The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Problematic Democratic Base

The Republican victory in 2004 has been attributed to a successin turningout the base -- a factor foreseen as critical by Karl Rove several months before the election. 3 million more evangelicals turned out to vote this year than in 2000. So could the Democrats have turned out more of their base to counter this? One argument for an insurgent progressive rather than a 'globalized' moderate such as Clinton or Kerry is that it would improve turnout among the base, but others caution that this would turn off crucial middle of the road voters. Recent data suggests that the challenge of turning out the Democratic base looms larger than ever and it's not just attributable to voting policies.

Getting Out the Democratic Base (Washington Post): Washington: So have three decades of electoral reforms had any effect on the proportion of less advantaged Americans who vote on Election Day?

Yes -- but not in the way that the advocates of reform envisioned, says political scientist Adam J. Berinsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writing in the latest issue of American Politics Research.

Instead of luring the young, the poor and those with less interest in politics to the ballot box, new initiatives such as Oregon's vote-by-mail law have provoked greater participation from older, wealthier and white voters.

In a classic case of unintended consequences, Berinsky's review of all major election-law changes of the past three decades found that 'reforms designed to make it easier for registered voters to cast their ballots actually increase, rather than reduce, socioeconomic biases in the composition of the voting public.'"

Check out the lead in to this story (Yeah, and Johnny Cash Invented the Internet) citing Denver's one and only - Professor Peter DeLeon.


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