioned for them.

As the 2024 election approaches, it remains to be seen whether the disaffected electorate will continue to support the old political model or whether new approaches will emerge to engage and motivate voters. The lack of enthusiasm could benefit independent or third-party candidates, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is seen as siphoning support from both Biden and Trump. However, the ultimate outcome will depend on whether voters can be persuaded to participate in the democratic process and support candidates who uphold the principles of liberal democracy.

Key Takeaways

  • Voter disaffection in 2024 election, with low turnout in PA primary.
  • 26% of US voters open to changing presidential candidate choice.
  • Disaffection could benefit populist/extremist candidates, eroding democracy.
  • Trump's challenges to democracy may be disqualifying, but Congress failed to act.
  • Independent/third-party candidates like RFK Jr. could benefit from voter disaffection.