Essay: In Praise of Low Voter Turnout

Washington, it seems, is a city in decline. History has taken up residence in Budapest and Tokyo, Brussels and Seoul. After a brief spurt of prominence and wealth owed to the Depression, Hitler and the cold war, Washington, we are told, has lapsed into a somnambular state.

This is an exaggeration, but not too far from the truth. Government has grown huge, and a presidential hiccup can still panic the stock market, but Washington has far less impact on the direction of America and the world than it did a generation ago.

The marginalization of Washington is sometimes taken as proof...

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