US Voters: Weird as they wanna be

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Christopher Hayes at The New Republic on http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=express&s=hayes111704 [Broken].
Undecided voters don't think in terms of issues. Perhaps the greatest myth about undecided voters is that they are undecided because of the "issues." That is, while they might favor Kerry on the economy, they favor Bush on terrorism; or while they are anti-gay marriage, they also support social welfare programs. Occasionally I did encounter undecided voters who were genuinely cross-pressured--a couple who was fiercely pro-life, antiwar, and pro-environment for example--but such cases were exceedingly rare. More often than not, when I asked undecided voters what issues they would pay attention to as they made up their minds I was met with a blank stare, as if I'd just asked them to name their favorite prime number.

The majority of undecided voters I spoke to couldn't name a single issue that was important to them. This was shocking to me. Think about it: The "issue" is the basic unit of political analysis for campaigns, candidates, journalists, and other members of the chattering classes. It's what makes up the subheadings on a candidate's website, it's what sober, serious people wish election outcomes hinged on, it's what every candidate pledges to run his campaign on, and it's what we always complain we don't see enough coverage of.

[...]

As far as I could tell, the problem wasn't the word "issue"; it was a fundamental lack of understanding of what constituted the broad category of the "political." The undecideds I spoke to didn't seem to have any intuitive grasp of what kinds of grievances qualify as political grievances.

[...]

To cite one example: I had a conversation with an undecided truck driver who was despondent because he had just hit a woman's car after having worked a week straight. He didn't think the accident was his fault and he was angry about being sued. "There's too many lawsuits these days," he told me. I was set to have to rebut a "tort reform" argument, but it never came. Even though there was a ready-made connection between what was happening in his life and a campaign issue, he never made the leap. I asked him about the company he worked for and whether it would cover his legal expenses; he said he didn't think so. I asked him if he was unionized and he said no. "The last job was unionized," he said. "They would have covered my expenses." I tried to steer him towards a political discussion about how Kerry would stand up for workers' rights and protect unions, but it never got anywhere. He didn't seem to think there was any connection between politics and whether his company would cover his legal costs. Had he made a connection between his predicament and the issue of tort reform, it might have benefited Bush; had he made a connection between his predicament and the issue of labor rights, it might have benefited Kerry. He made neither, and remained undecided.
And there's this brave attempt to break the WTF-o-meter:
...there was the woman who called our office a few weeks before the election to tell us that though she had signed up to volunteer for Kerry she had now decided to back Bush. Why? Because the president supported stem cell research. The office became quiet as we all stopped what we were doing to listen to one of our fellow organizers try, nobly, to disabuse her of this notion. Despite having the facts on her side, the organizer didn't have much luck.
 
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  • #2
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I'm sorry to say, idiots are everywhere in each country but USA has too many of them.
Some people should just be prohibited from voting whatsoever, unless they have completed some simple pollitical knowledge test.Otherwise poor going to vote what is not in their own interest and on the impulse.
 
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  • #3
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The concept of voting is handicapped to this kind of thing. If you want something done right you go to the experts, not the uneducated masses.
 
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Smurf said:
The concept of voting is handicapped to this kind of thing. If you want something done right you go to the experts, not the uneducated masses.
God, what a choice we have...

Let dumbasses vote, or have an Aristocracy.
 
  • #5
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That is one of the biggest and the most accepted lies in the whole frikkin world. There are more than 2 kinds of Government people have come up with, but your kept scared of trying them, or even learning about them because it's not 'free enough' or its too 'corrupt' or its 'communist'.

This is what monarchs used to do with the peasants, the peasants didn't know it could be any other way.
Except the kings used religion alot too.... havn't we grown.
 
  • #6
loseyourname
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What form of government do you advocate?
 
  • #7
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I'm an open supporter of Anarchosyndicalism.

but something tells me you arn't.
 
  • #8
loseyourname
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Smurf said:
I'm an open supporter of Anarchosyndicalism.

but something tells me you arn't.
Explain what the heck that means and I'll tell you. In fact, start a thread about what kind of government we should have and I'll tell you exactly what I advocate and you can do the same.
 
  • #9
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Smurf said:
That is one of the biggest and the most accepted lies in the whole frikkin world. There are more than 2 kinds of Government people have come up with, but your kept scared of trying them, or even learning about them because it's not 'free enough' or its too 'corrupt' or its 'communist'.

This is what monarchs used to do with the peasants, the peasants didn't know it could be any other way.
Except the kings used religion alot too.... havn't we grown.
Well, you said that we shouldn't leave it up to the ignorant masses to vote, and said we should leave the decisions up to people who know what they're doing. I wasn't saying that Aristocracy and Democracy are the only two ways of government, I was saying what you were talking about (having only a select group of people with knowledge deemed sufficient enough to make decisions) was an Aristocracy.

I don't understand how you can simeltaneously say that people are too stupid to vote competently and also advocate a form of government where it's totally up to the people to do everything for themselves. Unless your plan is to have all the weak/stupid people weeded out of society.
 
