Political participation refers to various mechanisms by which the public can express ideas and hopefully exert political influence during political elections. However, citizens can also be direct recipients of such messages, and not necessarily voters. Many have argued that because citizens do not directly vote, they are excluded from political influence, but this is a problematic oversimplification. As already mentioned, any person can participate in the political process through voting, and therefore cannot be excluded from political participation. But citizens who do participate do so indirectly through their vote.
Why Most People Don’t Participate in Politics?
In recent decades, the decline in voter turnout has been greatest in countries with the lowest voter turnout rates. These include Latin American countries, where turnout rates have been consistently around thirty-five percent, and Japan, where turnout rates have been consistently around twenty-five percent.
Countries with higher turnout rates, such as Switzerland, have experienced much lower drops in voter turnout, and the U.S. has consistently had high turnout rates since the 1980s. One of the factors responsible for this pattern is the spread of the global economic crisis. In these countries, low turnout rates are often caused by an influx of emigrants, high unemployment, and corruption. Other factors responsible for this include the widespread use of electronic and internet technology, more widespread use of the internet and other media, and the fact that most people have access to television.
In addition to the lack of direct influence, another reason why most voters do not participate in national politics is the apathy they feel toward most aspects of the political system. Citizens who cannot vote are much more likely to remain apathetic about the government and are less likely to take part in the regular voting process. This is because voters in most countries are too busy with their work and other responsibilities to notice important decisions made by their representatives. Only about thirty-five percent of the developed world’s citizens are registered voters, according to the World Bank. In these countries, political participation is low because those who do register to vote rarely make their choice to vote.
By not participating in the election process, citizens have given political parties the power to manipulate them through voter propaganda and campaign spending. Through their strong support for business lobbies and other special interest groups, they allow political parties to circumvent the power of the people. As a result of voters not participating in political processes, elected officials become more dependent on these special interests groups. Without strong public opinion, the political system will fail to address pressing issues and problems that affect ordinary citizens.
For many people, there is also a belief that politics corrupts the leadership. Elected officials become beholden to powerful special interest groups who can influence them. The influence of money in politics makes politicians dishonest and inefficient at the highest levels of government. As a result of the cynicism that many people take part in regarding politics, the political system is slowly failing to serve the needs of the general public.
People should not be afraid to take part in political activities if they are committed to improving the world as a whole. Citizens should get involved in local and national politics so that they can improve their community and country as a whole.
Elected officials must work hard to retain their constituents so that they can continue to make policy decisions that are beneficial to their districts. Politicians have a responsibility to the people and to the greater community to make sure that they are working to solve the problems of the day.