American hunters can be a lethargic group when it comes to voting, but there is a growing effort to change that this year, and it has gotten the participation of such outdoors icons as Ted Nugent and Jim Zumbo.
The problem is not new. As Keith Mark, co-founder of Hunter Nation wrote recently in Hook and Barrel, “I did a little research, which has turned into a lot of research, and I learned two things. First, hunters don’t vote. At least not in numbers we have all assumed for years. And second, non-voting hunters represent a significant enough percentage that if they voted, hunters could be a voting block that would impact election results. I was stunned.”
According to The Hill, even Donald Trump Jr., an avid hunter and shooter, has also released a new video encouraging fellow hunters to help re-elect his father to a second four-year term.
Typically Outdoorsmen are left behind & ignored by DC Politicians but President Trump hasn’t ignored or forgotten you, he has done more for the American Outdoorsmen than any President since Roosevelt. He now needs your help to continue what he’s started! https://t.co/EWHUmg0UOn pic.twitter.com/L8100xCExQ
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 7, 2020
The dilemma may be best explained in an exchange between two unidentified members of the Glock Talk forum. One person wrote, “Was just watching Newsmax and a guest from Hunter Nation with surprising stats that maybe I can remember. Wis.-300,000, Pa.-600,000,Mi.-400,000 hunter’s that DON’T vote. I would never have believed this had I not heard it for myself. He’s trying to get hunters to promise to vote by pledging on huntthevote.com. They’re not telling you who to vote for just vote your values.”
The other person responded, “I hunt some, usually solo. More so just as another excuse to play with and justify more guns. Unfortunately, most of the hunters I know like to drink a case of cheap beer and watch football after a day of hunting but have absolutely no interest in politics, voting or things that actually impact their lives.”
But as the ancient Greek statesman and philosopher Pericles wrote, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”
If polling data is accurate, President Trump is likely to need every vote from every hunter he can get in so-called “swing states” in order to win another term. Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have already made their gun control intentions clear, and whether hunters care to acknowledge it, their rights are on the line as much as any other gun owner, say Second Amendment activists.
According to the Knight Foundation, in 2016 “nearly 100 million eligible Americans did not cast a vote for president, representing 43% of the eligible voting-age population.”
“They represent a sizeable minority whose voice is not heard in our representative democracy,” according to a summary of the organization’s report on non-voters. “Most of our attention, in politics and in research, tends to fall almost exclusively on “likely” voters perceived to make the most difference in the outcome. As a result, relatively little is known about those with a history of non-voting. Yet their non-participation is a key feature of our democracy, and raises important questions about the basic health of a participatory society.”
Game and Fish magazine has posted a list of three things American hunters need to do right now to prevent the takeover by an anti-gun administration.
1. Double-check your calendar.
2. Confirm your polling location.
3. If necessary, apply for an absentee ballot or vote early.
The Knight Foundation commissioned a study to find out why people don’t vote. It reportedly surveyed 12,000 “chronic non-voters” across the country, especially in 10 swing states. This is what they found out:
- Many non-voters suffer from a lack of faith in the election system and have serious doubts about the impact of their own votes: Thirty-eight percent of non-voters are not confident that elections represent the will of the people, and non-voters are more likely to say that this is because the system is rigged. Non-voters are less likely to believe votes are counted fully and accurately, or to say that decisions made by the president or others in Washington have a strong impact on their lives.
- Non-voters engaged less with news and are left feeling under informed: Non-voters are twice as likely as active voters to passively encounter news versus actively seeking it out, and to say they do not feel they have enough information about candidates and issues to decide how to vote. Their media diets involve less news and more entertainment as compared to active voters.
The Hunt The Vote effort is aimed at outdoorsmen and women who may have convinced themselves their votes won’t count.
In November, their votes are likely to count…a lot.