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Member since: Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:00 PM
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The Right is Giving Up on Democracy


An interesting take from an interesting source. I had associated this with sore-loser narcissists but the question about which causes the other is quite intriguing.


Suspicion of the democratic system is so pervasive on the right because it’s driven by the fear that white Christian America is facing demographic doom. The evidence is right there in the election results: Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and if current polling trends hold, the GOP will be batting one for seven when the results come in on November 8. Thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans may hold on to a U.S. House majority for a while, and they’ll remain competitive in state capitols in the near future. But a whites-only party can’t win national elections. And over time, the GOP’s congressional and state fortresses will crumble if the party doesn’t change dramatically. Or if the democratic system doesn’t change dramatically.

As conservative writer Byron York noted in the Washington Examiner in May, there’s been an upsurge on the right of calls for “a test for voting, limited-participation elections, condemnations of democracy in general.” The anti-democratic measures have been taken up with especial fervor by anti-Trump writers like David Harsanyi, Jonah Goldberg, and Keven D. Williamson, all frequent contributors to The National Review.

Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist and author of the book The People Have Spoken (And They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy, is one of the most forthright voices. In a May 2016 op-ed in the Washington Post, he called for “weeding out millions of irresponsible voters who can’t be bothered to learn the rudimentary workings of the Constitution, or their preferred candidate’s proposals or even their history.” That way, he said, “we may be able to mitigate the recklessness of the electorate.” In effect, Harsanyi is calling for a return to old-style literacy tests once used to uphold Jim Crow disenfranchisement. But he assures readers that his proposed test wouldn’t have that kind of discriminatory effect, since it “would ensure that all races, creeds, genders and sexual orientations and people of every socioeconomic background are similarly inhibited from voting when ignorant.”

This supposed "complacency" fear

Does anybody have any data on it? I can find conflicting anecdotes that people rely on to propose either "people stay home if they think it's a sure thing" on one side or "people are more excited to be part of a certain victory than defeat" on the other.

The only hard data I can find are state turnout rates, which correlate very weakly, but positively, with certainty (IOW, to a tiny and likely random degree, turnout is overall a bit higher in states that are morecertain one way or the other). Frankly worthless.

But here there is a HUGE difference in the assumption of the "stay home" effect rather than the "get excited" effect. Any even modest level of confidence is deluged with numerous scoldings about its presumptive danger with nary a peep about its possible advantage.

Forgetting for a moment that it's unlikely anyone here has any great level of authority on campaign and GOTV strategy, I, sincerely, wonder why the confidence = bad mindset so utterly dominates the confidence = good mindset. Why is this place different from its RW analog FreeRepublic, which seeks, laughably, to convince itself Trump is ahead and this will be a fascist landslide, while we collectively tremble at the thought that somebody is pretty sure Hillary will win. Are the two sides seeing different data? Different personality types? Why do we dread confidence and they seek it? And it's not just that they are losing and need hope; the 2010 and 14 gains were sure and certain and the RWers reveled in confident predictions of gains then too without fearing this complacency turnout depression I see here.

Where does it come from?
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