The 80/20 Rule & Politics
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, January 29, 2016
The Italian economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) discovered the 80/20 phenomenon more commonly referred to as the Pareto Principle. For those not familiar with this principle, you should be because it very easily defines where your most effective efforts should be placed to realize the most success. I recommend you read The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch.
In short, the 80/20 Principle applies in any given endeavor. 80% of your success will come from just 20% of your efforts. Yet if truth be known, we easily spend more of our time performing those tasks that would fall in the 80% group than in the 20% group. Using this principle, if you asked and answered this question EVERY morning, you would become far more successful than you ever imagined. What should I be doing TODAY (the 20%) that if done would result in my desired success; what should I avoid doing (the 80%) that will only distract me from achieving my desired goals?
The 80/20 Rule/Principle, I prefer the term Rule, applies to everything but never more than in Politics! While I have no studies to confirm my opinion and that is what this Nugget is, my opinion, I am convinced that the 80/20 Rule is very much alive and well when it comes to Politics.
It is my belief that only 20% of the population is paying attention to the politics of the day; only 20%. That means that 80% are not paying attention AT ALL! Evidence of this was so blaring during the 2008 Presidential Election of Barrack Obama. In 2016, most people believe that it would be impossible for the self-professed Socialist Bernie Sanders to ever win the Presidency even though he has a significant number of supporters. Why do they believe this, because he is a Socialist and the socialist form of government has NEVER worked anywhere it has been tried - NEVER! In 2008, Barrack Obama's cheer for "Hope & Change" caught the attention of a majority of Americans or he would have never been elected. If anyone did their homework in regards to Obama's history, they would have discovered he too is a Socialist and always has been. In fact given that his father and his mother were both confirmed Communists, a case could be made that he has Communist leanings and has governed as such. The majority in 2008 and again in 2012 clearly comprised the 80% who pay no attention to facts or a person's history and voted accordingly. In 2008 63.4% of ELIGIBLE voters turned out to vote. In 2008 that number dropped to 60.4%. In real numbers, 131,000,000 people voted in 2008 and 129,000,000 in 2012; more importantly 69,498,516 voted for Obama in 2008 and 62,615,406 in 2012. If YOU knew with relative certainty that Obama was a Socialist or maybe even a Communist, would you still have voted for him in either election?
Let's apply the 80/20 Rule to these numbers. In 2008 20% would have properly vetted Obama for President. That means only 13,899,703 did their homework. In 2012, only 12,523,081 did their proper homework. As for the rest, they voted on a slogan of "hope & change", a political party preference and/or the color of his skin, none of which is a valid reason to vote for anyone. So in effect, 80% of voters who Rush Limbaugh referred to as "low information voters" decided who the next President of the United States was to be.
How would you feel if you were in a class of 100 students and you were one of the 20 who did their assignments, their homework and studied for the exam but it was the 80 students who did none of these things who decided what the grades would be for the class? Personally I would want to quit. Yet that is what is happening not just in our Presidential elections but every Senatorial, Congressional and local election as well. I believe that when it comes to voting on state-wide constitutional amendments the 80/20 Rule does not apply and that fewer than 10% actually read the proposed amendments and research their ramifications before they vote on them. Unfortunately it will be the 90% who cast a vote on these amendments who determine if they pass or fail. I am also convinced that our politicians in Washington have similar numbers. How many Congressmen/women and Senators actually read the bills they are approving or disapproving? Take Obamacare as an example. It consisted of over 25,000 pages and the Senate, for example, was given less than 24 hours to read it before they were to vote. I seriously doubt that even 20 of them read the bill (the 80/20 Rule).
What is the solution? Ideally you would be required to pass a test BEFORE you were allowed to vote and that includes the politicians in Washington regarding the bills they vote on. If you could not answer some of the most basic questions, you would be prohibited from voting. Obviously that would never fly but WOW, what an improvement in our election/voting process it would make.
There is only one solution and that is through education, both family and formal. Children should be taught at an early age that every vote should count and the only way that can really happen is for each citizen to properly vet their candidates and to read and study constitutional amendments AND then hold their elected officials accountable for THEIR votes by removing them from office at their next election. Every child should want to be part of the 20% who are paying attention and even more importantly VOTE! Why will this never happen? It does not play into the hands of our elected politicians who want to create a nanny state where people are dependent upon the politicians for their own personal welfare and therefore would NEVER vote THEIR politician out of office. Politicians are all thirsty for the power and control that making citizens dependent upon them for their needs provides to them. That is exactly why so many incumbents are continually returned to office through the re-election process.
There is one way to effect a positive change and that is through one person at a time beginning with you. YOU should want to become a member of the 20% of Informed Voters. If YOU become such a person, it would be incumbent upon you to encourage your spouse and your children to also want to become part of the 20% group. One voter at a time, we could change the future of America. If we continue to do the same thing we have done for the past 200 years, nothing will change and our 18 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT will be 19 TRILLION and then 20 TRILLION until America has no choice but to declare bankruptcy. That is when the Socialists and Communists of the world step in and America as we have known it will cease to exist.
Here is the question for YOU: Do you want to become or are you a "meaningful specific" (the 20%) or are you a "wondering generality" (the 80%)? I know for certain that I am in the 20%, I am doing my civic duty; are you?