Voting is a Public Opinion Survey for Political Scientists

Starting your day out with political poetry?

Here is an excerpt from “Our Divides Shape Our Destiny.”

Issues divides: to rearticulate; attitudes married to institutions,

Have been quite popular in the past forty years of research.

For instance, Sartori (1976) sees the programmatic left and right,

Seeking the differences of market versus state distribution;

Secularism against denominations,

Ethnicity against integration, and,

Democracy against authoritarianism.

For example, Inglehart (1977) locates material versus

Post-materialist values. And many others examine,

Domestic protection against international integration; or,

Immigration v. globalization.

Thus, issues generally refers to “the interplay between attitudes

and partisanship.”

Coffee conversation:  For political scientists, then, the term “issue” is complex. First, “attitudes married to institutions” can mean that there is congruence between ideology and the structure of government. Said differently, if the people believe in their individual right to be an entrepreneur in a capitalistic system, then the government will reflect that ideology.

Back in the old days, this meant that you were a liberal. Really, a classic liberal. And I’m not about to go changin’ definitions. So when I say liberal–I mean an enlightened classic liberal in today’s politic. Get it? Today’s conservatives in America are classic liberals.

Today, voters in the American democracy vote based on the reputations of the political parties–Republicans and Democrats (e.g., Grynaviski’s surety). Or, they may vote against the party in office based on how the economy’s doing (e.g., retrospective voting and prospective voting).

My point is that “issues” matter to voters who can differentiate–and care about–the reputations of the parties. And, “issues” should matter much less to voters casting ballots based on his or her feelings about the nation’s economy, or his or her personal pocketbook.

As a subsidiary point, ideologues have a hard time understanding why “ignorant voters” should be allowed to vote. If the economy was in a natural recession, they’d throw out George Washington. However, the personal choices that we use to vote (e.g., even for those of us who pick up our children and let them vote for us), are our own.

Issues matter.

It’s peculiar that in some American states, a person can serve jail time for a crime, and then be expected to join the system without the right to vote. I suspect that political scientists are very, very upset about this!

Denying the right to vote is anti-democratic, possibly stalling democratic developments, since felons shall be never represented!

But then, why would John Adams protect the rights of the terrorists during his time, as their self-appointed lawyer?

Ah, yes, the American government was a reflection of such men! So, what is today’s reflection? What says the political scientists?

And, are Americans, like John Adams, still republicans?

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