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Why We Need Universal Mandatory Voting

Friday, August 24, 2012

Obama margin with likely voters: 2 points
Obama margin with all registered voters: 9 points
Obama margin with eligible voters: ?? (12? 15?)


Once upon a time political science research suggested that there was no partisan gap between voters and non-voters. Now there's an ENORMOUS one. It might not be a big concern with likelihood of voting wasn't strongly correlated with income, but, well, it is. So what we have is a huge class bias in U.S. elections. One the Republicans are trying to exacerbate. Frankly these sorts of inequalities raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the American political regime.

And in case you were wondering, if it were Romney that was favored by non-voting, I'd still be annoyed.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 4:41 PM

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Well, what else were they supposed to do?

Thursday, August 16, 2012
A couple of years ago I looked at the country's emerging demographics and came to a simple conclusion: either conservatives would have to largely abandon their reliance on white nationalism as a political tactic or they would have to prevent minorities from voting. I argued to everybody who would listen that they would quite obviously choose option #2, and was greeted with incredulous looks. "Surely the Republicans wouldn't do that! I mean, that would be a basic violation of democracy! You're just biased and think conservatives are evil."

Well, it turns out that I was pretty much exactly right.

It's really just a matter of mathematics. Republicans have long since embraced their right-wing identity as a part defending the social and material interests of affluent whites. Even setting aside their misogyny and gay-baiting, what does that bode for the future? Well, in 2011 only a third of fourth-graders were non-poor whites. Yes, you read that correctly - the "reference category" of what constitutes the standard in society, what's defined "normal" for decades, now represents a small and shrinking minority of America's young people.

So wait a couple of decades, and if the conservatives continue treating the poor and minorities as second-class citizens they'll have a hell of a time winning any elections. Their only other option would be to start playing off blacks against latinos, and both of them against poor whites. Perfectly doable, but trickier. Much easier to just block them all from the ballot box.

The other item this development reveals is that conservatives have absolutely no principled commitment to democracy. But then we knew that.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:38 AM

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