Most explanations of voter apathy revolve around some version of the theme "both parties are the same." Yet we're told time and again that "Americans want compromise."
So is it a bad thing when the parties act the same, or a good thing?
I believe this seeming contradiction is made clear with this realization: most Americans are terribly uninformed. They don't have a position themselves because the issue is beyond them, so they figure something in the middle must be best, but then when both parties present nuanced versions of similar goals, these voters can't understand the nuance, so they think it doesn't matter who wins.
This is why I support voter apathy; if you're so foolish as to not understand the differences, you really shouldn't be voting at all. Efforts to increase voter turnout are usually efforts to manipulate confused voters. Such voters shouldn't vote. Whence the virtue of enshrining uninformed opinion? I regularly skip ballot questions about which I don't know enough (these tend to be small-time contests, like sanitation board commissioners or county judges). I wish more Americans would do the same. The last presidential election should not have been decided by those who were stupid enough to think they were voting to save Big Bird.