The level of eligible voter participation, even in the bigly US 2016 Presidential election, was 55%. Fifty-five. That's a pathetic turnout. Forty-five percent of people who get a voice, didn't bother to exercise it. For comparison, turnout in lower house elections in Germany between 1960 and 1995 was 86%. In Australia it was 95%. Now, Australia has compulsory voting. But Malta and Belgium and Chile do not, and their lower house elections saw 94, 91 and 93 percent respectively. And again these figures are for lower house elections. (source here) Fifty-five. From an analysis a year ago: >> Despite the narrative of the ongoing presidential campaign, our democracy is not in crisis because of one candidate or one party. We are not in crisis because of Wall Street or free trade agreements. Rather, our democracy is in crisis because we, as a country, have not tended to the most important facet of our democracy: ensuring that our citizens participate in the political process. ... In the vast majority of primaries, less than 30 percent of eligible voters actually participated. Almost every primary this election season has seen turnout less than 40 percent of the eligible electorate, with states like New York, despite all of its media attention, only experiencing a 19 percent participation rate. These numbers follow the 2014 midterm elections, in which 36 percent of eligible voters participated, the lowest rate since World War II. Indeed, when it comes to voter turnout, the United States ranks 31st among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose members are also highly developed democratic states. << "We're Number 31! We're Number 31!" (/sarc) Why such a dismal rate for the nation that's supposed to have invented putting We the People in the driver's seat? 1. The Electoral College profoundly inhibits voting in Presidential elections. Specifically the insane "winner take all" format. In any state in which the polls do not reflect a close race, there's no point in voting at all. You can vote for the way your state is leaning toward, the way your state is leaning against, or you can stay home. All three actions guarantee the same result. The state votes unanimously, regardless how its voters voted. Therefore an unknowable number of voters conclude "what's the point?" -- and they have a point. 2. The entrenched Duopoly --- a century and a half of two political parties running the show, colluding with each other to keep any third voice suppressed. A two-headed machine that ensures that no alternative to the safe, watered-down political whore ever has a shot at achieving office, let alone a Presidential debate. This is why Sanders had to try to run as a Democrat --- there are only two horses allowed in the race. 3. A Commercial Mass Media that obsesses over the personal rather than the political. Policy is mundane and dry but the personal, especially if you can dig up a scandal, gets lots of attention, which means it gets lots of ratings which means it sells lots of soap, which means the media outlet makes lots of money. And it's money, not some political angle, that commercial media is after --- not informing the public. Any kind of horse race sells too, because that's drama. Commercial media is far more interested in drama than in policy. The former sells, the latter doesn't. But 'selling' is not what's useful here -- except to the soap-seller. Moreover in an environment of information overload where the most trivial is blown up from molehill to mountain, the important details become insignificant in focus. 4. The Complicit somnabulistic electorate that accepts 1, 2 and 3 without a whimper and declines to pay attention to that man behind the curtain keeping it this way. Discuss and add your own.