Which demographic has most squandered their power?

Of course some the demographics are intersectional, lots of the Hispanic demographic is millennial for example, but broad brush stroke. I see those overlapped two as the big contenders.

Hispanic voters are 12% of all eligible voters. Turnout was under 48% in 2016. (All White was over 65%.)

Millennialsare about 31% of all eligible voters and turnout was under 50%.

Any other nominations?

Texas hispanics. Turnout changed very little in 2016: it was 40.5% vs. 38.8% in 2012. White turnout in TX was north of 60%.

Ex-felons who have been released from prison.

Lots of felons live in swing states, but even when they can vote their turnout is only about ~20%. If ex-felons had turnout rates closer to 40-50%, and if they could vote in every state they could swing a lot of elections. If felons could vote in all 50 states, and turnout was higher (even if it was only 50%) that would lead to close to 10 million extra votes.

I don’t think millennials have squandered their power. Voter turnout goes up with age, and they haven’t lived long enough to have high turnout.

Lots of different ways to measure “squandered”. Low turn-out is certainly one. Splitting your vote between the major parties is another. Not turning your votes into actual results (being “taken for granted” by the party) is another.

It take slight issue with the use of the term “squandered”. Yes, by definition these groups are squandering their power, I suppose, but that’s like saying a beaten dog has squandered it’s power by not biting it’s master ('cause it doesn’t want more beatings)?

There are many factors that play into lowering voter turnout, as there are many ideas being marketed into the public consciousness that incentivize people to eschew voting.

The GOP has been effective in alienating minorities and youth voters, as well as anyone who might be loosely termed “other”. Their “voter ID” project has created the sense that there are seemingly insurmountable hurdles to voting for people who are not fully integrated into the white christian capitalist society.

Whereas, as HurricaneDitka has alluded, the Democratic Party has not convinced many of these voters that the party will truly work for them.

So, what you gonna do? It’s no wonder that turnout is lower for these cohorts.

But since they can’t vote in every state, that’s not a demographic squandering their power.

I’d have to see some more numbers before I buy that they would swing a lot of elections with a 50% turnout. I also have my doubts they are a meaningful demographic when it comes to voting - their underlying race and economic background is probably more important.

6.1 million felons cannot vote due to disenfranchisement laws. About ~20 million have a felony conviction.

Felon turnout rates are lower but that is probably because voter turnout rates are lower among people who are younger and have less education.

Only 22.2% of felons voted in 2008.

So if you have ~14 million people who vote at 22% (with another 6 million who can’t vote) and you magically wave a wand and now all 20 million can vote with 50% turnout, that means you go from 3 million voters to 10 million voters.

Race is more important, as a large % of felons are non-whites. But that is partly why these laws were created, to make voting harder for non-whites.

Is there something to be said for wimmenfolk?

We’re fast coming up on, what, the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, so they’ve long been the majority — so, if the government reflected the electorate, I’d guess that half, or at least a quarter, of the House and Senate would be female. Or half, or at least a quarter, of the state Governors? How about state legislatures: you’d maybe expect at least one to have a female majority? But it just ain’t so.

(And, sure, it wouldn’t directly translate into a Supreme Court majority; but, at some point, is a 4-Out-Of-9 minority foreseeable instead of a 3-Out-Of-9 minority?)

@Wesley Clark
But those numbers aren’t spread evenly. The one swing state that jumps out is Florida. Restoring the franchise to felons there would certainly make things interesting. However, Florida apparently accounts for 27% of all disenfranchised felons*(!), so right off the bat you’ve got a lot less of your extra 7million votes to spread around to other swing states. Virginia could likely be affected too.

This might not be “squandering” per se, but someone once pointed out that because African-Americans vote so overwhelmingly Democratic, they actually wield relatively little clout as a voting bloc. Democratic politicians take their vote for granted and don’t have to cater to them particularly, and Republican politicians don’t even bother trying to win their votes to begin with.

I have to go with women. Too many refused to vote for a qualified woman and instead voted for a confessed sexual predator for president. Many in Alabama voted for a pedophile for Senator. Neither of these yardbirds should have gotten over 40% of the vote, yet one was elected and the other very nearly was. When you have half the population and only 19% of the House, 22% of the Senate, and 12% of governors you’re not well represented.

I would have to say men. After all, they voted for an unelectable woman in the Dem primary, giving us Trump, when there was two perfectly good men in the running. Also, women weren’t even allowed to vote and men gave away that advantage by adopting the 19th amendment. What were they thinking squandering that power?

Women have higher turnout than men in elections, generally making up about 53-55% of voters compared to 45-47% of men.

But it is what it is. White men made up 34% of voters in 2016, but I think about 3/4 of GOP politicians and half of democratic politicians are still white men.

Also in Alabama, one reason Jones won is because white women stayed home in large numbers rather than vote for either candidate.

Women have to be on the ballot in order for someone to vote for them. Can’t blame women for not voting for someone who isn’t on the ballot.

But I think the thread would be a lot more fun if we ran it like an SNL skit of a Japanese Game Show (re: Who is the Laziest American Worker?) :slight_smile:

Does the term squandering imply that these groups would vote in a block based on their demographic? It’s probably accurate, and simultaneously sad.

Representation doesn’t mean a common skin shade, eye color, hair style, or gender. At least I hope it doesn’t.

One of the major reasons Hillary lost was because she made the mistake of taking the AA vote for granted. She assumed they would all turn out and vote for her. She was right, except for the “turn out” part.


I don’t know if you can blame Hillary for that, because she wasn’t going to get the kind of turnout among black voters that Obama did.

Lots of things did Hillary in, she lost due to 100k votes in a handful of states. Lots of things could’ve changed that (not having Stein on the ticket, doing better among high school educated whites, higher turnout among millennials, higher turnout among blacks, etc).

I suppose the democrats do take black voters for granted. But despite that, their turnout is almost as high as whites and is higher than latinos or asians. Maybe because people have fought so hard to ensure blacks can’t vote and they appreciate their rights more.

It would seem that the OP means it as “votes the least”, but others are interpreting it as “doesn’t vote for for their own kind (race, sex, ethnicity)”. The latter is indeed sad as it’s a bigoted view of the way people should vote.

I am in fact interested in different arguments as to what should qualify as “squander.” In my mind it is not just voting the least but voting the least while voting more would have made more of an impact to whatever issues or outcomes seem to matter most to the demographic, assuming some broadly shared desired outcome within the demographic.

Another way to look at it is a demographic that would be being pandered to and romanced by all if only they had consistently high turnout.