Sunday, November 3, 2013

Reconsidering the "Lazy progressive voter" crutch

Noah Horwitz over at Texpatriate has been beating the drum recently about how Democratic voters need to turn out in midterm elections.

That's a perfectly legitimate stance -- fall off in Democratic turnout helps dooms progressives in mid-term elections.

But where we part ways (at least partially) is their description of "lazy" voters.

Turnout is a two way phenomenon -- people have to get up and vote. They have to be interested and be invested. This is true.

However, we need to remember the other side of turnout are the costs of voting. Registration takes time. You can't take off work. You can't get child care. There's a line out the door at your polling place. You have to get the proper IDs -- which entail more standing in line and more missing work you can't afford to miss.

And the major thing that limits the cost of voting in mobilization -- and how good were progressive mobilization efforts in a place like Texas in 2010 (in a few places, quite good, in most others, not so much)?

So when we talk about "lazy voters" we need to remember the institutional hurdles we throw up to participation in this country and in this state -- both in the formal election process and in the underlying economic environment.

Breaking those chains needs to be huge part of  progressive politics over the next decade (and every decade)

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