Posted by: grandtheory | October 27, 2008

Will Long Lines Deter Voters?

I voted today. I went to the county courthouse and stood in line for 45 minutes to cast my electronic ballot. It was a smooth process. But, I worry that the United States electoral system might get overwhelmed on election day. Even if the electronic voting machines work correctly, and they usually do, I worry there might not be enough of them.

I think both campaigns, particularly Obama’s given his reliance on two voting blocs that traditionally have a lower turnout rate (youth and blacks), need to give their supporters a pep talk. This week, Obama will address the nation during a 30-minute television advertisement. Along with the lofty rhetoric for which he has become adored, Obama needs to prepare his supporters, many of them first-time voters, for the long lines and potential suppression tactics they might encounter. He needs to emphasize the historic nature of this election, and the sense of solidarity and patriotism one gets from braving the long lines on election day. The key for the Obama camp is to address these issues without doing more harm than good. After all, he doesn’t want to depress voter turnout by reminding voters ahead of time what a pain in the ass it can be to participate in electoral politics.

Posted by: grandtheory | October 9, 2008

David Brooks: Putting Country Before Party

Despite his conservative roots and longstanding support of the Republican Party, David Brooks is speaking out about the dangers of putting someone as unintelligent as Sarah Palin in the White House. Rather, he acknowledges the importance of intelligence and perception, both of which he attributes to Sen. Obama.

My hunch is that Sarah Palin will become a political commentator (perhaps with her own show) on Fox television before the year is over. They have the same audience.

Posted by: grandtheory | October 8, 2008

Signs of Progress in the Privacy of the Voting Booth

There is a phenomena called the Bradley Effect (also the Wilder Effect) wherein people indicate a greater tolerance toward blacks to pollsters than they do in the voting booth. Some, like blogger Stephen Green at Pajamas Media, are worried that the Wilder Effect might produce a surprising Obama loss on Nov. 4.

Green points out that the Bradley Effect, if it really exists, is likely to be more pronounced in liberal western states than in the South. The explanation for this paradox is that southerners are more likely to tell a pollster exactly what they think about issues of race, whereas residents of states outside the south are more ashamed of their prejudices. I suspect he is correct.

According to Green, “if on election day Obama leads in any given state by “only” 1-5%, then there’s still a very good chance McCain will win that state.”

I’m not so sure. In fact, I suspect that we will likely experience a reverse Bradley Effect.

I suspect that rural whites, particularly in the South, will be more likely to indicate a greater intolerance of blacks to their friends (and perhaps pollsters) than they will in the privacy of the voting booth. In other words, they will guffaw at racist jokes about Obama’s message of CHANGE, but once they get into the booth they will vote according to their economic interests.