After getting shellacked in two midterm elections — losing the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 — President Obama floated an idea to make sure his party never loses another election again — mandatory voting.
The president floated the idea when he was asked about the influence money plays in American politics when speaking before a Cleveland civic group Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it “potentially transformative.”
This is evocative of his October 2008 campaign speech, when he said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
Obama also claimed in his speech yesterday that universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”
Universal voting would counteract something else as well: Any notion of an informed electorate.
According to the AP:
Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he said in a veiled reference to voter identification laws in a number of states.
Less than 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.
And the “younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse” have one thing in common — they tend to vote for the Democratic Party.
And they do so not because of the candidate or the issues, but because that’s what they’ve been led to believe they should do — vote blindly for any candidate with a “D” behind his name in the misguided impression that they’ve done their civic duty.
Money and politics is a sore issue for Obama. He actually took the time to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court during his 2010 State of the Union address, claiming it had ruled incorrectly in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission.
In that case, the court opened the doors to unlimited corporate donations by ruling that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political expenditures by non-profit corporations.
From his remarks Wednesday, Obama is still smarting from that decision, although, oddly enough, the Citizens United case helped him win re-election in 2012 through his use of super-PACs.
The president’s suggestion didn’t escape the attention of the Twitterers:
— John (@1953jwb) March 19, 2015
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