Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Voter Fatigue is Lame

There are 18 declared Republican and Democratic contenders, so far... which in my mind is not nearly enough. I wanna see 30+ contenders, stranded on an island, put through an American Gladiator-esqe maze-o-death with guns that shoot tennis balls and as they are forced to debate the merits of stem cell research and immigration law...I cannot get enough of these guys! But, there are others... The feeble, the weak. The ones that need a summer break from the candidates. I poop on their weakness.

Although... despite my immaturity and blind enthusiasm, I am not without self evaluation.

Let's think about this for a second. Am I off base for pooping? Is there really candidate interest fatigue? Or is it a broader systemic apathy towards our political machine?

A mere 3 million people watched the debates recently...a minuscule number compared to the 70 million that watched the Kennedy / Nixon debate in 1960.

In 1960 we had 179 Million people in the US. Today, we have 300 Million. Which means, in 1960, 39% watched the debate and today 1% are watching. Geez. Even if we are busy with Xbox, Sopranos finales and MySpacing...isn't this an overly pronounced drop off in relative interest? I'd say the answer is yes. Yes, there is systemic apathy, but I'd also argue that the driven minority of us shouldn't stop buzzing on our government. There is just too much drama in these candidates.

The parallel question is: Will online buzz and subsequent online voting effect future voter turnout. If we don't have enough energy to drive to a polling place and stand in line, will we have just enough motivation to make a few clicks? I'd argue that we'll see a return to our voter turnout prominence once we make it easier to vote. We'll see.

Read more from a proper journalist on voter fatigue HERE.

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