Tag Archives: Non voting

The Silent Majority, why no one will win the 2012 Presidential Election

10/23/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

A few days ago, we laid out three seemingly absurd reasons why we have decided not to vote in the upcoming elections, with the exception of city and county referendums.  If you missed it, you can read our rant here:

Three Reasons why we’ve stopped voting, The Trail of Tears

In the spirit of full disclosure of our voting record, we have voted in just two of the five Presidential elections that we have been eligible to cast a vote in.  Namely, in 2004, we voted for the incumbent on the indefensible reasoning of choosing the “Lesser of two evils,” for though it be the lesser, one has still chosen evil.  In 2008, we wrote in Ron Paul, albeit with an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness, as write in votes are, if anything, a symbolic gesture.

In the meantime, we have dutifully filled out countless circles on scantron sheets and scanned countless pages of voter’s guides in a fruitless effort to understand, to loosely quote Joe DiMaggio as he came upon his then wife, Marilyn Monroe, striking her now famous pose as she stood over a steam grate in Times Square, “what the hell is going on around here.”

By the time the most recent ballot arrived in the mail, along with a voter’s guide which rivaled the yellow pages in size, our disillusionment for what today passes as democracy was complete.  We resolved, then and there, to stop tacitly endorsing the enslavement and slaughter of persons with which we have no quarrel.  We would withhold our vote.

Given our history and our most recent resolution, it can be said that we have not exactly been the model of someone fulfilling their civic duty.  Yet strangely, since coming to grips with our non-voter status, we have never slept better.

Are we alone in our disillusionment?  Or is our shunning of civic responsibility something native to the American landscape?  We have taken it upon ourselves, fellow taxpayer, to provide you with the shocking answer to these questions.

We began by analyzing a data set of the total US voter turnout against the corresponding voting age population (VAP) at the time.  We chose the Presidential election years in the US as they are generally the election cycles which elicit the highest voter turnout.  Fortunately for us, the voter turnout  for the Presidential elections held from 1828 – 2008 is accessible on Wikipedia.

To arrive at the VAP totals, which were provided for the election years 1960 and later, for the prior elections (1828 – 1956), we did the simple inverse math of dividing the number of votes by the stated voter turnout percentage.  This gave us a “theoretical” VAP with which to perform our analysis.  We then pulled census data for each year which coincided with an election year to satisfy ourselves that our methods were sound.

Within the data set, we then broke the number of popular votes cast in each election, which is also available on Wikipedia, down three ways.  Those for the candidate with the majority of votes, those cast for the one who came in second, and the combined votes for all other candidates which were counted.  The counts are presented in the order of the highest number of popular votes received, not those cast by the electoral college.  It is interesting to note that in four times in US History (three of which, 1876, 1888, and 2000, appear in our data set) the candidate with the highest tally of popular votes was not elected to the Presidency.

We then took the number of popular votes by category and divided it against the VAP for those deemed eligible to vote to arrive at our final data point, the percentage of the VAP which cast a vote for the candidate.  As we did this, we added a fourth category which we call the “No vote,” to capture, for comparison purposes, the percentage of the VAP who simply did not cast a ballot.

We then took the four resulting percentages by election year, from 1828 – 2012* (*We extrapolated the findings based on 2008 turnout and today’s Intrade market for the election) and asked two questions:

1)  In each election analyzed, was the President elected by a simple majority of the total VAP?

2)  In each election analyzed, did the percentage of No votes represent an absolute majority of the VAP?

While we wouldn’t stretch this analysis to question the legitimacy of a Presidential election, the findings are nonetheless fascinating with regards to the presence of non-voters in America.  You can see a graphic of the percentages for each candidate juxtaposed against the “No vote” candidate by election year, on the plot below.

On the plot, the highest mark is the winner.  The “X” on the plot represents where the “No vote” candidate, if you will, would have finished.  The colors of the other markers, despite their blue, red, and green tones, do not indicate which party won that year, only the percentage of votes received by the first, second, and all other candidates for whom votes were cast:

In summary, when taken against eligible voters, the No vote majority began to emerge in 1916 after a 75 year hiatus, and took firm command of the polls in 1968.  However, 2012 is shaping up to be an exception, and, if current trends hold, it can be said that, come November 7th, there will be a President actively selected by a majority of the eligible VAP in the US for the first time since Lyndon B. Johnson.