  • #10
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Ideally I would like a non hierarchial form of government, where no one is set above anyone else regardless of wealth, vote count, physical strength or any other factor. Its not the people I'm against/for, its the voting.
 
  • #11
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Smurf said:
Ideally I would like a non hierarchial form of government, where no one is set above anyone else regardless of wealth, vote count, physical strength or any other factor. Its not the people I'm against/for, its the voting.
How do you expect equality when you clearly accept the fact that some people are just plain stupid and don't know what they're doing? How should equality be made from inherint inequality?
 
  • #12
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I'm not talking about equality in its conventional sense of civil rights and suffrage and whatnot, but rather in absense of a command chain in the Government.

Anarchosyndicalism 101
 
  • #13
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Anarchosyndicalism is basically communism (theoretical Marxism type communism, not the stalin "I like murder" type) mixed with trade unions, basically "government" would be a whole bunch of powerful trade unions that everyone would belong to and would control trade and thus the economy, social issues would go with the free anarcho-communist approach.

So basically it's a combination of communism and unionism.

~Lyuokdea
 
  • #14
selfAdjoint
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Lyuokdea said:
Anarchosyndicalism is basically communism (theoretical Marxism type communism, not the stalin "I like murder" type) mixed with trade unions, basically "government" would be a whole bunch of powerful trade unions that everyone would belong to and would control trade and thus the economy, social issues would go with the free anarcho-communist approach.

So basically it's a combination of communism and unionism.

~Lyuokdea
Boy is this 180o off! Anarchosyndicalism has nothing to do with marxism or communism in any of its forms.

I suspect Lyoukdea doesn't really know what communism is or was, let alone anarchosyndicalism.
 
  • #15
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selfAdjoint said:
Boy is this 180o off! Anarchosyndicalism has nothing to do with marxism or communism in any of its forms.

I suspect Lyoukdea doesn't really know what communism is or was, let alone anarchosyndicalism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism

I'm not exactly sure where I errored in my summary, however, there is an official dictionary definition. I'm sorry if I put any negative spin in my definition, it was purely unintentional.

~Lyuokdea
 
  • #16
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I think this is mainly a misunderstanding of marxist "Worker's Revolution" and that anything which puts strength in the working class has something to do with communism.
 
  • #17
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I'd argue that the anarcho-sydicalists final aim is an economy controlled by the working classes, which, the working classes being about 95% of the population, is tantamount to an economy controlled by the whole of society. I understand that there is some difference between this and a "communally" controlled economy, as the labor groups are free to fight with each-other and barter over the exact means of production, which i pointed out in my original post.

Probably the difference of opinions stems from the time period we were analyzing the anarcho-syndicalist movement from. I was thinking of the movement in the early 20th century when it was a force in Spain and most of the rest of Europe, I can understand the difference between the today's movement and pure anarcho-communism, as usually the force is more fragmented as an anti-WTO, anti-Globalization, anti-capitalism force.

~Lyuokdea
 
  • #18
vanesch
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tumor said:
unless they have completed some simple pollitical knowledge test.Otherwise poor going to vote what is not in their own interest and on the impulse.
That is a very interesting idea: the voting ballot could also be a small exam: only if you have most of the answers right, is your vote valid. But then, who will make up the questions... :rolleyes:
 
  • #19
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An small independant organization where no one working there (and I mean no one, not even the chauffers and the secretaries) will have ties to either parties/candidates.
 
  • #20
loseyourname
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vanesch said:
That is a very interesting idea: the voting ballot could also be a small exam: only if you have most of the answers right, is your vote valid. But then, who will make up the questions... :rolleyes:
This was already tried. Literacy exams were used in the south to disenfranchise poor, black voters. The practice was found to be unconstitutional, and anyone advocating it now would do well to study a little history.
 
  • #21
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vanesch said:
That is a very interesting idea: the voting ballot could also be a small exam: only if you have most of the answers right, is your vote valid.
And then, if they get a poor score, besides just not letting them vote, in order to make them smarter, we can send them to a government run "Re-education camp", since obviously, the quality of their education so far has been horrible.
 
  • #22
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i dont think we can discriminate when it comes to voting rights just becuase of intelligence. i wont be surprised if this kind of disenfranchisement has already been proven unconstitutional. no matter how stupid they are, everyone should have the right to vote cos our aim is to adress everyone's issues equally. however, i'd be all for making people more aware by providing more information to them free of cost so that they can make educated choices when they vote.
 
  • #23
loseyourname
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Any government that disallows any block of people the right to vote governs without their consent and is thus an illegimate government.
 
  • #24
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I suppose since voting with your money is wrong, then voting with your intelligence would be too. meh, it was a nice thought.

loseyourname said:
Any government that disallows any block of people the right to vote governs without their consent and is thus an illegimate government.
See now that simply doesn't mean anything.
 
  • #25
loseyourname
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Smurf said:
I suppose since voting with your money is wrong, then voting with your intelligence would be too. meh, it was a nice thought.
Whoever said voting with your money is wrong?

See now that simply doesn't mean anything.
No, it means that no body has any right to govern any group of people if it does not allow that group of people a say in how they are governed.
 

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