Has America Given Up?

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How Disenfranchised are American Voters?

Utterly Disenfranchised
3
16%
Hope is Dead
2
11%
I'm Leaving the Country
2
11%
Go Blue Team!
2
11%
Go Red Team!
3
16%
I'm Rich, Not My Problem
1
5%
<Incomprehensible Foreign Babble-Talk>
4
21%
Kittens
2
11%
 
Total votes : 19

Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Dukasaur on Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:00 pm

_sabotage_ wrote:The Olympics were in decline too a decade ago. I guess our entertainment values have changed. We weren't as entertained this election and the voting reflects it. It's a game show with shitty prizes and a captive but bored audience.

Both parties support giving trillions to banks, both sides continue to wage war and develop the military at hundreds of billions per year, both sides continue the war on drugs and take away our civil rights. And as long as both sides pursue their singular strategy, a vote just legitimizes their actions. Each year our wealth concentrates further and the population is left with lies, broken promises and a big show to create the illusion of action.

You ask has America given up? I ask, when was it any different?

The guy from Ohio says his vote counts. no, his doesn't either. He can vote for Bush senior knowing that we can read his lips about no more taxes, and then watch his taxes increase like everyone else. We can vote for Obama knowing he smoked weed and is in the pro category and then watch record marijuana related arrests year after year.

We had a greater turnout last go because Obama's rousing speeches of change. Finally something different. It's all the same, the show goes on.

I was actually thinking of writing something, but this is so perfect.

=D> =D> =D> =D> =D>
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:06 pm

Anyone have the numbers of popular vote going back in the early 1900s, and the percentage of total population the turnout amounted to? It'd be interesting to see a whole chart and look at any trends.

Edit: I found this, but it doesn't specify the turnout in terms of total population percentage, so if someone wants to sleuth it out...do so and post the results here! http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/boop ... s1106.html or http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/elections.php


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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby saxitoxin on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:05 pm

metsfanmax wrote:Suppose you turned the argument on its head. Why is it that the act of voting itself recognizes the legitimacy of U.S. government authority? I could in principle reject their authority over me, but nevertheless use the vote that has been granted to me by their laws, because I pragmatically recognize that certain leaders will be better for me than others, even if I do not recognize their authority to rule over me. So I do not think that the act of voting presupposes any claims of legitimacy of the government. It's just the realization of the fact that for better or worse, there is a state operating in this geographical area, and they interact with me even if I do not want to interact with them.


Maybe. That's contrary to the scientific consensus that voting is an irrational act.

Funkyterrance wrote:If Hitler were still alive and he and one of the presidential elects were running against each other you can bet your ass that people would go out and vote. Oh, that is except for saxi and patches.


If society has evolved to a point that Hitler stands a good chance of being elected, it won't matter. If Hitler is able to command 49% popular support, the formality of an election is not going to be an obstacle that keeps him from office. An election is only relevant if people recognize its authority.

    In Tennessee in the 1820s the Governor and Legislature were tired of the Tennessee Supreme Court striking down their laws. So they organized their own Supreme Court and started ignoring the old one. The old court continued meeting and issuing rulings but the Governor and Legislature pretended it didn't exist and started bringing cases to the new court. The fact the old court was the legally constituted court was irrelevant if everyone simply ignored it.
This is one of the few cases in which, if you ignore something, it actually does go away. If enough people ignore the government, the government eventually just ... stops. Even people who advocate for compulsory voting are very clear about the reasons they want it - "Voting confers legitimacy ... as more and more people choose to abstain, elected officials rule with less and less consent."

AndyDufresne wrote:Anyone have the numbers of popular vote going back in the early 1900s, and the percentage of total population the turnout amounted to? It'd be interesting to see a whole chart and look at any trends.


Until 1960 here - http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

It was at a high of 63% in 1960, hit a low in 1996 when it dropped below 50%, and crawled back up to 57% in 2008 when you had two novelty candidates on the ballot (Obama and Palin).

This is a more dramatic gap when one considers that, in 1960, you had a 10-hour window to vote. Now most states give you a week or more to vote and some, like Washington and Oregon, just mail you a ballot automatically, folded in between the Valu-Save coupon pack and offers for discount insurance from Geico.
Last edited by saxitoxin on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:07 pm

saxitoxin wrote:
AndyDufresne wrote:Anyone have the numbers of popular vote going back in the early 1900s, and the percentage of total population the turnout amounted to? It'd be interesting to see a whole chart and look at any trends.


