by Awesome Author | Mar 21, 2020 | United States Politics
1 Thing Thursday: Un-Sexy Primaries
Welcome to our weekly breakdown of political issues within a post-partisan context that puts our well-being over political loyalty, today’s topic is primaries.
TL;DR: A Better Way To Primary
The way we choose presidential nominees is like using a flip phone in the iPhone era. Statewide elections held at different times that require voters to pick one candidate lead to shitty outcomes. Don’t fret, there is a way to make primaries sexy: have each state vote on the same day using ranked-choice voting.
How Primaries Work
Honestly, it’s a mess. In simple terms, delegates are chosen by the voters, and the candidate with the most delegates wins. Voters chose delegates in state primaries which are held over the course of four months from Feb to June.
Alas, it’s not that clean (of course), because how states do delegates is weird. First, the number of delegates a state gets to award is based on population and voter turnout (weird). You can also get “bonus” delegates if you hold an election the same day as other states (hence “Super Tuesday” where 14 states held their primary on March 3rd). Some state delegates are awarded based on how districts within the state voted while others are awarded based on how the state voted overall.
Here’s a great breakdown of the primary process.
Sketchy tiebreaker: Superdelegates
If no candidate has been awarded more than 50% of delegates by the end of primaries, the Democrats have a sketchy tiebreaker process using super delegates. Super delegates are roughly 400 party elites (wealthy donors, former politicians, etc.) who get to award 15% of all delegates to whoever they want to. This last happened in 1952.
Primaries Don’t Work So Good
The main ways in which primaries are flawed:
People don’t vote for who they think is best.
We are more likely to vote for the candidate who other people voted for, rather than who we individually think is best. We do this because social influence undermines our ability to make independent decisions. When we learn lots of other people made a specific decision, like voting for Joe Biden, we become far more likely to vote for Biden. This is a well-studied behavior in humans. Having states vote at different times amplifies this effect.
States who vote later have fewer choices
Staggering when states vote for candidates leads to fewer choices for voters in later-voting states. Voters in South Carolina had 12 options in the Democratic primary. Only three Democratic candidates for President are still running. This is after less than half the states have held their primaries.
Some votes don’t count
Approximately 2 million ballots were cast in the Democratic primary in advance of their state’s election day in various states. Judging from polls, somewhere between one-eighth and one-fifth of these voters chose Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg, and then learned that their favorite had dropped out of the race after they sent in their ballot. In other words, at least 240,000 people’s votes around the country now don’t count. Woof.
People don’t vote in primaries
Less than 30% of eligible voters vote in primary elections. Our guess, is voters don’t feel like spending their valuable time participating in something that doesn’t make sense to them.
Sexy Primaries Use Ranked-Choice Voting
The confusing, drawn-out way we do primaries ain’t a good look, but there’s hope. What is sexy is using ranked-choice voting where each state votes on the same day and voters rank candidates in order of preference.
Ranked-choice voting explained
Voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated and those who marked that candidate as No. 1 get their second choice counted instead. That can go on for several rounds until a candidate emerges with a majority.
Here are more reasons why it’s great:
People vote for who they think is best
We increase the likelihood people vote for who they think is best by having every state vote on the same day. Voters won’t see the results of other states and be influenced by whose winning elsewhere.
Voting on the same day means all voters across the country would get the same candidate choices rather than candidates dropping out after early state results.
All votes count
Ranked-choice voting ensures that people have at least one of their preferences counted in the final tally. Also, voting on the same day ensures no candidates are on the ballot that is no longer running.
Eliminating multiple rounds (days) of voting and allowing voters to better express their preferences using ranked-choice voting increases turnout.
Increase civility / reduce negative campaigning
Under ranked-choice voting, candidates vie for non-core voters to rank them second. Therefore candidates don’t want to offend voters who might rank them second by attacking voters’ preferred candidate.
By increasing turnout and incentivizing candidates to earn second place ranks by voters leads to a reduction in polarization in elections using ranked-choice voting.
Sounds too good, why aren’t we using it?
The people in power were elected using the current system, so they are scared of something new. It’s like that friend who refuses to download the latest Apple update…their battery drains super quick and their apps don’t work, but they’re too scared of change to update.
The operating system of our democracy is outdated, we need an #upgrade.
What can I do about it?
Glad you asked. On the ChangeRoots app, we calculate a post-partisan score for each politician. Politicians who support ranked-choice voting get mad points. So, go to the app, find politicians with a good score, show them some love by micro-donating to their campaign.
The original article was published at Changeroots.com
Featured Image Credits: Changeroots
by Awesome Author | Feb 16, 2020 | United States Politics
- Deep thinkers are more likely to be blind partisans
There was a study done to determine which type of people are most likely to blindly follow whatever the leaders of their political party tell them. To start out they measured two things in each of the participants; how tribal you were, meaning how much you cared about voting and being part of your political team, and how deep of a thinker you were.
The researchers predicted that people who were very tribal, but not- so-deep-thinkers, would be the ones most likely to blindly follow their party leaders. They were surprised to find out that it was actually the deep-thinkers who were the most likely to blindly follow their party. They concluded that the deep-thinkers were more blindly partisan than their not-so-deep-thinking peers because they were able to convince themselves with lots of fancy reasons why whatever their party was telling them to think was the right thing to think. Armed with many reasons why they are right, deep-thinkers become more attached to their positions and sometimes delude themselves into thinking their positions reflect rational consistency rather than blind party loyalty.
