Independent Voter Project

Houston Chronicle: Polarized Politics Mean Almost No One Is Happy

A paltry 36.6 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2014 midterm elections. Many believed that they were voting for change, or that their votes mattered. For the vast majority, neither was true.

Change is extremely unlikely, despite the outcome, if one sensibly defines change as ending gridlock in our nation's capitol. Both major parties have proven inept at dealing with our biggest challenges, and shifting the advantage from one to the other is just another turn in an ongoing, downward spiral.

According to nonpartisan projections, only 50 of this year's 471 congressional midterm races were competitive. Instead of blaming voter apathy for low turnout, we should ask why nearly 90 percent of contests were decided during the party primaries.

It's a common misperception that polarization in Washington reflects a divided American electorate. In reality, more Americans identify their views as mixed than either conservative or liberal. The problem lies at the state level, where election laws have been perverted to favor extremists at the expense of the middle.

Read more on the Houston Chronicle


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