Barack Obama’s Excuse for Ignoring Election

The new Senator-elect from West Virginia points out Barack Obama’s excuse which he is using to ignore the election. As the Washington Times reports, “Obama didn’t get the message from voters, says new GOP senator.”

2014 election

Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito said Sunday that President Obama did “not really” get the message that voters sent in the midterm elections when they gave Republicans complete control of Congress.

“When he says he hears two-thirds of the people who are not voting, what kind of message could he possibly be getting,” Mrs. Capito, West Virginia Republican, said on “Fox New Sunday.”

She referred to Mr. Obama’s comments at a press conference the day after the election, when he said: “To everyone who voted, I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too.”

It is true that many chose not to participate, but there is no reason to think that such non-participation makes the election invalid.

Boycotting elections can sometimes indicate a rejection of the regime and an attempt to clearly deny the legitimacy of the government. Maybe that will happen in the United States some day. But it didn’t happen in this election. Unlike Australia (thankfully), no one is required to vote in this nation. One can simply not care and thus act (or not act) on the basis of that apathy.

But all that means is that the election was decided by those who cared about the outcome. And among those who cared, Republicans overwhelmingly won.

Consider how surveys are done. Pollsters don’t ask everyone for their opinion. They only take a small sample and then they extrapolate their findings to draw conclusions about what everyone thinks. Democrats use such polls. President Barack Obama uses such polls. So no one denies the principle that small samples can reflect the will of larger groups.

In the case of voting, someone could argue that, because the sample is self-selecting, it is less likely to reflect the feelings of the general population.

[See also, “Republicans Won Big So They Need to Rebuild Their Brand”]

But even so, since Republicans won by a landslide in many areas, there is no reason to think the results were completely different than what would have resulted from more voters. Perhaps the margin of victory would not have been as great, but there is no reason to believe that the results would have skewed toward the Democrats.

Since Obama is a lame duck President, it really doesn’t matter to him what voters do. He doesn’t need to be re-elected. I suppose he feels the need to try to offer some reassurances to his fellow politicians in the Democratic Party. But his excuse is an empty one. The fact that Democrats couldn’t get their own base out in large enough numbers to rescue them from such a stinging defeat is a significant failure, no matter how small the voter turnout.