Thoreau at Unqualified Offerings correctly notes: Most people just barely care about politics.
And after an illustrating anecdote concludes: “I think we need to keep this in mind when we think about political discourse in our country.”
‘Tis true (and hard for we political junkies to understand sometimes).
Of course, the people about whom Thoreau is referring likely do not participate in the political discourse too terribly much (and a lot of them don’t even participate in electoral politics all that much: witness the voter turnout numbers in general, and especially in non-presidential elections).
The poor turnout issue does make me think: what is it about US politics that makes turnout (and interest in government) so much less than in most democracies? The answers include, I think, the complexity of our system and the lengthy ballot.
This is a topic worthy of far more discussion, but much of the problem is linked to the fact that separation of powers and federalism both are mechanisms that make clear responsibility difficult to assign, which leads to voter frustration over the value of participating.