If Low Voter Turnout is Your Goal and Voter Restriction Your Stance, Maybe It Is Time to Change Your Platform

The quadrennial midterm election is upon us. Oh the passion, the pageantry of it all. If only the electorate was as engaged as the talking heads (but then again, it is their livelihood). One party seems to benefit from and encourages low turnout. To the point where they continually try to put up obstacles to potential voters. Instead of trying to limit voters, isn’t it more sensible to have a platform that engages more people?

Yes, I’m talking about the Republican Party. There are many aspects of their platform that are outdated and will never garner enough support from the general public.

First, the platform should be devoid of any social issues. Not because I think government should not be in the business of affecting social change (suffrage and civil rights movements are two good examples), but the party purports to not want government in our bedrooms while trying to define what marriage should be. They are flatly against abortion rights in the name of protecting family values but what sense does it make to bring an unwanted child into the world? Against gambling over the Internet, but in person okay? It appears the party is schizophrenic when it comes to social issues.

Second, while I’m in favor of the Second Amendment, that doesn’t mean every Tom, Dick, and Harry should have the right to bear arms. The party supports a database for sex offenders, why not one for those with a criminal background or a history of mental health so they cannot purchase a gun? It’s reported that 70% of gun related deaths are self-inflicted. Wouldn’t that indicate a need for a position in the platform for mental health funding?

These are just two of the changes needed to make the Republican Party more appealing to a wider audience. Then it should make the last change: eliminating the defense of the electoral college. It’s an concept that has outlived its time. Yes we are a federalist form of government but national elections are no longer national. They are waged in very narrow battlegrounds that leave large portions of the United States uninvolved. With a platform that is more inclusive, less contradictory, and more engaging, a national popular vote would be less scary.

Jeffrey Hastie
jahastie@gmail.com
@jhastie963