Elections in the United States are much less popular than they once were. In 2012, the presidential election only earned a 55% turnout nationwide. That’s the most popular election in the country. Many other elections earn minimal turnouts and even less attention.
Why do people participate in elections? In Moldbug’s terms, elections are to power what pornography is to sex. People enjoy elections because it’s a simulation of having power over other citizens. The reality is that participating in an election is always a waste of time at the individual level, and only useful for the people actually driving the electioneering activity.
It’s not going to be possible to get everyone to abandon their addiction to pseudo-power. But whenever you want to replace a behavior in someone, you have to offer an alternative that meets a similar desire.
In short, you have to go after the issues that politicians use to get people to turn out to vote, and then help people either solve them for themselves or do it collectively. Instead of giving them a simulacrum of power through the democratic political process, you have to help them to take responsibility for solving their own problems.
The two typical responses to tough problems are either to petition the government to solve them or to throw up one’s hands and complain that the government blocks the solutions. Instead, better to route around whatever blocks there are and get it done, and damn the consequences.