Why don't single men vote?


According to Tony Dokoupil, writing in Newsweek magazine, the male voter is "vanishing" in the US. Apparently some 16 million men have stopped voting over the last 40 years – much steeper than the corresponding fall in numbers amongst women.

The explanations offered are that men are less likely than women to attend church, consume news, trust authority and believe that people are generally good, that they aren’t as well educated as women, and that lots more men than women are in prison.

Well, I'm sure they're all factors, but I think there might be something more fundamental going on. As the article says, this isn't just 'a guy thing', it's a 'single guy thing'. And I think that points towards the problem.

Single men are, I suspect, the group of voters most inclined to favour both greater economic freedom and greater personal freedom. In general, they don't want to be taxed out of the products of their labour, and they don't want to be told what to do or what to think.

But there are few politicians that cater to this audience. Even when they do call for tax cuts, for instance, they are usually aimed at 'hard-working families' – as though hard-working singles are somehow less worthy. And of course, most politicians regard it as their god-given right to boss people around.

Maybe one day single men will become a vital group of swing voters (like soccer moms) and politicians will start pandering to their every whim. Who knows? But for now, one can forgive them for thinking voting is a pretty pointless exercise.