Until 1960 here - http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

It was at a high of 63% in 1960, hit a low in 1996 when it dropped below 50%, and crawled back up to 57% in 2008 when you had a novelty candidate on the ballot.

This is a more dramatic gap when one considers that, in 1960, you had a 10-hour window to vote. Now most states give you a week or more to vote and some, like Washington and Oregon, just mail you a ballot automatically.

I think some additional data would be helpful to parse, like income disparity / poverty in say 1960 vs today. While it wouldn't be causation, I wonder is there is correlation. There is probably other data that would be interesting to look at as well.


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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:50 pm

saxitoxin wrote:
metsfanmax wrote:Suppose you turned the argument on its head. Why is it that the act of voting itself recognizes the legitimacy of U.S. government authority? I could in principle reject their authority over me, but nevertheless use the vote that has been granted to me by their laws, because I pragmatically recognize that certain leaders will be better for me than others, even if I do not recognize their authority to rule over me. So I do not think that the act of voting presupposes any claims of legitimacy of the government. It's just the realization of the fact that for better or worse, there is a state operating in this geographical area, and they interact with me even if I do not want to interact with them.


Maybe. That's contrary to the scientific consensus that voting is an irrational act.


Whether the act is rational or not only informs us whether or not the anarchist's choice to help himself is a wise use of his time. After all, there are probably stupid anarchists in addition to smart ones. It says nothing about whether the act itself legitimized the election in any way.

The argument is only meant to illustrate that there's nothing particular illuminating about the act of voting. Whether you vote or don't vote, there will be a leader of the government in question, and whether an individual finds that government to be legitimate is, in principle, independent of how the election turned out (I qualify this because there are still people who threaten to leave the country if their candidate of choice doesn't win, although I bet this is an empty threat for most people). In essence, the existence of a social contract does not turn on whether the individuals bound to that contract participate in the process of selecting functionaries to implement government duties.
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Postby 2dimes on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:15 pm

Bring in Steve Rogers!
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Funkyterrance on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:35 pm

saxitoxin wrote:
If society has evolved to a point that Hitler stands a good chance of being elected, it won't matter. If Hitler is able to command 49% popular support, the formality of an election is not going to be an obstacle that keeps him from office. An election is only relevant if people recognize its authority.

    In Tennessee in the 1820s the Governor and Legislature were tired of the Tennessee Supreme Court striking down their laws. So they organized their own Supreme Court and started ignoring the old one. The old court continued meeting and issuing rulings but the Governor and Legislature pretended it didn't exist and started bringing cases to the new court. The fact the old court was the legally constituted court was irrelevant if everyone simply ignored it.
This is one of the few cases in which, if you ignore something, it actually does go away. If enough people ignore the government, the government eventually just ... stops. Even people who advocate for compulsory voting are very clear about the reasons they want it - "Voting confers legitimacy ... as more and more people choose to abstain, elected officials rule with less and less consent."



To be clear, I am not proposing that the current system is the best option. My point is that the "lesser of two evils" vote can be appropriate in the right circumstances. We have ways of knowing to some degree how many people are going to vote. It is then more or less a fact that someone is going to be elected whether you like it or not. There may be a threshold where the number of non-voters requires a restructuring but if the upcoming election is nowhere near this point it seems irrational to not vote for the lesser of the two evils. The best tactic to me seems to answer in polls that you aren't going to vote but if things get hairy, go and vote anyway against the guy you really don't want to be prez. A continuance down this path would surely lead to less voting in the long run anyway.

You've disqualified the Hitler example on the grounds that if Hitler commanded 49% of the vote it would mean that the system was not respected as an authority but you are assuming the reasons for non-voting are other than apathy. If apathy were the reason for low voter turnout after all, why would the number of voters matter? As long as a system is in place and they are relatively comfortable, apathetic citizens don't care by definition. However, they may still fear punishment from the law. If we pare down the Hitler example to a very small voting population it could be actualized. Not Hitler himself obviously but some simulation. So in this theoretical example the voting population is small enough that Hitler is getting those kinds of percentages. In this situation it would be in the best interest of those concerned to get off their asses and vote for the other guy. I don't really think the size of the voting population enters into the validity of the argument but I feel that the pared down example at least proves that the "lesser of two evils" vote can be validated.
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