Now, most voters in the US are aware that women were not allowed to participate in elections as voters until 1920.  Don’t worry ladies, nor the rest of those who were/are part of the disenfranchised, we have not forgotten you.  In fact, when the analysis is expanded to include all of the presumed VAP over 18, regardless of their technical eligibility to vote, (which is the number used to arrive at the voter turnout percentages) the results are even more dramatic:

What we see in this analysis is that, since 1828, there has been only one President who was elected by a simple majority of the VAP, Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.  In fact, those who did not vote consistently represented an absolute majority until 1928, which means, depending upon how one interprets the No-votes, there may not have been a President who was elected to office in the purest democratic sense until Eisenhower.  While we admit it is a bit far fetched, it is nonetheless fascinating to ponder.

Voter frustration/apathy, after taking a break through a good portion of the 20th century, returned to America in 1996, as Bill Clinton defied the indifferent masses, which again represented an absolute majority of Americans as it had in all pre 1928 elections, and extended his stay on Pennsylvania Avenue for four more glorious years.

Blanco o Nulo?  The question of interpretation of the Non-votes.

Blank or Null?  The answer to this question determines how one will ultimately interpret the data which we have gathered.  Are we to take the “No votes” as “votes in Blanco,” meaning that the lack of a countable vote signifies tacit assent to the selection of the voting majority?  This is the generally accepted analysis of the absence of votes in America, where voting is not obligatory.

Or shall we take them, or at least a portion of them, as “Nulo,” meaning that the absence of a countable vote signifies a disillusionment with the democratic process so deep that one simply refuses to go through the motions to lend even a shred of legitimacy to the process? 

In Bolivia, it is obligatory to vote, if you cannot provide proof that you have voted, you can face a fine, or worse.  This legal obligation has also given rise to an explicit form of voting, “in Nulo,” which can be cast if one chooses not to select one of the candidates or decide on a measure which has been presented.

It is the formalization of a conscientious objection.  The likes of which have only been officially tallied in US in the bizarre election of the year 2000, when a Washington DC resident filed a vote as an “abstention” in protest of Washington DC’s lack of representation in Congress.

So which is it, blanco or nulo?  It is an important question, and one that, unlike Bolivia, the United States voting regimen currently has no tool to answer.

We have provided a link to the data sheet used to create the above graphics so that you can check our work as well as expand and hopefully improve upon it.  Please feel free to download it and use it as you wish.

No Votes – Analysis and Charts of US Presidential Elections 1828-2012

As November 6, 2012 approaches, the votes are tallied, and a President of the United States is declared, stay tuned long enough to catch the data on voter turnout.  With the latest measure of voter apathy in hand, go to a quiet place and ask yourself the following question:

Did the American people win the election?  If our predictions are correct, the answer will be the same as it has been with regards to every election before and since everybody liked Ike:

We’ll have lost yet again.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for October 23, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.58
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.46
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.56
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.76%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,708 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.8%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.6%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,103
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,334,000,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,199,400,000,000

Three Reasons why we’ve stopped voting, The Trail of Tears

10/18/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As we watched the Presidential debate Tuesday night, along with the rest of the huddled American masses, we were hoping to hear something that would sway us from our current non-voter status.  We hardly listened to what was said, although our radar went up as one attendee asked about inflation, which happens to fall into our realm of interests.  The periscope of our consciousness went down, however, as each candidate responded in turn with a stream of words which registered as a vague reference to a non-entity referred to as “the economy.”

They just don’t get it.  And unless someone at the top “gets” the concept of inflation and its root causes very soon, the current form of the United States government may not exist by the time the next Presidential term is completed.

With the exception of the inflation bit, we hardly listened to what was said.  Politics, as most politicians will attest, has nothing to do with the keeping or breaking of promises.  In the end, these expensive popularity contests boil down to the intangible of charisma.

