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POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN THE US

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Title: WHAT IS POLITICS? Author: msetzler Last modified by: msetzler Created Date: 8/29/2008 1:00:58 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN THE US


1
POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN THE US
  • What do we mean by political participation?
  • Why do we privilege voting as a measure of
    political participation?
  • Is political participation a liberty, a right, or
    a duty?
  • Should we require everyone to participate?
  • What happens if different types of people
    participate at different rates?
  • Whats wrong with being elitist and fearing the
    tipping point? The Founders were
  • Nonvoters vs. voters Diverging preferences?
  • Participation and reinforcing logics Cynicism
    (vicious circles) versus virtuous circles

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WHO PARTICIPATES IN POLITICS?
  • Who is eligible to vote?
  • Freed male slaves, women, poll taxes, young
    people
  • How have voting rights changed?
  • Racial gerrymandering and intimidation
  • The 1965 Voters Rights Act (and the 1975
    amendments)
  • Pre-clearance and majority-minority districts
  • When can race be used to draw districts? Shaw v.
    Reno (1993)
  • What determines who votes?
  • Does race matter? Controlling for other issues
  • Why do Latinos have lower voting rates
  • Gender, Age, Socio-economic status Which matter
    and which dont?
  • Does non-electoral participation follow this same
    pattern?

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WHY DOES IT MATTER IF PARTICIPATION IS TILTED
TOWARD SOME GROUPS?
  • Maybe non-participation is good?
  • Todays voters seem representative enough of
    overall opinion
  • Fewer angry voters makes for less polarized
    politics
  • Isnt it fairer to weight the system toward
    people who have a higher interest in politics?
  • Non-voters are clearly less informed interested
  • The radical argument If you play, you have
    accept the outcome if you dont, then you get to
    challenge the system
  • Why do most political scientists see
    nonparticipation as a problem?
  • Todays voters are not really representative
    after all because the political system emphasizes
    the concerns of political participants.
  • Voting is used to shift resources away from
    disadvantaged groups
  • Low turnout leads to cynicism

11
WHY ARE SO MANY AMERICANS NOT VOTING OR OTHERWISE
PARTICIPATING?
  • The rational choice model What are the costs and
    benefits of voting?
  • Dont worry, be happy? Are the stakes that low?
  • Why are the unrooted less likely to vote? Young,
    the poor, and the unemployed
  • Why do we have complex, decentralized
    registration and election procedures when other
    countries dont?
  • Should we rework the incentives? A voter
    holiday? Elections by mail? Early voting?
    Mandatory voting

12
HOW DOES THE AMERICAN WAY OF HOLDING ELECTIONS
HELP OR HURT MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION?
  • Why are our important elections so uncompetitive
    (primaries, legislature)?
  • What role does money play? What are the
    alternatives to privately funded campaigns?
  • How do gerrymandering make our elections even
    less competitive?
  • The death (or are we seeing a rebirth?) of party
    machines Are parties a bad thing?
  • Our two party system An absence of real choices?
  • Do we vote too often in the US?
  • Do we require too much voter effort? Registration
    rules, federalism, and direct democracy
  • How are campaign technology and negative
    advertising driving down participation?

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