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Mon Jan 23, 2012, 03:26 PM

blue states make, red states take

http://www.nationofchange.org/blue-states-make-red-states-take-1327337183

We’ve all heard it: “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” I often won­der if the same logic ap­plies to elec­toral pol­i­tics. Though con­flat­ing “the po­lit­i­cal” with “the sar­to­r­ial” isn’t at all my in­ten­tion, I can­not help but be­lieve that we vote for the lives we want, not the ones we have. Pol­i­tics, broadly un­der­stood, helps to bridge the chasm be­tween the im­me­di­ate and the as­pi­ra­tional, to ne­go­ti­ate the os­cil­la­tion of our ma­te­r­ial needs and our mag­i­cal de­sires. To this end, I think there is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to argue that pol­i­tics is what we do when meta­physics fails, what we do when tran­shis­tor­i­cal cat­e­gories of sup­posed uni­ver­sal­ity be­come un­laced.

So what ex­actly con­sti­tutes the ground for our po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­lus? And what hap­pens when vot­ing for our fu­ture as­pi­ra­tions negates our cur­rent needs?

Tra­di­tional schol­ars in the field of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence often sug­gest that our un­ob­structed self in­ter­est (premised on ra­tio­nal choice the­ory) tends to pro­duce pol­icy pref­er­ences and elec­toral out­comes largely re­flec­tive of our ma­te­r­ial in­ter­ests. Re­gret­tably, how­ever, ac­cord­ing to a 2007 re­port pub­lished by the Tax Foun­da­tion en­ti­tled “Fed­eral Spend­ing Re­ceived Per Dol­lar Paid by State,” U.S. states that rely most heav­ily on fed­eral sub­si­dies for pub­lic pro­grams rou­tinely elect politi­cians who are de­ter­mined to ex­co­ri­ate such fund­ing sources. The ar­tic­u­la­tion of pol­icy pref­er­ences and, in­deed, the cre­ation and main­te­nance of a deeply de­mo­c­ra­tic so­ci­ety are co-premised on free and equal ac­cess to re­li­able in­for­ma­tion, but even a cur­sory ex­e­ge­sis of the Tax Foun­da­tion data com­pels one to con­clude that the par­tic­u­lar states most de­pen­dent on aid from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment are the very same states whose res­i­dents voted over­whelm­ingly for John Mc­Cain in 2008. How could this be?

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Reply blue states make, red states take (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2012 OP
Liberal_Stalwart71 Jan 2012 #1
bongbong Jan 2012 #2
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #3

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 03:44 PM

1. As a political scientist myself, "traditional political science" has abandoned the rational choice

 

paradigm for at least 20 years now. We often have fights with some economists who embrace rational choice. What these economists tend to get wrong time and time again is that they assume that with perfect information, voters will make the right choices. Some political scientists argue that if having information is the only ingredient for making good decisions, then why is it that so many poor folks vote Republican, essentially voting against their own economic interest, lured by social wedge issues. Political scientists also question the source of information itself. We all know that voters seek out information that most confirm what they already believe. And even when presented with irrefutable facts, there are at least 20-25% of voters who will still vote against their own economist interests.

And then, there are voters who are easily swayed by provocative media, such as campaign slogans and ads, repeated memes, and attack advertising. Negative ads do work and have worked for a long time. If people were truly rational, they would avoid being compelled by any negative campaign ad and do their own research.

And finally, election after election, voters give Congress very low job approval ratings, and yet, they tend to love their own Representative or Senator. This phenomenon is also baffling to us political scientists. Even when pressed, voters reelect these politicians over and over again, regardless of how they feel about Congress as a whole. Most of it can be explained by these politicians being able to brag about "pork projects" and other "goodies" that they bring home to their constituents. When pressed, however, voters don't seem to care that their Representative/Senator puts about 1/3 of the work hours that the average American worker puts in. And voters don't recognize the irreplaceable job of legislative researchers, aids, and assistants. Legislators don't write bills, nor do they even know what's in bills most of time, though they may often think of an idea for a proposal. But they are educated by their LA's and researchers.

To be fair, behavioral economists have begun to challenge The Rational Man paradigm that has dominated the discipline for over a century. And behavioral political scientists have tended to side with this emerging discipline.

At any rate, there is a schism within the political science community, but the rational choice paradigm is losing its prominence and is no longer the dominant theory of political behavior.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 03:47 PM

2. Why?

 

I don't think the legendary stupidity & sheep-like nature of repigs needs to be elaborated upon.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 03:51 PM

3. Hate radio is the answer to every post in this thread

 

lies, propaganda, and hatred are piped into every home, for free, with no rebuttal, 24/7. Stupid, ignorant electorate = right wing government.

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