Category Archives: Voter Apathy

Like Voting Rights? Thank a Socialist – Adam J Sacks.

As voting rights increasingly come under attack, we shouldn’t forget the crucial role that early socialists played in fighting for universal suffrage.

Stolen elections, decrepit voting infrastructure, draconian ID laws. The recent attacks on voting rights in the US might seem like an outgrowth of pure partisanship, the desperation of a minoritarian party using any means necessary to hold onto political power. But the GOP’s brazen attempts to restrict voting access (particularly for African Americans) should also be viewed as symptoms of a disease that has long afflicted elites: recalcitrant opposition to democracy, including the right to vote.

Since the advent of the modern state, ruling classes have tried to restrain the voting power of workers and those not “well born.” Contrary to the mainstream story that capitalism naturally gave rise to democracy, establishment powers in nineteenth-century Europe restricted the vote for as long as they possibly could. Only when faced with mass mobilization, or when continent-wide war wiped out working-class males en masse, was it clear that the franchise could no longer be withheld.

The particulars of individual European countries varied. In some nations, following intense struggles, workers won limited forms of universal male suffrage before World War I. More commonly, broad suffrage rights appeared only after the war.

But what was consistent were the actors pushing for universal suffrage: trade unions and, crucially, socialist parties. In fact, what has been called the “democratic breakthrough” of the nineteenth century could easily be called the “socialist breakthrough.”

Belgium

On August 10, 1890, seventy-five thousand men and women took to the streets of Brussels to demonstrate for universal suffrage. Like all other putatively democratic nations of the time, Belgium limited the right to vote to male property owners. Workers were entirely shut out of the country’s political life. Over the next twenty-five years, that would change, but not until a series of general strikes convulsed the country and World War I ripped the country to shreds.

In 1890, the year of the first general strike, ruling elites worried that conferring the vote on the working class would give the ascendant socialist movement a batting ram to bludgeon their autocratic citadel. Though founded just five years earlier, the Parti Ouvrier, like its sister parties in the Second International, was steadily growing, fusing workers together into a powerful, coherent political bloc. Party leaders hoped they could pursue a patient reformist course, winning trade union and suffrage rights without resorting to a revolutionary strategy of mass strikes.

But the stubbornness of reality, the powers that be resolutely blocked pro-worker measures in parliament, and the militancy of workers forced the party’s leaders to concede that more radical action was necessary.

In 1893, following up on the mass action three years earlier, the Council of Workers declared a general strike. Mass demonstrations broke out in multiple cities, miners cut telegraph and telephone lines, and soldiers chased party leaders through the streets with bayonets drawn. Women chucked rocks and broken pottery at the police behind barricades built by miners.

Leopold II, who reigned as the king of Belgium from 1865 to 1909.
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The militant action worked. Property restrictions were abolished. The leaders of the Parti Ouvrier, including a marble worker named Louis Bertrand who helped found the party, were invited into parliament.

But progress would not occur in a straight line. The elections the next year sent shock waves through Europe when dozens of socialist deputies were elected to parliament rather than the expected handful. The party immediately went to work, drafting laws to support unions and set up disability insurance and pensions. Ruling elites, realizing their mistake, pushed through a system of “plural voting” that gave additional weight to citizens living in strongholds of the conservative Catholic Party.

So workers, often over the objections of party leaders, kept up the pressure. When the government tried to deepen inequalities in voting rights, the socialist movement again declared a strike, in 1902. This time over three hundred thousand flooded the streets.
The thrust and parry continued in the subsequent years. Catholic parties, still aided by plural voting, strengthened their majority in 1912 and attacked full universal suffrage in the legislature the following year. Socialist leaders, trying to balance the competing politics of rural miners and urban social-democratic politicians, still held out hope parliament would enact universal suffrage.

Instead, 1913 brought another general strike, the largest in Western European history. Strike funds were set up via a system of coupons, and co-ops and childcare were organized. Le Peuple, a socialist daily, published recipes for soupes communistes to cook in the communal kitchens. Art exhibitions, museum visits, and country hikes drew working-class families together, offering not just respite but cultural nourishment.
The strike didn’t achieve its aim of full and equal universal suffrage. It was only after World War I, in 1919, that plural voting finally fell, and women wouldn’t receive the right to vote until 1948.
Yet those early battles for the franchise had an enormous impact on the consciousness of other socialists around the continent, the Parti Ouvrier, Rosa Luxemburg said, had inspired the entire Second International to “speak Belgian.”

