I took a break from coding follow-up interviews today to vote in our Primary Election (by the way, I am still on track to have Chapter 3 posted next month). It was a very interesting trip to the polls. In contrast to recent national elections (including 2016), there were many more electioneers standing outside my polling place and they ranged in age from around 6 to retired-age. Given how many people were standing outside our local school, I was surprised by how few people were inside actually voting.
This very anecdotal experience reminded me of the recent work by Putnam and Skocpol that has found “what is underway is a national pattern of mutually energizing local engagement.” All those people standing outside of a polling place trying to encourage voters to support specific candidates while so few people are inside casting a vote suggests that the current moment has not mobilized the population consistently. Rather, like other moments of social change on the Right and Left (and my findings about the American Resistance), a minority of people have been energized and activated to participate in politics more so than the general population. The full effect of this engagement will only be visible over time.
At the same time, there has been a growing call to march in the streets again. This weekend, the Families Belong Together action will take place around the country (see my previous post and this more recent summary). Some organizers are projecting that the March will turnout very high numbers across the country. In July, a youth climate march has been called, and there are many more in the works.
Overall, this Resistance in the Districts and the Resistance in the Streets is telling a heartening story about how Democracy is alive and well in America today, even with the challenges it is currently facing.