Gauging the Effect of the Sanity and Fear Rallies
The weekend before the 2010 Midterm elections, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a massive rally in Washington D.C., the purpose of which was perhaps to be a contrast the so-called “Rally to Restore Honor,” held by Fox News Commentator/Gold Shiller Extraordinaire Glenn Beck. There was considerable more interest by the media in the Stewart/Colbert rally than there was in the Beck rally.
The turnout was considerably greater at the Stewart/Colbert rally than at the Beck rally — according to aerial photo experts at Air Photos Live.
With so many people at the rally, you would think that the election would have easily gone to Democrats, with the rallies reflecting the mood of the country and inspiring people around the nation to get out in masses to vote for the people they would hope would bring about the kind of change we need in this country — to continue the progress being made with healthcare reform, bring about better funding for sorely underfunded schools, maybe even to cut some of the spending on our massive over the top defense budget.
Instead, we got a revolution; but more of the sort hoped by Glenn Beck and his army of Tea Party Fact Haters — The TEA in TEA Party stands for Taxed Enough Already… why were they not excitedly announcing that taxes had, in fact, been cut for 95% of working families? — would like, not so much the sort of revolution dreamed by the attendees of the large rally held by Stewart and Colbert.
What could have caused this revolution? Simply put, attending the rally and being interested in the rally did not translate to taking the time to go to polling stations to vote.
Voting turnout rates were down among young voters (18-29) and blacks made up a lower percentage of voters in 2010 than in 2008 when Obama’s candidacy excited African-Americans to vote. For example, blacks made up 12% of voters in 2008 and appeared to make up just 10% of voters in 2010 (based on exit polls). This drop, if it holds up in more authoritative numbers like the Current Population Survey would negate this encouraging finding reported in 2008 that the black-white voting gap had disappeared.
It is well and good to have an exciting rally and to go and hold posters proclaiming your radical views for the world to see — if you don’t take a few minutes out of your day when you are meant to vote and act on the views, the change you seek will not occur.