What if we held an election, and almost nobody showed up?
In Florida’s 19th Congressional District, voters on Tuesday nominated a Tea Party-endorsed, very wealthy businessman to be the Republican candidate in a special June election for the now-vacant seat in the U.S. House.
The 19th is considered a “safe” Republican district, so the primary winner, Curt Clawson, is more or less a shoo-in to go to Congress.
Just for the moment, ignore the fact that Clawson loaned his own campaign $2.6 million of his money, and much of that was spent on TV ads that dominated Gulf Coast television in recent weeks. In simplest terms, he and outside PACs bought the election.
An equally gruesome fact is that only 26,857 Florida Republicans voted for Clawson in the 4-way primary race—he got about 38% of the vote.
Now, there are roughly 525,000 voting-age adults in the 19th District.
So, the bad news is: about 5% of the voting-age population has chosen Florida’s newest member of Congress.
As far as I know, at no time in our history have we had sustained, full, informed participation in voting by everyone eligible to vote at the time.
The “democracy” thing ain’t working too well.