Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9775896:


Play date 1 7, 12:54am

@Nisse_Hult I understand that I may have been unclear, but reread what I read.

"Um... yes.

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."

The paragraph break makes things less obvious, and I admit I could have written more clearly. But note that my reply would still make just as much sense if you *had* written 'supporters'. My intention really wasn't to insult your English. I'm sorry it came across that way to you.

However, I would also appreciate it if you were slower to attribute malicious motives to me.

As for the quotation... those actually aren't exactly quotation marks.

I probably shouldn't have done this, but it is acceptable in English in some circumstances to use inverted commas to separate a particular phrase from the rest of the text. I do the same thing at the end of the post with the inverted commas around 'maybe-voters'.

So no, I was not in fact quoting you. Which is why I was using "x" around all your quotes, but only used 'x' around 'leans Democrat'. I apologise if that usage is not acceptable in Swedish.

However, I stand by my claim that your post does attempt to show that those who are not already Republicans will naturally align themselves with the Democrats if they align themselves at all, and would say that if this is truly the case, these people could reasonably be said to lean Democrat. Thus, you divide America into two camps - those who are Republican voters, and those who lean Democrat (by my definition). I do not believe that these two camps are exhaustive, and thus claim that your division of the USA into those two is a false dichotomy (by which I mean that at least one other option has been incorrectly excluded from consideration).

*gasp* I trust that is a detailed enough explanation of what I meant? Again, I admit that I can be unclear, and am very sorry about that.

But no, of course English is my native language. That one *was* a joke. I was saying that we should not have a conversation in Swedish because it (like Irish) is such a useless language that noone would understand it. In order to avoid misunderstandings, I shall attempt to remain entirely serious at all times in future.

Also, the constant ad hominem attacks throughout your posts are boring and pointless. Your post would be significantly quicker to read through if you would focus on the argument rather than the arguer. So I'll just be ignoring all the childish insults, K?

"Republican voter suppression laws proves that Republicans themselves realize they have nothing to gain by increasing the general turnout, but are instead working hard to suppress it as much as they can."

Except that, as I already said, they aren't. They're working to specifically reduce turnout in Democrat-leaning communities. As you yourself admit "In Republican controlled areas polling places in minority communities are often fewer and their opening hours reduced compared to in white communities." - if this was an attempt to suppress turnout in general, they'd have fewer voting booths in white communities too. But they don't, because voter suppression efforts are targeted, not general. To repeat myself a third time, Republicans are not working to decrease the general turnout. They are working to reduce the turnout amongst Democrat-leaning groups. If you want to show that the Republicans think that the population in general is more inclined to vote Democrat, you need an example of voter suppression that does not disproportionately impact groups already known to favour the Democrats. Which none of your examples do. You've even been so good as to explain exactly how Republicans are sure to target particular communities.

(In passing, neither the elderly, nor those without a college education, are actually more likely than average to vote Democrat -

"You may fantasize about what percentage of voters voter suppression laws actually stops from voting,"

In general, you need to prove that something is significant, I don't need to prove it's insignificant. That's just how statistics works.

"Ok then, so I've proven (but you pretended to not get that) that the Republicans by their own actions show they believe that an increase in turnout would hurt them - I.E. that most people who don't vote would vote Democratic if they did.
A fact you also acknowledge yourself as being true at the very bottom of your reply - but still you ask me to prove what you then acknowledge as true?!"

Um... no. What I said was that a greater proportion of Democratic voters are sometimes unable or unwilling to vote than of Republican voters. It is not valid to extrapolate to those who do not vote at all the characteristics of those who vote, but only sometimes. The latter are still voters, the former are not. And voter suppression laws mostly affect the latter category, they tell us very little about the former. Thus, I do not acknowledge that most people who do not vote would vote Democrat if they did. If you only meant to say that those who are already inclined to vote, but sometimes don't, tend to vote Democrat when they do, then you are correct. But you claimed that those who *don't* vote will vote democrat if they ever do. Which is a much stronger claim.

"And why on earth would the Republicans believe a higher voter turnout would hurt them - if that hadn't been proven in numerous studies?"

Because, as I just explained, they are focusing on those who might or might not vote, not those who probably won't.

And claiming that legions of people you just don't feel like naming right now agree with you is still not going to convince anyone, by the way.

"Now I'll predict that you will try to pretend you interpreted me as claiming that literally EVERY non-voter would ONLY vote for the Democrats - if they ever voted."


Anyway, your citation... is confusing to me. Because it says nothing whatsoever about demographics - it is possible to figure out from the given statistics that about 36% of the cohort were in the 18-29 range, but given that online surveys skew towards younger people anyway (who use the internet more), that is not a particularly disproportionate result. No data is given about income, education or minority status. Meanwhile, the survey also says that non-voters (those who are not registered to vote and those who do not vote) are more likely to believe that a good citizen need neither volunteer their time nor donate their money to help others (Fig 6), which would seem to point to a more naturally Republican attitude. So your link doesn't actually seem to back up your own point. Like I said, I'm confused, did you paste the wrong link?

"but then in the next sentence you confirm what I just said! And then you walk that back again?!"

