The True Power of the Jobless

January 23, 2012 in From the Director, Homepage by Rick Sloan

A recent cartoon in the New York Times joked that “outnumbering the populations of 46 states, the nation’s … unemployed are trying to form a state of their own.” There’s a serious point to be made here. The unemployed and underemployed are one of the most influential and powerful voting blocs in the country.

And here’s why.

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that the public disapproval rating of Congress has hit a stunning 84 percent. That’s the highest level in history.

Now is not the time for jobless Americans  to become disengaged from the political process. This is precisely when they can most effectively leverage their collective voting power to fill Washington with policymakers that actually understand their plight and know how to fix it.

There are 40 million unemployed and underemployed people in America. If we act together, the next election is up to us. It’s simple arithmetic — there is no other voting bloc with our reach, numbers, or passion.

And just a tiny uptick in our participation rates could have a major impact on who ends up in the White House in 2012. Just look at how thin the margins have been in the GOP contests.

In Iowa, Rick Santorum won with about 30,000 votes — only 34 votes ahead of the second-place finisher, Mitt Romney. The race was so tight that it took three weeks to figure out who actually won.

Iowa has more than 90,000 unemployed voters – more than enough to have outright picked the primary’s winner if they had been unified and active.

Now look at New Hampshire. Combined, Romney and Ron Paul — the top two finishers in that primary — only tallied 154,380 votes. The Granite State is home to about 38,000 unemployed — more than enough to alter the results.

With so many Americans lacking confidence in a GOP-led Congress, and with such a topsy-turvy Republican presidential contest, many key states will again be decided by just a few votes. And over the next few months, primaries are being held in states with some of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Nevada is the nation’s most unemployed state, with a jobless rate of 13 percent. Mississippi is in the top 5, at 10.5 percent. And Michigan is top 10. All three are holding primaries in the next three months. If unemployed and underemployed voters turn out in strong numbers and help determine the outcomes in these primaries, the 2012 candidates — including the President — will be much more likely to listen to what we have to say and actually enact real change once they take office.

And there’s no legitimate reason why the unemployed and underemployed should not participate in those primaries.

A New York Times survey last November reported that only 15 percent of the jobless were Republicans. Maybe, just maybe, that’s why the GOP presidential candidates have been so overtly callous towards the unemployed.

What if we flooded those primaries with jobless voters? If jobless Republicans… jobless Independents… and even jobless Democrats descended on those voting precincts, perhaps the candidates would alter their anti-jobless rhetoric and policies.

Well, I can daydream, can’t I?

UCubed has partnered with Rock The Vote to give America’s jobless a chance to change the direction of this country. Click here to participate!



One response to “The True Power of the Jobless”

  1. Lisa Jervis says:

    Us unemployed Americans are really angry and upset. We are losing our jobs, we are losing unemployment. We are struggling to meet ends meet. No one cares about us in Congress. The president doesn’t care. We need to know who can HELP us. ANyone for suggestions. We unemployed Americans citizens need HELP, now! Not next month, not next Tuesday, not in March or April, NOW!!!!!