Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Is Acrimony the Cure to Voter Apathy?

Photos by Evan Brandt

An overwhelming voter turnout at two New Hanover polling places Tuesday can be partly attributed to the growth of housing in the township.

The lines at New Hanover Lutheran Church were unbelievable, and due in part to a lot of population growth in the township in recent years.

But how do you explain Upper Pottsgrove, where a massive turn-out of more than 80 percent
The line of Upper Pottsgrove voters at Pottsgrove Middle School

Snaked down to the end of the hall all the way to the front door.
occurred at the township's single polling place?

There has been no concurrent increase in this township's population. Lines were also more than an hour at Berean Bible Church in Lower Pottsgrove, due in part to reported problems with a voting machine.

But again, although large developments are pending there, there has been no surge in population in Lower Pottsgrove, or in Union, or in Amity.

So we're left to ask why was turn-out so huge?

Some might say voter anger and they would not be wrong I think.

Although they differed in almost every other way, those who voted for Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, and those who voted for Donald Trump on the other, shared one common attribute -- they were angry at the status quo.
Maybe its time to heed the advice of Scott Major, pastor of

First Church of the Brethren in Pottstown, also a polling place.

In the Republican primary, the candidate of anger won the nomination, but not in the Democratic primary.

And so the candidate who wanted to up end the status quo faced off against the champion of the status quo, Hillary Clinton.

It meant for lots of sparks, lots of accusations of dirty tricks, lots of friction among neighbors and family.

Are we to conclude that this was what was needed to drive people to the polls?

Most of the voters I spoke with in my round of 10 polling stations on election day, did not seem particularly angry, although the ones who were definitely supported Trump.

Anger as antidote to voter apathy seems a dangerous path for a nation to follow, because to maintain it, the people have to be kept angry.

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