I'm sorry if I was confusing. I said that other countries have *similar* results. I admit that America is at the bottom end, but claim that it is still well within the expected range. The same way that a 53% turnout in a US presidential election would be lower than usual, but by no means shocking.

"Late night host Jay Leno famously did that in a segment on his show called "Jaywalking" and he's said in interviews they never needed more then 30 minutes to talk to enough idiots to have material for a segment."

Ooookay, let's break this down.
1) Jay Leno is not a convincing source.
2) That is an anecdote, not data. There is a difference.
3) Even if it was data, you can't prove something is an outlier from one data point. The quote tells us only about America, and so gives no information about whether or not other it would be different in another country.
4) And no, I don't need to give an example of another country, because the null hypothesis is that a particular data point is not an outlier. You are the one making a positive claim here (that the USA is an outlier), so you are the one who has to prove it.

"Now cite to me the sources for your claim that "the correlation between political knowledge and education isn't actually that strong once you account for demographic factors (and it's absolutely dwarfed by the strongest correlation, which is with the degree to which one finds politics interesting)"."

Oh, sorry, I thought I had cited for that. My mistake. Well, the basic data is from the 2000 ANES, but since even I'd get bored reading that, a better source would be I Somin, Democracy and Political Ignorance, 2013. Page 83. And it's no trouble, thank you, since I had it open anyway.

"First of all the Democrats aren't "left" - they're just the least right-wing party in the US."

Using 'left' as a relative term to describe the Democrats because they are less right-wing than the Republican party is entirely standard usage, but in deference to your preferences, allow me to reword what I wrote as 'In any case, being better informed about politics doesn't correlate with greater agreement with the Democratic platform. Instead, high-information voters are more concerned with both economic and personal freedom than the general American population, according to, f.e., S Althaus, Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics, 2003.'. Happy now?

"who we've already established is poorer, more likely from a minority and less educated then the general electorate."

We established nothing of the sort - you claimed it, and linked an article that didn't say that at all.

"It is however a fact, that between the right-wing Democrats and the far-right Republicans, the majority of US voters - and especially non-voters would obviously benefit more from the Democrats policies."

And? I have made no statement about which policies are actually better, because that is an entirely separate topic. I merely stated an objectively measurable fact about the policy preferences of those who know more about politics than the general population of the USA.

"And I'd point out that you're yet again falsifying sources."

In this case, I have to say that your English actually *is* at fault. I know that many other languages are more relaxed about word-order than English is, but in English there is a significant difference between saying "Pew only claims that part of the difference is due to demographic factors." (Which is what I said, and leaves open the possibility that all of the difference is demographic) and saying "Pew claims that only part of the difference is due to demographic factors." (Which is not what I said, and doesn't). If it is easier to understand, I could also have said "Pew does not claim that all of the difference is due to demographic factors.", and it would have meant the same thing.

So in other words, no, my words absolutely leave that possibility open. My main point was still not dependent upon the reasons for the gap.

"Just post the links to where you found them like a reasonable person instead of trying to hide between the name of a study we both know I probably couldn't get a hold of even if I tried."

Um... as it happens, I actually *have* read everything I've cited. That's why I picked the works I did to cite. However, here is a link to the abstract for the second article: and here is an article from 1979: (you can read the whole thing if you know anyone with access to Jstor, but the conclusion is in the abstract on the first page anyway). And yes, title author pagenumber is the best way to cite things that are not freely available online (and in some cases, don't even exist as ebooks).

"Regarding your opinion it's obviously stupid to vote in what you "believe to be in the national interest" when you're being screwed by the nation in question - like most Americans are."

I have been trying to avoid value judgements, but trying to make life better for other people even though your own life is going badly isn't stupid, and I'm sorry you think it is. Millions of American voters, though they might be incompetent, are acting in a way that they believe will improve the lives of others - not of the rich, but of common people like themselves. And you want them to what, be more selfish?

"It's also doesn't explain why ANYONE vote Republican in that case, as at the rate they're going the US is heading for disaster under their rule."

Because they do not believe this to be the case. They may be incorrect in this belief, you may even say that this belief has been cultivated by right-wing propaganda. But, right or wrong, that is what they believe.

(I'm not going to reply to anything you say about which party is *actually* right unless it's relevant to the point. Which is, once again, who non-voters would vote for if they ever voted.)

"The next thing that happens after that is that the small minority looses their heads.
That's been proven time and time again throughout history."

The feudal system in Europe lasted 600 years.

"Bullshit! It indicates a lack of knowledge - which they have because they're kept ignorant by a political class that want them like that. Informed voters are troublesome - they demand things and ask tough questions."

"By itself" was key in that phrase. You cannot conclude that Republicans are ignorant *simply* from the fact that they are not voting in a self-interested manner.

"And you should be fucking ashamed of yourself to talk about the majority of Americans having a "lack of selfishness" when they're being exploited by a über-selfish, sick little minority of the greediest assholes on earth!"

They aren't selfless because they allow the rich to take advantage of them. They are selfless (in their voting habits) because they are acting in a manner which is not self-interested. That is the definition of the word "selfless" (quotation marks here used to indicate the use-mention distinction and not as an indication of a quote, btw). No judgement is intended to attach.

