Despite what experts say, most elections tell us little about America.

When Cheza Boudin The San Francisco District Attorney was recalled on June 7, a volcano of opinion erupting over what that meant. New York Magazine announced that it meant “the collapse of urban left politics”. Yahoo News said Boudin was “loudly recalled for failing to deal with crime and disorder” and this would “surely reverberate throughout the country”. “California Sends Crime Message to Democrats and Nation” explained New York Times as the Progressives “were forced to defend themselves in their own party by crime and homelessness” due to Boudin’s “powerful recall”.

It was obvious that even if the extreme left voters “San Franciscorejected Boudin’s criminal justice reform, Americans as a whole must hate her. This was stated by President Joe Biden himself. speaking that “Voters sent a clear message last night: Both sides need to act and do something about crime. … That’s what I think was the message from the American public last night.”

But then came the counteroffensive. Many progressives noted that California Attorney General Rob Bonta beat everyone else in the state’s jungle primary, despite being attacked for being soft and soft on crime. activists indicated to Yesenia Sanchez’s upset victory in the race for sheriff of Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco, as a sign that “criminal justice reform is alive in the Bay Area.” Next door in Contra Costa County, Progressive District Attorney Diane Becton. went for re-election despite strenuous attempts by law enforcement to defeat her.

So if Boudin’s defeat proved that criminal justice reform is a terrible political loser, the data must somehow mean that criminal justice reform is also a political winner.

Chesa Budin prepares to surrender in San Francisco on June 7, 2022.

Photo: Gabriel Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via AP

However, an alien from Mars will consider the basic facts and come to a different conclusion: none of these races matter more to the minds of Californians and Americans in general.

According to current account55 percent of San Francisco residents. who voted I decided to remember Boudin. But voter turnout was only about 46 percent, so only 25 percent of San Francisco voters actually went to the polls and voted to oust Boudin.

Meanwhile, similar minorities of voters made decisive choices in other races with opposite ideological outcomes.

Bonta was the choice 60 percent Californians who voted. But turn out to be the state had only 28.7 percent, that is, only 17 percent of voters turned out for Bontu.

In Alameda County, Sanchez won the election for a sheriff with 53 percent turnout, 33 percent—or 17 percent of voters. Beckton was re-elected District Attorney of Contra Costa with a turnout of 56 percent of 34 percent, or 19 percent of voters.

Look again at these key percentages: 25 percent, 17 percent, 17 percent, and 19 percent. It’s a tiny minority of eligible voters who can’t be said to represent the views of their neighbors, let alone tell a huge story about America as a whole.

The same phenomenon — experts drawing ridiculous conclusions based on the choice of a small number of eligible voters — happens all the time across the political spectrum.

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic Primary in New York’s 14th congressional district in shock and then took office, it was proclaimed as “a highly likely harbinger of a new American political reality”. But only 12 percent of registered Democrats showed up to vote in the primary, meaning Ocasio-Cortez won it with less than 7 percent of eligible voters. She then won a general election with a higher turnout with the support of about 29 percent of eligible voters.

It’s a tiny minority of eligible voters who can’t be said to represent the views of their neighbors, let alone tell a huge story about America as a whole.

Then there was the election of Eric Adams in 2021 as the crime-fighting mayor of New York. Since then, he has been seen among National Democrats as a politician of such unusual ability that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, asked Adams to speak at a Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee event to help the party figure out its messages. Adams won an instant low-turnout runoff Democratic primary with 7.5 percent of eligible Democratic voters. He then won the general election with 14 percent of the eligible voters.

Voter turnout, and thus the percentage of eligible voters who choose a winner, is higher in presidential elections. However, these numbers are still quite low, especially given the great importance given to them. Ronald Reagan won in 1984 with 31% of the eligible vote. This was seen by the Americans as a gigantic landslide and a complete rejection of progressive politics. Donald Trump won in 2016 thanks to the choice of 26 percent of eligible voters, which was also seen as a tectonic shift in the views of US citizens. (In 2020, Joe Biden won the choice of 34 percent of eligible voters.)

The United States is unusual in this respect, with many more people coming to the voting booths in most comparable countries. In the 2016 US elections ranked 30th in voter turnout among 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. This, in turn, is likely due to our other unusual characteristics, including weak political parties and low union density. Americans in general have little understanding of politics and care less about it, just the kind of thing that people who manage affairs like.

Thus, if the US news outlets were honest, the headline of almost every election would be “Americans are still depoliticized and not interested in what the American media class is mumbling about.” But pundits are reluctant to tell such a truth, for obvious reasons. So we’re doomed to an endless morass of articles about what elections tell us about America’s heart when they usually tell us nothing.

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