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Odds and Ends
26 6, 7:21pm
""Almost all Republican voters voted".
You're right - we really should have this conversation in Swedish instead.
Because obviously your Swedish is much better then my English - right?
"But the belief that the people who don't vote will vote Democrat if they ever do doesn't seem very well-founded to me. According to I Somin, Democracy and Political Ignorance, in the 2000 election, fewer than half of all citizens knew which candidate was more in favour of environmental regulation. This isn't even an unusual result. The fact is that most people in the US do not know or care very much about politics or economics."
It's a very well founded and well known fact in political science - and by both political parties.
Which is why the Republicans engage in widespread voter suppression in numerous states. They know full well that a higher voter turn-out rate is bad for their party and thus they seek to create as many obstacles as possible for voters they believe to be leaning Democratic.
And yes, it's also a well known fact that Americans are poorly informed about many issues - including politics. Their appallingly bad school system is to blame for that, as well as the extreme economic inequality and their historical tradition of anti-intellectualism (a tradition championed by the Republicans today, by the way).
All of these factors (and more) cooperate to make the US electorate the most badly informed, most disillusioned of any of the western democracies.
Which is precisely what the Republicans want - as it suppresses voter turn-out.
"Even of those who do know, most are more inclined to support a 'team' than actually examine the issue - the average Democrat is even less informed than the average Republican (S Althaus, Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics, 2003). There is no reason to suppose that the silent majority would be Democrat."
Yes the average Republican is more knowledgeable on basic survey questions, like "Which party is generally considered more supportive of oil drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge?" - which is explained by political science by the different make-up of the different parties.
As Pew writes:
"The partisan gaps in knowledge are at least partly a consequence of demographic differences. On average, Republicans are older and more affluent than either Democrats or independents, and both of these are associated with knowledge about the parties positions and leaders."
But, if you look at the different parties policies you quickly realize that a majority of Republican voters are in fact voting for policies that in no way benefit themselves, but rather only hurt their own economic interests.
The giant tax-cut the Republicans just past for instance - the one that will give huge tax breaks to corporations and wealthy AF individuals, but gives at best crumbs to tens of millions of Republican voters - while increasing the already huge US deficit by 1,5 trillion dollars.
The Republican answer to solving this problem is twofold:
1) Ignore the deficit and claim that tax cuts always pay for themselves (which has been proven time and again isn't true at all)
2) Slash government spending in the area of so called "entitlements" (which will only hurt the poor - which are the ones who need those program, and of which many millions vote Republican)
So in short:
Yes, the American electorate is as a whole less informed about politics then the electorate in any other western democracy.
The Republican voter collective is older and more affluent, which makes part of it slightly more knowledgeable then the Democratic voter collective (and presumably, non voters).
But many millions of Republican voters are actively supporting policies that screw themselves economically - which obviously isn't a rational or informed thing to do.
But they do so because they're fed fear based propaganda that distracts their attention from the real issues towards made up bullshit like Obamacare "death panels", kneeling during the national anthem or lies about an "invasion" of immigrants, while the influx of immigrants in fact is much lower then a decade ago:
This fear based propaganda has been pushed for the last decades by the right and it's safe to assume that anyone that could be reached by it and is susceptible to it has already succumb to it.
If you're told and believe that life as you know it will end if you don't vote for the Republicans, you obviously do.
So yes, there is every reason to believe that the silent majority would not support the Republicans.
Now if it's ever possible to activate these inactive voters remain to be seen - but if they do awaken, that certainly won't help the Republicans - that much we know.
This truth is obviously not what you'll hear if you listen to the right-wing propaganda machine of course, but it's commonly accepted knowledge in the field of political science and in both parties.
Which is also why the Republicans work as hard as they do on suppressing the vote. They know full well that higher turn-out rates are generally bad for them.