Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day

Last Sunday, I read an interesting article in The New York Times Magazine about voting and about incentives to vote. Click here for a link. It was written by STEPHEN J. DUBNER and STEVEN D. LEVITT who are the authors of the popular book Freakonomics. Basically they point out something I have discussed with Econ professors in school before. What are the incentives to vote? As Levitt and Dubner point out, there is little individual incentive other than responding to social pressures. People vote more because they feel they should than because they can actually matter to the outcome of the election with their one vote.

However, one thing that Levitt doesnt get into is how groups can gain political power by voting. And while on an individual level, it might be pressure from the group that gets one into the voting booth, there is no way to deny that groups that are able to get their members out to vote have quite a lot of power *as groups* in the political arena. I can think of several cohesive groups that are able to get their people to the polls and those votes do change things.

And if I were a politician, I have to admit that when making policy I might consider the wants of the mega-church which can get its members to the polls over the wants of Economists who apparently as a group dont go to the polls ;) I'm just sayin..

Speaking of politics and how groups can change things: well...I think all of those churches who make up the religious right and who are so good at getting their folks to the polls certainly have something to celebrate in Alito. The guy is way to conservative for my tastes. So...if you are like me and want to show that you just dont want the guy, feel free to visit my friend Trace's blog ( for a lot of useful suggestions about what a person can do. And while you're at it, take a look at her anti-Alito cafepress store. It is all kinds of fun, I promise.


trace said...

Thanks Lynne! You rock!

Anonymous said...

I love those freakonomics boyz.
my hubby bought the book but so far i've only been able to read the chapter on names before he lent it out again....
one of these days I'll get all the way through!!

Anonymous said...

i went to a mega church around sept of last year. on each chair was a flyer on why i should vote for bush. i walked out of there disgusted at their nerve to tell me who to vote for. and the sad part is, i bet most of the people voted for him because of that flyer.

Jessica said...

Woah! Churches aren't supposed to come right out and tell you who to vote for. They could lose their tax-exempt status! (That's my understanding, anyway.) I once attended a church where the pastor said (of the 2000 elections), "If Moses talked to the burning Bush today, it would tell him to be careful who he voted for -- otherwise he might get Gored." Puh-lease.