Look around you. Only one of every four adults you see voted to make Donald Trump president.
Of course, your mileage will vary depending on where you live, but a quick analysis of popular vote figures compared to newly released Census figures shows Trump received votes from only 25.3 percent of the nation’s eligible voters.
And don’t get too worked up about Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead. She received votes from only 26.4 percent of eligible voters.
The Census Bureau this week released new national and state population estimates. The report received a lot of attention in Utah because it showed the Beehive State was the nation’s fastest growing state last year, in terms of percentage.
But the report also said the number of eligible voters, defined as people over the age of 18, grew to 249.5 million nationwide.
According to the latest CNN election figures, Clinton is leading the popular vote with 65.8 million votes. Although he won the election because he garnered more electoral votes, Trump has only 63 million votes. Divide each of those figures by 249.5 million and you see just how few eligible people affected the election of the most powerful leader in the free world.
Of course, not all eligible voters were registered, but they ought to be factored in when taking the temperature of any democracy.
While figures are hard to find on third party candidates, they were trending toward about 5 million votes or so combined. That would put voter turnout somewhere around 53 percent nationwide.
That puts the outcome in a little different light. Of course, some people may decide to deliberately not vote as a protest, in which case their lack of action may be considered a use of their franchise. But that’s a distinction that has little relevant meaning.
It’s a harsh reality that the eligible voters who stayed home might have had a profound effect on this year’s election.
It’s also clear that Mr. Trump was brought to power by a tiny portion of the people you see around you each day.
And it’s equally clear that all the noise about the need for a more democratic system should be kept in context. A lot of Americans just don’t care.