The Russian Empire

During Belgium’s 1902 general strike, the city of Louvain was the site of a frightful massacre: twelve workers eventually died after state officers opened fire. Further east, another government-led mass murder triggered a seminal general strike, the 1905 Russian Revolution.
While in late 1904 liberals and progressives had successfully pressed for workers insurance, the abolition of censorship, and expanded local representative government, the Russian Empire still lacked a federal parliament. In January 1905, strikes erupted in multiple cities, culminating in a peaceful march in St Petersburg of men, women, and children, singing hymns and brandishing a petition demanding an elected parliament. Troops fired on the marchers before they could reach the Winter Palace, killing upwards of one thousand.

An artistic impression of “Bloody Sunday” in St Petersburg, Russia, when unarmed demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were shot at by the Imperial Guard in front of the Winter Palace on January 22, 1905.
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Theatrical performances were spontaneously interrupted, and thousands of students and professionals struck in solidarity with the workers. The merchants club, hardly a redoubt of radicalism, barred its doors to guards for their involvement in the massacre.

Within a couple of weeks, half of European Russian workers and 93 percent of all workers in Russian-occupied Poland were out on strike. In Lodz, strikers held the provincial governor hostage in a hotel. Throughout the entire empire, the rail network ground to a halt.

Revolution was in the air. The next few months would witness the country’s first open celebration of May Day and the legendary Potemkin Mutiny off the shores of Odessa, later immortalized by filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. And by the end of October, the tsar had reluctantly signed the manifesto that established the Duma, and extended the franchise toward universal male suffrage.

Elsewhere in the Russian Empire, radical actions for the vote had even more far-reaching consequences. A general strike in Finland in 1905 led not only to the adoption of universal male suffrage and a unicameral parliamentary system, but also the granting of women the right to vote and to stand for elections the first country in Europe to do so. Over the coming decade, the country’s workers would use these expanded rights, before the strike, only 8 percent of the population could vote, to press for increasingly revolutionary reforms.

Sweden

Among American liberals, it’s popular to imagine Sweden as a social-democratic utopia, a nation where enlightened values have won out over rank selfishness. But the history of the Swedish workers movement is a testament to the tenaciousness of the country’s ruling class, including its dogged resistance to voting rights.

The political expression of the labor movement, the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP), formed in 1889 amid a broader surge in worker organizing. As elsewhere, those without property lacked basic political rights. The Swedish socialist movement’s goal was to first win political democracy.

In 1902, a two-day general strike for universal suffrage served as a warning shot at the stridently right-wing government. Called by the political parties and never intended to last longer than a couple days, the strike made a strong impression on the government due to its impressive level of mass support. Still, the strike lacked the crucial participation of the trade unions.

This would come in part with the 1909 general strike, which lasted a month and convened almost half a million workers. The initial aim was to combat worker lockouts and wage freezes. But as chairman of the transport workers, Charles Lindley, recalled, “In that time there was an almost unlimited faith in the general strike as the decisive means to get universal suffrage.” The economically inspired strike increasingly reflected workers’ democratic political aspirations.

The Swedish socialist movement’s goal was to first win political democracy.

Swedish policemen guard empty trams during the 1909 general strike. Wikimedia Common.
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The strike shut down all core export industries in the country, and workers attempted to spread it further. Employers responded with a standard tactic: importing striker breakers. In one case, three unemployed Swedish workers independently organized to bomb a ship that housed strikebreakers coming from Great Britain.

As days turned into weeks, however, strike leaders were forced to retreat, faced with meager strike funds and the prospect of having to divert relief from other workers in an economic recession. Liberals began to turn on the strikers when typographers joined, seeing their participation as an attack on “freedom of speech.” Workers’ families struggled mightily with the mounting deprivation. The Swedish Employer’s Association was therefore in a position by the end to dictate terms, and they did.

But while the strike was in many ways a setback, it is universally recognized today as laying the groundwork for the democratization of Swedish society. Later that year all men in the country, regardless of their property holdings, gained the right to vote in at least one chamber of federal government. Full political democracy, while distant, was now on the horizon.