I should say, however, that however much they may *actually* be benefiting the rich, this probably isn't the intention either. People vote for lower corporate tax because they believe that everyone will benefit from the economic results of doing so. Not just for the sake of the corporations.

"If you're actually Irish, you have a better average standard of living and safety net then the average American does - do you think that's fair?"

I make no judgement on the issue at all. I am not currently discussing morality.

"What I described there is standard GOP political propaganda. Either you're unfamiliar with it or you support the same lies - but neither is an excuse really."

Um... I think you miss my point. I wasn't denying that these claims are being made. I was questioning the 'because'.

"The difference is of course that Democratic voters aren't subjected to deliberate partisan propaganda intended to fill them with lies."

Hahahahahahahaha. Yes they are. Less, possibly, but they absolutely still are.

But in any case, irrelevant. If someone is voting based on something that isn't true, it really doesn't matter *why* they're wrong.

"Oh you clearly lost the plot now! Republican voters are clearly NOT "better informed" in a general sense - I certainly never agreed to that and there is certainly no data to prove that either!"

ANES data says that they do better on questions about the policy positions of the two major parties, on questions about current events, and on factual questions about the structure of American politics. In short, they know more. I would regard this as indicating that they are 'better informed'.

"Because at the same time they don't absorb unbiased information as easily as Democrats or Independents do - which multiple studies have shown, see for instance:"

I'm just going to skip to the first thing that looks like an actual academic source from each of those, since neither the Guardian, nor Slate, are credible sources.

Except that that's not what the academics are actually saying. First off, the Oxford study, which is "Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US" (, since you didn't link it directly. First off, in the Twitter study, 'Trump support' is separated from 'Republican party'. And whilst the 'conservative media' and 'trump support' categories shared a lot of fake news, the 'republican party' category shared far less. Still, that still puts them as the main sharers of fake news on Twitter. The Facebook results, however, are different. Whilst more fake news was shared by the 'hard conservative' group than by all other groups put together, the 'Republican party' group actually shared *less* fake news than the 'Democratic Party' group. So that study isn't as clear cut as the Guardian makes it sound.
As for the Harvard report: "while any group can come to believe false information, misinformation is currently predominantly a pathology of the right.". In other words, Republican voters are more likely to be actively misled, but no statement is made as to who is more likely to actually believe something false. Since I don't care why people are mistaken, merely whether or not they are, I don't see why I should care.

If anything, the fact that Republicans are being subject to misinformation and *still* giving more accurate answers on ANES would suggest that they actually absorb unbiased information much more easily than Democrats do.

The Harvard study also says "That said, there is at least anecdotal evidence that when Republicans are in power, the left becomes increasingly susceptible to promoting and accepting fake news.". Given that the Democrats had been in power for seven and a bit years during the run-up to the 2016 election, the difference may become rather less pronounced by 2020. And this is why trusting outlets known to favour one party over another is not really a good idea.

"HUGE numbers of Republicans believe some really fucked-up things they've been told by right-wing propaganda, like the Slate article says: "

Incorrect beliefs on any particular question do not prove that a group is less informed in general. Especially if you cherry-pick the question. According to that same Harvard report the Slate article cites, Democrats were more likely to be 9/11 truthers, for example. Again, Slate has an agenda.

Actually, something I found interesting about the Slate article. It says the following "But conservatives and liberals typically differ in their particular psychological makeups." and links - except that that article doesn't even remotely suggest that conservatives are any more likely than Liberals to engage in motivated reasoning. Which rather illustrates why Slate is not a serious source, and why I'm just going to ignore that article. If you want to tell me about what psychologists have found, please do the courtesy of linking something at least vaguely academic.

"Those that still haven't succumbed to that propaganda are obviously either not reached by it or they simply don't believe it."

I actually misread what you wrote in the first place. To revise, there is no reason to believe that non-voters *have* been reached by Republican propaganda.

"There you go again conflating things that have no connection. Pew doesn't ask people the kind of loaded question you talk about here - because they're serious."

For God's sake. If you believe that the Democrats want soldiers to fight ISIS unarmed, you probably know which side supports military spending. If you think Democrats are baby-killers, you probably know which side supports abortion. Both of which are policy issues your Pew article did, indeed, ask about - and which many people got wrong.

"And as I've shown with the links above - Republicans don't absorb unbiased news or information very well. "

Assuming you meant to include a comparative there, at best you've shown that they are *given* less unbiased news than Democrats.. And you haven't even done that very well.

"Well maybe you should start reading some more, when you're unaware of commonly accepted facts?"

You are the one making a positive claim. It is your job to prove it, not mine.

"let's be a dick like you and demand your sources for your claims in the rest of that bit. Because that's apparently how you roll."

Well maybe you should start reading some more, when you're unaware of commonly accepted facts? Especially more varied sources, since you seem to subsist on a diet of left-wing propaganda yourself.

See? I can do it too.

Honestly, I should probably stop replying to you - your English is clearly making this conversation difficult for you. Sorry.

America wearing England's shirt