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POLS 102 SDSU Democracy and Voting Discussion

POLS 102 SDSU Democracy and Voting Discussion


Title: Explaining Nonvoting in Recent US Elections: Elite Democrats vs. Popular Democrats

Introduction: The phenomenon of nonvoting in the United States has been a persistent concern in recent elections (2008 – 2020). Both elite Democrats and popular Democrats offer differing perspectives on the reasons behind the high level of nonvoting. This paper aims to delve into the explanations put forth by these two factions within the Democratic Party, comparing and contrasting their views, and assessing whether anything has changed in light of the most recent election involving Biden and Trump.

Elite Democrats’ Perspective on Nonvoting: Elite Democrats tend to attribute the high levels of nonvoting to structural factors that suppress voter turnout. They argue that the United States’ complex electoral system, including voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and limited access to polling places, disproportionately affects marginalized communities. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, these laws disproportionately impact minority voters, young voters, and low-income individuals, resulting in voter suppression.

In addition to structural barriers, elite Democrats often emphasize the influence of corporate interests and the role of money in politics. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that vast sums of money are spent on campaigns, leading to a perception that the political process is skewed towards the wealthy elite. This perception can discourage voters who feel their voices are overshadowed by powerful interests.

Popular Democrats’ Perspective on Nonvoting: Popular Democrats take a more grassroots-oriented view of nonvoting. They emphasize socioeconomic factors and disillusionment with the political system as reasons behind non-participation. Income inequality, job insecurity, and lack of access to affordable healthcare are often cited by popular Democrats as issues that lead to voter apathy. These factors, along with a sense that the political establishment does not adequately address them, contribute to a feeling of alienation and disengagement from the electoral process.

Moreover, popular Democrats highlight the need for candidates who can inspire and mobilize voters, particularly from traditionally marginalized communities. They argue that candidates who can offer tangible policy solutions to pressing issues, along with a sense of representation and inclusivity, are more likely to motivate nonvoters to participate in elections.

Comparison and Contrast: The primary distinction between the elite and popular Democratic perspectives lies in their emphasis on structural barriers versus grassroots factors. Elite Democrats concentrate on legal and structural impediments that hinder voter access, while popular Democrats focus on socioeconomic issues and the need for relatable, inspiring candidates.

Recent Election (Biden and Trump): The 2020 election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump brought about several noteworthy developments in relation to nonvoting. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the significance of accessible voting methods, leading to a substantial increase in mail-in and early voting. This potentially eased some structural barriers, but the overall level of nonvoting remained a concern.

Joe Biden’s candidacy aimed to appeal to both elite and popular Democratic perspectives. He presented policy solutions to address healthcare, racial inequality, and climate change while also advocating for fair and accessible elections. This comprehensive approach might have contributed to increased voter turnout in certain demographics.

However, the persistence of nonvoting points to the complex interplay of structural, socioeconomic, and motivational factors. While the pandemic prompted adaptations in voting methods, it did not fully eliminate concerns about voter suppression or political disillusionment.

Conclusion: The high level of nonvoting in recent US elections is a multifaceted issue that is understood differently by elite and popular Democrats. Structural barriers, corporate influence, socioeconomic challenges, and candidate appeal are all contributing factors. The 2020 election showcased some improvements in addressing these issues, but the phenomenon of nonvoting remains deeply rooted in the US electoral landscape. As the Democratic Party continues to grapple with this challenge, a holistic approach that addresses both structural and grassroots factors will be essential for enhancing voter participation and strengthening democratic representation.

POLS 102 SDSU Democracy and Voting Discussion



Thinking about more recent elections (2008 – 2020) how do elite democrats explain the high level of nonvoting in the United States? What assumptions do they make about the reasons why people choose to vote or not to vote? Compare and contrast this view with the explanation of popular democrats. Has anything changed with the most recent election (Biden and Trump), why or why not?

Remember anything you use from any other source must be accurately cited and quoted, without proper citations will be considered as plagiarizing/cheating and will result in a zero (0) grade for the exam and referral to academic affairs. You should write as if you are writing a paper with an argument, proper spelling, and grammar.

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