The Riksdag, the Swedish parliament.
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Germany

Almost two-thirds of late-nineteenth century Germany lay within the Kingdom of Prussia, which had enforced the unification of the German states in 1871. Despite the passage that year of the general, equal, and secret right to vote for all males over age twenty-five, Prussia maintained a system from 1849 that divided voters into three classes based on their tax bracket.

The obviously unequal arrangement, early socialist leader Wilhelm Liebknecht referred to the Reichstag as the “fig leaf of absolutism”, created a situation where 4 percent of the first class held as many voters as the third class, who made up 82 percent of the eligible voting population. And there was another anti-democratic check on workers’ power: the upper chamber, the Reichsrat, could block any constitutional changes passed by the directly elected representatives of the Reichstag. The Second Reich, Marx declared, was a “police-guarded military despotism, embellished with parliamentary forms.”

Somehow, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) flourished in spite of these adverse conditions. It was the largest socialist party on the continent, the Second International party par excellence. The SPD’s Erfurt Program, ratified in 1891, declared: “The struggle of the working class against capitalistic exploitation is of necessity a political struggle. The working class cannot carry out its economic struggle and cannot develop its economic organization without political rights.” At the top of the party’s demands: “universal, equal, and direct voting rights via secret vote for all citizens over twenty years of age, regardless of sex.”

A printing of the SPD’s seminal 1891 manifesto “The Erfurt Program.”
The working class cannot carry out its economic struggle and cannot develop its economic organization without political rights.
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The country’s elites were not amused. Following the development of a country-wide strike movement, employers insisted that the kaiser both rescind the vote from all those affiliated with Social Democracy and legally limit strikes. The kaiser, showing no aversion to despotic rhetoric himself, told a group of new military recruits in Potsdam in November 1891:

“the current socialist machinations could result that I order you to shoot down your own relatives, brothers, even parents . . . but even then you must follow my orders without any grumbling.”

The SPD patiently agitated and organized to become the largest party in the Prussian parliament by 1908. They led repeated mass demonstrations for full suffrage, which were inexorably met with brutal repression.

On the eve of World War I, suffrage rights were still the province of the elite. But for their efforts, the SPD was rightfully recognized as the most consistently democratic force in prewar Germany.

Great Britain

Of all the European countries of the Second International, Great Britain had the least democratic voting system, the proportion of men over the age of twenty-one who could cast a ballot at the start of World War I was smaller than in eight of nine countries for which full data is available.

Mass disenfranchisement was deeply rooted in the country’s political system. At the start of the nineteenth century, in an electoral system marred by extreme gerrymandering, only 4 percent of the population could vote. In the middle of the century, the pro-suffrage demonstrations of the Chartists, the first mass working-class movement in European history, were met with elite antipathy. As late as 1884, access to voting remained unequal between the towns and the countryside, and after reforms altered that undemocratic hindrance, eligible voters still had to prove a base payment in rent to qualify.

The ruling class simply couldn’t countenance approving a measure they thought would give “the rabble” political power: universal suffrage, in the estimation of British statesman Thomas Babington Macaulay, was “incompatible with property . . . and consequently incompatible with civilization” itself.

Arrayed against Macaulay were the working class and their burgeoning movement. The Labour Party, firmly committed to universal suffrage, agitated for political democracy and was able to wrest some concessions before World War I. In 1911, they pushed for an end to the House of Lords’ veto over legislation.

Finally, on the heels of continent-wide war, universal male suffrage was established, and women won the vote in 1928.

The political order that, in Lenin’s words, had entrapped the working masses in a “well-equipped system of flattery, lies, and fraud” was cracking open.

Fighters for Democracy

The early socialist parties showed an unflagging commitment to universal suffrage, a commitment unmatched by any other party.

Their dedication was at once ethical and practical. On the one hand, they were determined to overturn structures of domination and inequality wherever they existed. And in the political sphere, workers were vassals, subject to the decisions of officials they had no hand in choosing.

