Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Election Day

Various primaries, nothing too big today.  I will say one thing, though.  Politicians are incredibly risk-averse, and not especially systematic in their research.  If  party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith loses his primary for renomination in Alabama today, on top of Arlen Specter's failed party-switching gambit...well, I suspect that it really will become a factor when the next pol thinks about switching.  Never mind that Richard Shelby has been thoroughly successful as a party-switcher in the very same state, or that all sorts of party-switching success stories are available.  Pols are likely. if they even know ancient stories about Phil Gramm, or Ben Campbell, or Ronald Reagan, to dismiss them: that was then, but nowadays look what happened to Specter and Griffith!  On the other hand, if Griffith wins, then there's only the one point, and everyone knows it takes two points to make a trend.

So I'll be paying some attention to what happens in AL-5, because that obscure race really may have some affect on the future. 


  1. Is that true?
    I've always thought that pols don't use the most recent example but the one that sticks in their minds as relevant. For example, I've heard many times the story about how many members of the first Congress to ever raise its own pay were hung in effigy. Granted, it's something like 1806, but the most recent isn't necessarily the most prevalent.
    I think that pols often reason from poor data.

  2. Christ Almighty. You QUADRUPLE POSTED at Ezra's place. On the WaPo!

    Wow, that's an epic fail.

  3. I am the King of the Guest Posters!

    It's gone now...FWIW, it's all them; I'm just sending editors there my posts through email, and I have no ability to actually directly post something there.

    Ah well. I'll be back here full time soon enough.

  4. It's a good discussion, so I read it but I'm not keen to read it four times in a row.

    I look forward to it. I will say there WAS a significant justification for the non-democratic nature. in 1780s America as in all other states of the period, the backbone of the population were the rural peoples and they still made up a very significant portion of the economy. Not as much as in the past, but a state with a strong agricultural base had a lot of options.

    So enshrining the power of the more rural states against the interests of the urban states could be construed as finding a balance between the two life bloods of pre-industrial human states, trade and agriculture.

    That the states are states and not provinces is just the result of the British crown charters, for administrative purposes they are provincial representation, it's not unreasonable to expect them to be able to look at the wider good of their province/state than the parochial interests of the district.

    I've always thought the problem was a lack of legislators whose constituency and interests were the nation as a whole rather than its parts. But then I am into stuff like Alternate History so alternative government styles interest me.

  5. I dare say that research on the cognitive biases politicians use when making reelection calculations is the most important contemporary contribution political psychology could make to the study of American politics.

  6. I should say "fall prey to" instead of "use."


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