Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Can’t Get Enough Election Links

with 3 comments

* It gets worse: Why the GOP will likely control the House for a long time.

* Ezra Klein: Blame the kids.

* Matt Yglesias: No, blame the upper half of wage earners.

* ThinkProgress: Don’t blame the Affordable Care Act. Drum: Don’t blame cap and trade.

* And confidential to Iowa, the rest of the Midwest, and the South: This is why it doesn’t make any sense to elect judges.

3 Responses

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  1. Iowa doesn’t elect judges, they’re selected by a committee (made up of mostly retired judges) and the governor get a veto. They can be removed from office during the election. Maybe this is a small distinction, but still important.

    Regardless, the removal of the judges was a side-show. If the Right wanted to overturn the gay marriage decision, they needed to win the constitutional convention measure:


    November 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm

  2. Iowa doesn’t elect judges, they’re selected by a committee (made up of mostly retired judges) and the governor get a veto. They can be removed from office during the election. Maybe this is a small distinction, but still important.

    Ah! Interesting. I still don’t like it, but I feel better about it.


    November 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

  3. or, blame the democrats, for their response to changes in class composition:

    seymour’s deflationary piece on the significance of the midterm:

    The number of owners and proprietors has declined – perhaps as ownership becomes more concentrated. Meanwhile the number of professionals and managers has increased. There has been an overall increase in white collar non-managerial voters, the votes of unskilled and semi-skilled workers remain steady, and the representation of skilled workers has fallen sharply. So the class structure has been recomposed, and the electorate has changed accordingly. Secondly, when you look at the partisan preferences of different class, you see that skilled workers became less Democratic between 1948 and 1992, while white collar workers went from being modestly Republican to being strongly Democratic. Professionals became more Democratic, while owners and managers became strongly Republican. Finally, on turnout, you see that managers, professionals and owners are much more likely to vote in presidential elections than workers of all kinds. The study concludes “The gap between the turnout for professionals and for semiskilled and unskilled [workers] … corresponds to a range of 77 percent to 40 percent (using 60 percent as the average turnout).

    Thus, you have an electoral system that vastly over-represents owners, managers and professionals, and under-represents the working class by a wide margin. Incidentally, there’s no sign that education has any impact on this. The increase in high school and college education among ‘lower socioeconomic groups’ has not led to a corresponding increase in turnout. Other research looking at non-voting corroborates this picture. Reeve Vanneman and Lynn Cannon’s classic study, The American Perception of Class, looked at voting and non-voting behaviour in the US, comparing it with the UK, for the period covering the Sixties and early Seventies. They found that voters who were most inclined to self-identify as working class overwhelmingly voted for Labour in the UK, but overwhelmingly didn’t vote in the US. By contrast, they found that more than two-thirds of supporters of the Democratic Party, which claims a near monopoly on all social forces left-of-centre in national elections, self-identified as middle class. Thus the perception of class, which Vanneman and Cannon show is strongly correlated to the reality of class, powerfully drives voting and non-voting behaviour.

    Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward argued, in Why Americans Still Don’t Vote, that the exclusion of the working class from elections is actively desired by politicians.

    The two main parties will have constructed their electoral coalitions with a disproportionate reliance on professionals, owners, and managers. Their leading personnel, those who frame and carry through policy, will be bankers, laywers, and other members of the wealthy minority. Their daily consultations and coordinations will be with the industrial and financial lobbies who fund campaigns. And the “seismic shift”, the “grassroots insurgency” that is supposedly propelling reactionary populists to the levers of power will have been effected principally by a relatively small shift in an already exclusive electoral system in favour of middle class and rich voters. I raise all this merely to put it in perspective. The drama of headlines, and of the vaunted new political eras, does not have much bearing on the real state of American society.


    November 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

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