On a more practical level, the early socialists recognized the potency of the ballot. Their fight for universal suffrage joined the political and economic struggles, transforming the vote into an object of radical tactics and revolutionary élan. It tied together the different factions of the movement in the pursuit of a tool (the vote) that workers could use as part of the broader class struggle. Their aim was to create a “true democracy,” from the bottom-up, in the tradition of Marx.

Today, amid fights in the US to maintain the basic functionality of a democratic voting system, socialists mustn’t forget their historic role in struggling for political democracy. So many of even the liberal democratic parts of liberal democracy came about thanks to the battles socialists waged against the feudalistic leftovers of the Old Regime and the new capitalistic oligarchy.

Barely a century old, and only for males of European descent the universal right to vote is still an infant in need of close guard. Current shadows of Jim Crow, whether in Georgia or the Dakotas, reveal the persistent threats to its existence, as well as the oligarchic and undemocratic strain that runs strong in the American republic and still hasn’t accepted universal suffrage.

We should reject faux-radical pronouncements that dismiss voting as inconsequential and, instead, meld the fight for universal suffrage with the fight for socialism and radical democracy. The vote was a historic conquest for the working class. It remains a “paper stone” in the hands of the disenfranchised.

Adam J Sacks holds an MA and PhD in history from Brown University and an MS in education from the City College of the City University of New York.

Jacobin Magazine

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Can America Rescue Itself? Vote, Because That’s Just What They Don’t Want You to Do – NY Times.

This is a fragile moment for America. The integrity of democratic institutions is under assault from without and within, and basic standards of honesty and decency in public life are corroding.

If you are horrified at what is happening in Washington and in many states you can march in the streets, you can go to town halls and demand more from your representatives, you can share the latest outrageous news on your social media feed, all worthwhile activities.

But none of it matters if you don’t go out and vote.

It’s a perennial conundrum for the world’s oldest democracy: Why do so many Americans fail to go to the polls? Some abstainers think that they’re registering a protest against the awful choices. They’re fooling themselves.

Nonvoters aren’t protesting anything; they’re just putting their lives and futures in the hands of the people who probably don’t want them to vote.

We’ve seen recently what can happen when people choose instead to take their protest to the ballot box. We saw it in Vir1inia in November. We saw it, to our astonishment, in Alabama in December. We may see it this week in western Pennsylvania. Voting matters.

Casting a ballot is the best opportunity most of us will ever get to have a say in who will represent us, what issues they will address and how they will spend our money. The right to vote is so basic, President Lyndon Johnson said in 1965, that without it “all others are meaningless.”

And yet every election, tens of millions of Americans stay home. Studies of turnout among developed nations consistently rank the United States near the bottom.

In the most recent midterms, in 2014, less than 37 vercent of eligible voters went to the polls, the lowest turnout in more than 70 years. In 2016, 102 million people didn’t vote, far more than voted for any single candidate.

The problem isn’t just apathy, of course. Keeping people from voting has been an American tradition from the nation’s earliest days, when the franchise was restricted to white male landowners. It took a civil war, constitutional amendments, violently suppressed activism against discrimination and a federal act enforcing the guarantees of those amendments to extend this basic right to every adult. With each expansion of voting rights, the nation inched closer to being a truly representative democracy. Today, only one group of Americans may be legally barred from voting, those with felony records, a cruel and pointless restriction that disproportionately silences people of color.

In the months leading up to the midterm elections on Nov. 6, when the House, Senate and statehouses around the country are up for grabs, the editorial board will explore the complicated question of why Americans don’t vote, and what can be done to overcome the problem.

The explanations fall into three broad categories:

SUPPRESSION

A 96-year-old woman in Tennessee was denied a voter-ID card despite presenting four forms of identification, including her birth certificate. A World War II veteran was turned away in Ohio because his Department of Veterans Affairs photo ID didn’t include his address. Andrea Anthony, a 31 yearold old black woman from Wisconsin who had voted in every major election since she was 18, couldn’t vote in 2016 because she had lost her driver’s license a few days before.

Stories like these are distressingly familiar, as more and more states pass laws that make voting harder for certain groups of voters, usually minorities, but also poor people, students and the elderly. They require forms of photo identification that minorities are much less likely to have or be able to get purportedly to reduce fraud, of which there is virtuall no evidence. They eliminate same-day registration, close polling stations in minority areas and cut back early voting hours and Sunday voting.

