One guy beat another guy in vote totals this month, but they both lost, even in their combined total, to None of the Above. For the fourth Presidential election cycle in a row, and the 27th time out of the past 30, most eligible voters opted not to vote.
Since 1896, the candidate with the most votes has gotten an average of 22 percent of eligible voters; all of remaining candidates combined have averaged 20 percent of eligible voters. None of the Above has dominated the past century with a 58 percent average.
A mandate is the implicit support of the people for government policies. When a candidate sweeps into office on a large majority, other elected federal officials, fearing for their own future campaigns, go along with the new proposals. When a candidate earns a meager victory, they are less prone to hop on. Indeed in eight of the last thirty elections, the winning candidate didn't even get a majority among those who chose to vote: his resulting mandates were much weaker.
But what about nobody? Nobody has been consistently winning in a landslide. Nobody's supporters are loyal and reliable: once you vote for nobody, you almost always vote for nobody. Government media would have you believe that nobody's supporters are lazy, shiftless, racist, uneducated, ignorant, bad citizens. They are disparaging the majority of adult Americans, the silent majority that places nobody first, the silent majority that knows, despite all the rhetoric, that nobody listens, nobody will protect us, nobody really cares.
What if nobody's mandate won? What if no new laws had been passed for the past four, eight, sixteen years -- would we be worse off, or much much better? Maybe it's true that nobody's perfect. So let nobody serve.
Philip Maymin is Assistant Professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He is the author of Free Your Inner Yankee and Yankee Wake Up. His latest book is Financial Hacking.