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ACF PoMoCon #9: Henry Olsen on 2020
Here’s my new podcast with Henry Olsen on democratic phenomena–vast increases in turnout in recent elections, which we expect will shock people in 2020, parties and administrations that cannot get a hold of their coalitions, much less represent them, and the entire shifting political landscape.
.Published in Podcasts
Mr. Olsen’s column on voter turnout.
When I worked as an election inspector last month, I heard constantly from the Board of Elections people that they were expecting huge turnout for the upcoming primaries and the 2020 election.
New York now has early voting, which I dislike, but the main point supposedly in its favor is to reduce waiting time for voters.
I’m not convinced that making voting easy is good for civic virtue.
Indeed it’s not–but it’s more inclusive, including of the lazy or careless, more egalitarian, & more technological, so it’s hard for people to say no…
Plus, think of how many more election inspectors have to be employed over the extra days!
Speaking of shiny new tech, this election was the first one we unveiled our new “Poll Pads,” iPads connected directly to the BoE. They worked pretty well, although the first inspector I was working with did his best to break ours…
Glad to hear the tech is not just in, but also survived contact with the enemy!
I am curious how people will deal with this matter come the elections–it’s amazing to think how many people will be involved in how many different schemes that must eventually be subordinated to one result…
That’s why I became an inspector, to see as much of the sausage- making in person.
Do write about the experience, come the election!
Your conversation mentions voter turn out as an indication of voter’s emotional temperature. Do you think that the contrasts that appear to divide voters are more visible? In thinking about Brexit, every county except the one in which London resides voted for Brexit. The voter turn out in Britain was a record breaker as you were talking about. The clearest issue was do you want to be ruled by Buckingham shire or Brussels, that may have been the tip of the iceberg. The hidden part was immigration, more men went to fight for ISIS than joined the British Armed Forces, and the most popular name for baby boys is Mohammed. It maybe that the gulf dividing us is between those who are attached to their country and those for whom country has ceased to be an idea motivating any loyalty. This is a funny paradox of our times, more folks speak Welch, with more radio stations broadcast in Welch, than 100 years ago, yet the momentum for international rule may be increasing at the same time. So while many are reidentifying with their roots, many have invented their own new roots which are not in family or country. How does this play out in Romania? Woven into the international view point is not only a lack of connection with one’s country but also a hostility to the Enlightenment, it is too white, too colonial, too male, and too capitalist. It is curious that the folks who are riding the crest of technology despise the culture that created the environment in which technological advances flourish, they seem to worship cultures which are less “Enlightened” less free, less questioning. These sophisticates hate the average Joes of their own culture but love the “authentic” cultures and their peoples who are more like the average Joes than they are. These folks don’t have children, in a way this is a cultural suicide, or too push it a little a murder/suicide, where the “anointed” destroy their cultural history and by not having children destroy themselves. If you want children, go to the Amish, their populations double every 20 years, too bad they insist on getting no electricity from the grid and taking social security money, or Medicare money.
1. Yes, there is a very serious separation between people who think nation & those who don’t. So far in Britain, it’s, old people are for Brexit, young are against (but can’t be bothered to vote). We might see, therefore, a quick change in politics with a change in generations…
2. There’s people who live in modern, rich metropolises–then there’s everyone else. Where the majority is, where the future is, what justice requires–a lot of this seems up for grabs.
3. Indeed, a lot of anti-political localism is emerging in many places in Europe. The more the EU runs things, the less people like their politicians or politics, the less they can form gov’t’s, the less they can take any question of justice seriously. But this doesn’t mean that the Spanish or Belgians or Dutch want out of the EU–they certainly don’t. Nor do their political classes want their authority back–they even more certainly don’t!
4. Romania is an odd duck–the opposition to the corrupt oligarchy of the country is mostly what in America would be called liberals & Progressives. Urban, educated, have no idea about the working classes & no respect for nationalism or religion. They’re usually right on questions of corruption, but they don’t seem to either know or like Romanians…
5. Yes, the Enlightenment is under attack–it cannot set goals for Progressives to progress towards, nor can it deliver the certainty that reason is superior to passion. This is why so many authenticity crazes sweep the lands, this is why so many upper classes fall for insanities or superstitions or fads. Reason has no confidence once it’s reduced to tech…
6. Yes, it’s past time for liberals to look again at backward Christians & figure out what’s noble in what they do & why reasonable people would prefer that to 21st c. living. Liberalism needs a strong dose of seriousness about human limits to defend itself from suicidal elites, to say nothing of foreign dangers-
Then what good are they? They can’t sing and they’re not pretty.
Well, (Western & Central) Europe isn’t like America–it’s more like Harvard. Respectability is very much a class issue & people kinda like that.
It’s hard getting Americans to throw the bums out–it’s much harder in Europe. People might get mad & have a revolution; but what people in Europe would stand on dignity & take elections seriously?
The whole class thing only works because people let it.
The appropriate response to “Do you know who I am” is “Yeah, but I’ll let you in the bar anyway.”
Well, with human things letting it always matters a lot, of course. Why is abortion so much worse in America than most European countries? Because Americans let it–but since they do, it is really difficult to persuade them to change.