I've brought this up before. When everyone starts moaning about superPACs and gerrymandering, I remind that that they're not the most significant factors. It's actually this simple: If we don't turn out to vote, we get screwed:
The research on democracy and policy suggests three broad lessons. First, those who vote have more representation than those who do not. Second, those who do not vote tend to have views that are more economically progressive than those who do vote. And third, voting plays a significant role in the distribution of government resources as well as the size of government and who benefits from public policies.
Increasing and equalizing voter turnout is not a panacea for reducing inequality and achieving racial equity in public policy; it is one important factor among others, including the role of money in politics. But, as Robert Franzese argues, where turnout is low and unequal, politicians who already cater to big donors have an even stronger incentive to do so.
He concludes that whether or not democracies respond to rising inequality is conditioned by the political participation of poorer people in the electorate. After the wealth of a country, voter participation and income inequality are the most important determinants of tax and transfer progressivity.
As President Obama has argued, “It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything.”
He is correct.
If you're really concerned about inequality, go join a voter registration effort and help get out the vote on election day.
— Sean McElwee (@SeanMcElwee) September 28, 2015