- How Different Values Lead Conservatives and Liberals to Judge Each Other
New research has shed light on how liberals and conservatives prioritize different values. According to Jonathan Haidt, there are five fundamental values people prioritize when it comes to politics: Compassion, Fairness, Loyalty, Respect for Authority, and Purity. Liberals typically prioritize Compassion and Fairness and don’t really care about the other three. Conservatives tend to prioritize all five values equally.
As humans when we see someone violate one of our core values we tend to judge them as less morally good. To use an example, when a conservative perceives a liberal to violate their sense of Loyalty, often they will think less of the liberal because they don’t respect their worldview. This could look like a liberal wanting to spend less on the military to better fund social programs. The conservative might perceive this as disloyal to the troops whereas the liberal believes it would be fairer to distribute funds differently. The liberal doesn’t care about Loyalty and can’t understand why Loyalty would outweigh Fairness. On the flip side, the conservative can’t understand how the liberal could be disrespectful to the military.
Fundamental values shape our worldview. Understanding our own values and recognizing that others have different values than us gives us a better chance of finding common ground and compassion.
- Experts predict record-breaking voter turnout in 2020
Experts on both sides of the aisle think voter turnout may reach new heights in 2020. Signs of political interest, from the number of small-donor contributions made to presidential candidates to the viewership for cable news, are all spiking. But the clearest sign that high turnout may be approaching in 2020 is that it already arrived in 2018. In last year’s midterm, nearly 120 million people voted, about 35 million more than in the previous midterm. The 2018 level represented the largest share of eligible voters to turn out in a midterm year since 1914.
- Young Americans are voting in record numbers
Turnout among voters under 30 last year jumped to about 36 percent of eligible voters, compared with just 20 percent in 2014. This is an unusually high number of voters under 30 coming out to vote in a midterm election. If this trend continues we could see a record number of voters under 30 actually voting in the 2020 election.
To recap, deep thinkers are more likely to be blind partisans, fundamental differences in values lead liberals and conservatives to judge each other, we could see record voter turnout in 2020 and younger Americans are voting at the highest rates in decades.
The original article was published at Changeroots.com
About the Author: Jake is the CEO of Changeroots.
by Awesome Author | Jan 27, 2020 | United States Politics
It’s easy to feel powerless given our politics today. It feels like the media, big money and the elite are manipulating the system to their benefit at the expense of everybody else. You’re not wrong. But we can’t let that continue. Each of us can do our small part to make our republic better so that we can all live our best life.
Understand toxic partisanship
There’s nothing inherently bad about being a proud Democrat or Republican. However, it can quickly become damaging when people consider those in the other party to be their enemy. Learning more about how we became so partisan and what forces make us feel that way gives you the skills to prevent yourself and others from becoming dangerously partisan.
For the bookworm: Love Your Enemies
For the article reader: No Hate Left Behind
For the data wiz: HiddenTribes
For the podcaster: More Divided Than Ever: Excavating the Roots Of Our Political Landscape
Define what matters to you
Some of us have a specific idea of what we want in a politician, most of us do not. We don’t know what things we should value. Should we care about policy? Experience? Effectiveness? Character? How should we compare which factor matters more than another? If I think a candidate is smart and honest, but they support policies I don’t like, how should I feel? Unfortunately, there is no objectively right answer, but there is likely the right answer for you. Thinking about this in a structured way can help.
Since our brain likes to feel like it is consistent and logical, it’s best to come up with a framework that makes sense to you, before inserting any real person into it. This way, you may feel like you’ve picked someone with a bit more thought than who you’d rather have a beer with (but, hey we’re a democracy, so do what feels right boo).
Because it’s complicated and nuanced, most people feel overwhelmed about the prospect of figuring out who they should support. This is a big reason why we tend to ignore the political process until there are only two options left to choose from…which has not turned out so well for us.
If you need a place to start, I created a one-page(ish) framework to evaluate the 2020 presidential candidates. It can be found here: What matters in a President: A framework for evaluating politicians.
Micro donate to your favorite candidate
Adding money to politics may not seem like a helpful thing on the surface, but political contributions are a fundamental part of our democratic process, at least right now. We can use it for good or opt-out and let the big companies and the elite wield it for their self-interest.
Once you have an idea of which candidate you like, sending them a small donation has an impact beyond just helping them buy more cheesy TV ads. It sends a signal to the candidate and to other people that this person is worth supporting – social scientists call this social norming. Take two candidates, Ashley and Will. Ashley has received donations from 20 million people while Will has received donations from 100,000 people. If we have no other information about either of them, we will have a more positive view of Ashley because more people support her. This is why likes and views dictate everything in the social media world.
If there’s a political candidate you support and you can spare the change, send them a small donation and tell your friends – you’ll be helping them more than you know.
Donate to Democrats: ActBlue
Donate to Republicans: WinRed
Donate to Independents: The Google Machine
Small steps add up
Politics is simply the name for how we – as a country – try to take into account the opinions of over 300 million people. Looking at the United States from that vantage, it’s pretty bananas we’re able to get anything done. If we each take a little time to understand what we want a bit better, life can get better for all of us. Remember, you have influence, you just need to claim it.
The original article by Jake (CEO of Changeroots) was published at Changeroots.com
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay