By BJ Bjornson
About a month ago, I got into a rant against some fool suggesting that people were just too stupid to be trusted to vote for their leaders, and in particular his contention that those who didn�t vote were even more incompetent and out of touch with reality than those who did. I didn�t have much in the way of data to refute that, but then neither did he in making the assertion. Now however, some proof that those who don�t vote have rational reasons for doing so.
The study by Samara, a research organization that encourages engagement with Canadian democracy, found non-voters are not apathetic, uninterested or ignorant of the political system. Rather, they view themselves as outsiders with no voice or ownership stake in a system that serves the interests of others.
. . .
The responses of the disengaged were "intriguing and remarkably consistent," the study says, transcending social or economic differences. For them, politics is a source of frustration and disappointment, attitudes gained through their interactions with political institutions.
"Almost without fail, the disengaged we spoke to described themselves as political outsiders," the study says. "On the basis of their experiences, they described government, bureaucrats, politicians and the media as working for someone else and, therefore, irrelevant to their needs."
Hard to argue with that, and I�m not particularly sure of any solutions, but it does show that there is a large and untapped group of voters available for anyone who finds a way to reach them.