These new laws may not be as explicitly discriminatory as the poll taxes or literacy tests of the 20th century, but they are part of the same long-term project to keep minorities from the ballot box. And because African Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, the laws are nearly always passed by Republican dominated legislatures.

In a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s strict new voter-ID law, a former staff member for a Republican lawmaker testified that Republicans were “politicall frothing at the mouth” at the prospect that the law would drive down Democratic turnout. It worked: After the 2016 election, one survey found that the law prevented possibly more than 17,000 registered voters, disproportionately poor and minority, from voting. Donald Trump carried the state by fewer than 23,000 votes.

FAILING TECHNOLOGY

The legitimacy of an election is only as good as the reliability of the machines that count the votes. And yet 43 states use voting machines that are no longer being made, and are at or near the end of their useful life. Many states still manage their voter registration rolls using software programs from the 1990s. It’s no surprise that this sort of infrastructure failure hits poorer and minority areas harder, often creating hours long lines at the polls and discouraging many voters from coming out at all. Upgrading these machines nationwide would cost at least $1 billion, maybe much more, and Congress has consistently failed to provide anything close to sufficient funding to speed along the process.

Elections are hard to run with aging voting technology, but at least those problems aren’t intentional. Hacking and other types of interference are. In 2016, Russian hackers were able to breach voter registration systems in Illinois and several other states, and targeted dozens more. They are interfering again in advance of the 2018 midterms, according to intelligence officials, who are demanding better cybersecurity measures. These include conducting regular threat assessments, using voting machines that create paper trails and conducting postelection audits. Yet President Trump, who sees any invocation of Russian interference as a challenge to the legitimacy of his election, consistently downplays or dismisses these threats. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s State Department has not spent a dime of the $120 million Congress allocated to it to fight disinformation campaigns by Russia and other countries.

DISILLUSIONMENT

Some people wouldn’t vote if you put a ballot box in their living room. Whether they believe there is no meaningful difference between the major parties or that the government doesn’t care what they think regardless of who is in power, they have detached themselves from the political process.

That attitude is encouraged by many in government, up to and including the current president, who cynically foster feelings of disillusionment by hawking fake tales of rigged systems and illegal voters, even as they raise millions of dollars from wealthy donors and draw legislative maps to entrench their power.

The disillusionment is understandable, and to some degree it’s justified. But it creates a self fulfilling prophecy. When large numbers of people don’t vote, elections are indeed decided by narrow, unrepresentative groups and in the interests of wealth and power. The public can then say, See? We were right. They don’t care about us. But when more people vote, the winning candidates are more broadly representative and that improves government responsiveness to the public and enhances democratic legitimacy.

These obstacles to voting and political participation are very real, and we don’t discount their impact on turnout. The good news is there are fixes for all of them.

The most important and straightforward fix is to make it easier for people to register and vote. Automatic voter registration, which first passed in Oregon just three years ago, is now the law or practice in nine states, both red and blue, and the District of Columbia. Washington State is on the cusp of becoming the tenth, and New Jersey and Nevada may be close behind. More people also turn out when states increase voting opportunities, such as by providing mailin ballots or by expanding voting hours and days.

The courts should be a bulwark protecting voting rights, and many lower federal courts have been just that in recent years, blocking the most egregious attacks on voting in states from North Carolina to Wisconsin. But the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has made this task much harder, mainly by gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 case. Decisions like that one, which split 5 to 4, depend heavily on who is sitting in those nine seats, yet another reason people should care who gets elected.

In the end, the biggest obstacle to more Americans voting is their own sense of powerlessness. It’s true: voting is a profound act of faith, a belief that even if your voice can’t change policy on its own, it makes a difference. Consider the attitude of Andrea Anthon , the Wisconsin woman who was deterred by the state’s harsh new voter-ID law after voting her whole adult life. “Voting is important to me because I know I have a little, teeny, tiny voice, but that is a way for it to be heard,” Ms. Anthony said. “Even though it’s one vote, I feel it needs to count.”

She’s right. The future of America is in your hands. More people voting would not only mean “different political parties with different platforms and different candidates,” the writer Rebecca Solnit said. “It would change the story. It would change who gets to tell the story.”

