Tag Archives: Elections

There is a way democracies can create better-informed voters

By Aamna Mohdin – US voter turnout is infamously low compared with the rest of the world—which isn’t great for creating a healthy democracy.

While the rate has fallen over time, this decline has been particularly pronounced among less educated Americans—a gap that continues to widen, according to a 2012 report (pdf) by the Educational Testing Service. Richer and whiter people vote at higher rates than other, and are less supportive of programs that help poor families.

The solution, some argue, might be forcing Americans to vote.

But compulsory voting has the potential to do more than just increase voter turnout, according to a recent analysis by Jill Sheppard, a political scientist and survey researcher at the Australian National University. Her findings suggests that in nations that enforce mandatory voting, a wider demographic spectrum is politically informed than in other countries. more> http://goo.gl/pRaz45

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Does a Candidate’s Character Matter?

BOOK REVIEW

Candidate Character Traits in Presidential Elections, Authors: David Holian and Charles Prysby.

By Kristina Kutateli – In examining 60 years of data from the American National Election Studies, political scientist Martin P. Wattenberg finds that the electorate no longer focuses on character attributes as much as it did in years past. Whereas 80 percent of respondents had cited personal attributes in elections between 1952 and 1980, in the 2008 and 2012 elections that figure had dwindled to around 60 percent.

The nature of those comments has differed too — the study notes that mentions of candidate traits are “now more tied to partisan identification and have less of an independent impact on voting behavior.”

Rating a candidate’s popularity or likability is a complicated process. A candidate who earns high markings for integrity, for example, will often perform poorly in another dimension, such as competency.

Using traits such as integrity and competence, the data shows that there is no correlation between perceived honesty and election outcomes.

What does it mean for American politics that character isn’t that consequential — that Americans are choosing candidates they themselves describe as dishonest? more> https://goo.gl/gffccS

The Paradox of America’s Electoral Reform

By George Friedman – The founders understood the inherent immoderation of politics and sought to solve problems by limiting democracy and emphasizing representative democracy.

Likely an archaic institution, the Electoral College still represents the founders’ fear of the passions of the people — both the intensity of some, and the indifference of others.

The founders also distrusted the state while fully understanding its necessity.

They had two visions: that representatives would make the law, and that these representatives would not have politics as a profession. Since re-election was not their primary goal, they were freed from democratic pressures to use their own wisdom in crafting laws. more> http://tinyurl.com/p5bta8u

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God Bless the United City States of America!

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Image @Wikipedia

By Bruce Katz – With presidential politics in high gear, the United States appears to be heading for a frustrating year of partisan conflict and policy gridlock. In previous decades, individual states have acted as “laboratories of democracy”. This moment finds U.S. metropolitan areas providing the sort of innovation and leadership sadly missing in Washington, and, in doing so, forming what might be called the “United Metros of America.” Three particular trends are of note.

  • First, metros are pursuing strategies that build on their distinctive strengths in the global economy
  • Second, metros are looking abroad for new growth possibilities
  • Finally, metro innovations are inspiring states to catalyse and reward bottom-up economic growth strategies

The most significant political event of 2012 may not be the presidential election but the emergence of the United Metros of America and the potential for national renewal from the ground up. more> http://is.gd/rIUF5m