Americans are more politically-engaged today than they have been in quite a while, thanks, no doubt, to the unique and unprecedented confluence of chaos that our nation is enduring.
The coronavirus pandemic is just one piece of this puzzle, as the very real repercussions of public policy are now matters of life and death for some people. Furthermore, the virus has largely shut down Hollywood and other entertainment hubs, which has allowed the mainstream news media to shine, providing some of the only fresh content of any kind on the entertainment landscape. Americans have very little other to pay attention to outside of politics, at least in some cases, and it’s helping to foment a more engaged voter base.
This motivating media morass has now pumped up voter turnout as well, to levels that we haven’t seen in over a century.
The eye-popping figure is a sign of intense interest in the contest between Republican Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger, as well as Americans’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19, which has killed more than 221,000 people across the United States.
Many states have expanded in-person early voting and mail-in ballots ahead of election day on 3 November, as a safer way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.
And just how high a number are we talking about?
The high level of early voting has led Michael McDonald, the University of Florida professor who administers the US Elections Project, to predict a record turnout of about 150 million, representing 65% of eligible voters, the highest rate since 1908.
Now we’ll have to wait and see if this political savvy sticks around in 2021.
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