As such, we were more interested in the demeanor of the candidates.  Both, while giving the appearance of physically fit, well dressed, and well informed men, seemed to lack something we call the spark of life, that thing that makes you want to be around somebody.  The intangible of charisma, so hard to define, yet so apparent when present, did not make an appearance last night.

We decided to retain our current policy regarding democratic elections.

At The Mint, our current policy is to refrain from voting on all matters which ask us to reach beyond our own city and county.  Even then, we inform ourselves and vote, not on individuals seeking election to sinecures, but on specific referendums, generally with the dual aim of obtaining personal benefit and minimizing both our tax bill and governmental interference in our personal affairs.

As such, if and when we vote, it is an exercise in shameless self interest.

How did we arrive at such an unreasonable stance with regards to voting?  How can we consciously fail to perform our “civic duty” year in and year out and still live with ourselves?

The conscious decision not to vote, at its base, is our way of peacefully resisting what has become a shameless power grab at the highest levels of government.  A series of well intentioned actions at the Federal level has lead to a number of unintended consequences which are about to cause a great deal of suffering.

Beyond this philosophical objection, there are practical matters to consider, which we submit for your examination and comment:

1.  Mind-boggling complexity

From time to time, a ballot measure will be presented which will be stated in a manner so clearly that one can place a vote and know exactly what a yay or nay will mean in terms of real world consequences.  As for the rest of the ballot issues, along with the selection of lawmakers and judges as our proxies, one can’t be expected to keep up with the chaos that passes as national and state governments, and for the most part, we feel that participating in elections or the political process on at these levels is at best a waste of precious time and, at worst, encouraging an enterprise which long ago overstepped any reasonable boundaries, both in its authority and its ability to manage its finances.  At this point, the best one can hope for is to stay clear of the amoeba.

Large scale democracy has a nasty habit of imposing the will of a few on all via the ignorance or indifference of many.  Circa 2012, voters are rarely asked straightforward questions like “Is it ok to steal and kill?” They are instead asked questions like “Do you prefer a fellow named Obama or Romney to serve as President?”  We will ignore the fact that politicians on the State and National level are thrust immediately into situations where keeping promises depends upon factors far beyond their control, and simply recognize that the choosing the President of the United States does little or nothing to change the underlying bureaucracies and interests which have turned the Government of the United States into a strange form of benevolent mafia.

2.  The question of taxes.

By our calculations, we give up roughly 16 hours per year just compiling data for and filing the required tax declarations at the State and Federal levels.  Not to mention the time spent generating the money to pay said taxes.  On the county level, this seems reasonable.  The county even has the courtesy to calculate the tax bill for us and simply request payment.  As for compliance, it is simple, you either pay the bill or you don’t.

Further, if you think that your tax bill is too high, you can leave the City or County and find a City or County with a more reasonable tax regimen, or no regimen at all.

While leaving the City or County may be a costly step, it may be feasible for those who desire to move.  Relocating geographically from a State or a Country is quite another matter, which makes their manner of taxation both understandable and sinister.

The Federal and State governments, as opposed to most county governments, have a much different take on both taxation, as well as the rest of the authorities which they have granted themselves over their subjects.  We use the term “grant themselves” because, as anyone who has tried to vote their conscience on a ballot measure can attest, many measures are written in a way that simply makes the voter a tool in the hand of those who crafted the legislation.

{Editor’s note:  We will refrain from going into the argument that somehow, the illusion of democracy, the Western embodiment of the “Might makes right” mentality, creates a government with legitimacy on the scale the the State and Federal Governments circa 2012 claim.  It is sufficient to say that there are an abundance of examples which would argue to the contrary.}

Returning to taxation with regards to the State and Federal regimens, it is up to the individual to file a declaration each year at their own expense.  Naturally, the governments reserve the right to audit said declaration, again, at the taxpayers expense.  If any inconsistencies are encountered, the taxpayer faces a myriad of penalties from the payment of additional taxes and penalties up to and including serving time in prison.