There are a lot of stories desperately needing to be told right now, but they won’t be as long as millions of Americans continue to sit out elections. Lament the state of the nation as much as you want. Then get out and vote.

NY Times

Can’t be bothered to vote? If you’re young, you simply can’t afford not to – Armando Iannucci. 

The ‘mostly forgotten’ could be the ‘powerfully unignorable’. 

Around 75% of people aged 65 and over will vote in this UK election; unless something thunderously radical happens in the next six weeks, only around 42% of 18- to 24-year-olds will do the same.

The over-65s coming out to vote and the under-24s staying in has been the norm for the past few decades. This is why we’re now all hearing so much about the pros and cons of the triple lock on pensions, but absolutely nothing about student fees and housing benefit.

The older electorate has become an effective voting lobby. Because the over-65s turn out in such large numbers, every politician needs to court them and doesn’t want to utter a single word that will alienate them or drive any of them to political opponents.

Why can’t it be like this for 18- to 24-year-olds? If they registered and voted in force, they would become powerfully unignorable. I admit that “Powerfully Unignorable” is not a great campaign slogan, but it’s much better than “Mostly Forgotten”.

Of course, a lot of young voters choose not to vote because they’ve been put off by what’s on offer. “They’re all as bad as each other”.

This is an act of protest that immediately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s no coincidence that the collapse in the 18- to 24-year-old vote has seen the advent of tuition fees, reductions in housing benefit for 18-21 year olds, the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance, no entry to the “national living wage” until the age of 25, and cuts to student disability allowances.

These are measures taken in recent years by Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem ministers alike because, in the end, the youth vote was never going to trouble them. So, if financial savings were going to have to be made somewhere, they were going to be made from young people. This in turn has produced disenchantment: if the young are going to be so neglected, why should they bother voting?

And so it spirals on. Each reduction in registration and turnout met with a further opportunity for ministers to raid young people’s resources. While older voters are invited to the top table, the young are dumped around the back by the bins.

The material benefits are clear. If young voters turn out in large numbers, then they become a powerful bloc that needs to be heeded and addressed. It’s the basic politics of self-interest: the more 18- to 24-year-olds vote, the more their concerns will be taken seriously.

If we don’t participate in democracy, we won’t have much of a democracy left in which to participate. The truly wasted vote is the one that isn’t cast.

Although we were all mostly appalled by Donald Trump’s victory, there is some consolation that he has the courts and Congress placing checks and balances on him. In Britain, we don’t have these restraints. Total power resides with the prime minister. The bigger the majority, the more unchecked her (or his) sway across health, education, taxation, benefits, and indeed all legislation, not just Brexit negotiations.

Brexit, the election of Trump, the rise of Le Pen, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasing autocracy in Turkey; these are the will of democratic electorates. Unpredictability is extremely unpredictable. Votes matter and those who don’t vote risk getting not more of the same but the opposite of all they believe in.

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■ Since 1992, voter turnout has fallen – with the sharpest declines among voters aged 18-24 and 25-34.

■ In 1992, 75.4% of 18-24s voted, but this dropped to 44.3% by 2005.

■ Analysis suggests that 43% of young people supported Labour in the 2015 general election, while 27% supported the Conservatives.

The Guardian

New Zealand’s Voting Reality? Hopeless! – The Opportunities Party. 

Little has changed.

We just commissioned market research to determine what makes New Zealand voters tick and the answers are depressing.

One of the line of questions asked of a poll of 1,000 voters was designed to determine the factors that contribute to their views on policy. It went like this;

  • Respondents were presented with three electoral options and asked to choose their preferred option (or none of these.)
  • Each option includes a party banner, a policy, a statement of ‘where the money comes from’ and an underlying description of the tax system being promoted: how fair is it?
  • Respondents do the exercise 10 times – each time being presented with different alternatives. They might be a diehard National supporter, but even then, some policies or tax schemes may prove untenable. In other words tax may trump party allegiance.

By studying the collective choices made, 10,000 of them, we can determine the decision architecture of the voter – and also compare the attractiveness of the competing policies, parties, etc.

This is how it turned out:

…  TOP

When it comes down to it, self-interest predominates – and we wonder why our politicians focus mainly on delivering us candy, and never tell us which taxpayers specifically will be paying for it.

Are we really such children?