After a hectic election cycle full of shocking and not so shocking results, students of politics can gain an insight into the ever changing world of voter identity. What did we learn this election cycle about voters in New York City?
For a start, the lack of educated voters is staggering. Bill de Blasio, the current mayor-elect of New York City, ran on a platform of "equality" and "tax the rich," two platforms meant to inspire certain voters to come out. There are, according to my own political theory, three types of voters:
The Every Election Voter, the Major Election Voter, and the Never Voter.
The Every Election Voter always, as by the name, comes out to, and casts a vote for everyone on the ballot. These types of voters are aware of political movements and events; on top of local, state and national political stories. They are, in general focused on and have a knowledge about the differences between party lines, most of the time siding with a certain party on issues that matter to them and their family, but also for the good of the country. These voters care, based on their knowledge and involvement, about local politics much more than the other voters.
The Major Election Voter only comes out during major elections, sometimes for Mayor and sometimes for President. They are generally unaware of minor factions and issues in politics, at both the local and sometimes state level, but have a basic knowledge over national topics. They are, in general apart of a certain political party, but don't really know why other than that they hope that party will help them.
Lastly, the Never Voter, never, for the exception of a major, ground-breaking election, like that of 1980 or 2008, comes out to vote. They mostly have no idea of the repercussions of not voting. They don't understand or know basic political differences in the both parties and issues, and just generally are disinterested by politics. They don't trust government.
In New York City this past election year, one could argue that only the Every Election and half of the Major Election voter's came out to voice their opinion. However, given the populist messages of Democrat Bill de Blasio, and his rhetoric over "class warfare," (pitting the "haves against the have-not's") de Blasio was able to capture the essence that President Obama, Reagan and FDR had...charisma.
Charisma inspires the Never Voter to come out and vote. A message that speaks directly to them and their own objectives, their own personal interests. With New Yorkers this election cycle, Bill de Blasio's message was simple, "tax the rich and we'll pay for full day pre kindergarten." Even though the turnout of voters this election was low, mostly the makeup of those voters was that of an "uneducated" bunch. They don't know de Blasio's past as Public Advocate, they don't understand the problems with "taxing the rich" and they don't think of New York first. Instead, selfish motives about "will this guy help me?" drove voters to the polls, not "will this guy help New York?"
In order to become a powerful voice in the City of New York, or as voters in general, the public must be informed by both sides on the issues, leaving the tools for someone to make up their mind and be careful not to allow charisma and selfish motives to blind us.