Even this tack could be considered reasonable were the tax codes written in a straightforward manner.  As things are, the income tax code serves as nothing more than a spider’s web, designed to entangle all who tread it.  We are all caught in it, it is just a matter of time until the spider makes its way over to devour us.

The saving grace, if there is one with regards to the State and Federal tax regimen is this.  They can’t take us all.  While it is likely that every single American has failed to fully comply with the 73,608 page tax code, it is extremely unlikely that the spiders of the various Government or State tax authorities will ever get around to eating all of those who are caught in their web.  As with any predator, they tend to go after the larger prey first.

In this sense, adopting the Franciscan/Marxian belief that poverty is a virtue may keep one safely off of the spider’s radar.

3.  The Trail of Tears

While both complexity and having to pay for something are generally good enough reasons to abstain from any activity, the most compelling reason not to vote is one that is best understood by examining one of the most shameful examples of the modus operandi of the Federal Government:  Their well documented dealings with the Cherokee people, whose world collided with the Feds in the early 19th century in the Southeastern part of North America.

Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears, a painful chapter in US History – courtesy of http://katta1f.wikispaces.com/

We refrain from making value judgments and will simply examine the highlights of the interaction as we understand them.  A much more detailed account can be found, as always, in the Wikipedia.

The Cherokee found themselves generally prospering as a people and inhabiting lands in the Southeastern US in the 1700 and early 1800’s after presumably relocating there from the Great Lakes region.  During this time, they increasingly came into contact with European settlers and engaged them in trade.

As time went on, the increasingly organized and well armed colonies began to covet the lands of the various Indian groups in North America.  Once the revolution against the British and subsequent conflict known as the War of 1812 had been won, the States of the newly formed United States of America began to dispossess the various Indian peoples of their lands.

{Editors Note:  Sensitive readers are asked to excuse, for the moment, the use of the term “Indian” (Columbus most likely died believing that he had landed in India en route to China, hence the mistaken identity attached to Native Americans peoples), instead of the appropriate “Native American”.  The choice to change terms at this point in the essay was made consciously so that the reader may understand which groups were impacted by the barbarous Indian Removal Act.  No disrespect is implied or intended.}

While their tactics changed according to what was politically expedient at the time, the general policy of the State and Federal Governments was to ultimately expel the Indian populations and force them West, so that the vested interests of the States could take advantage of the lands which were occupied by the Indians.

What is most troubling about the treatment of the Cherokee people is that, from what we can tell, they had adapted to life amongst the new colonists and generally worked to comply with what were ultimately unreasonable demands of the governments.  As a case in point, the Cherokee allied themselves with and fought alongside the US against the pro-British factions during the War of 1812.  They served the US’s interests in the war alongside none other than Andrew Jackson.

Jackson later returned the favor by signing the Indian Removal Act in 1830 which sealed the Cherokee’s fate and began the final chain of events which would lead many of them to an early grave along the now infamous “Trail of Tears.”

While the the Indian Removal Act was passed on the assumption that the Cherokee and other Indian groups faced certain extinction were they to be forced to live alongside the increasingly numerous white settlers, it is generally acknowledged today that the real motivation for the Act’s passage was the discovery of gold in Georgia.

We have read about and watched similar scenarios of deceptions preceded and followed by apologetics play out too many times by centralized governments over the ages to believe that a group of persons who do not know our name and are so far removed from us that they would not recognize our moccasins if they took the time to walk a mile in them, have our best interests at heart.

Even if they did, we have observed that their best efforts to effect change on a large scale end up causing more harm than good.  While the economic damage done by such unilateral actions can be repaired or forgiven, the damage to the moral character of a society of embracing this might makes right mentality will ultimately destroy it.

The desire not to participate in the choosing of the next person to be called “Commander in Chief,” or any of their collaborators or subordinates, is the primary reason why we will not be walking around with a sticker on our chest or an ink stained hand on election day.

For The Trail of Tears has been tread for too long.  It is time to live in the Kingdom of God.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for October 18, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.72
Oil Price per Barrel:  $92.12
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.39
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.81%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,750 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.8%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.6%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,557
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,449,400,000,000
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,157,100,000,000