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One of the more annoying habits of elections commentary is ascribing a collective will to the electorate

Fair point, and I was actually conscious of it while writing that sentence, and decided it would do in a metaphorical sense.  Of course there can be an element of tactical voting - e.g. vote for Edwards in order to keep the race alive even if you don't really support him - but it is anthropomorphic, or something like that, to ascribe "a will" to the electorate as a whole.  

People vote all sorts of different ways for all sorts of different reasons and then the political analysts come along later and "tell us" why they did so - as if all those different reasons could be summed or averaged into one overall resultant reason rather like how, in physics, all sorts of different forces coming from different directions can be reduced to one "resultant".

Please accept my apologies for a somewhat lazy rhetorical sleight of hand.  But in order for commentary to be possible at all, we have to try to reduce many thousands of different motivations to a few explanatory variables.  Perhaps more correct would have been to say that the effect of all the different voting behaviours has been to keep the race remarkably open, with those touted by the media (and polls) as hot favourites often experiencing a late swing against.

Lets call it the reverse bandwagon hypothesis!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:41:35 PM EST
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It's more a pet peeve of mine, that fell upon your diary, rather than a direct commentary on your diary.

It's true that various motivations to switch one way or another add up to a final evolution of the vote, but motivations don't add up as easily as votes...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 07:24:23 PM EST
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Lets do a migeru style mental exercise.  Suppose a ward had 6 voters a, b, c

A is an Edwards supporter who votes Obama because he thinks Edwards doesn't have a chance

B is a Clinton supporter who votes Edwards because he wants the anti-clinton vote to remain as split as possible which requires keeping Edwards in the race

C is an Obama supporter who votes Obama

D is an Edwards supporter who votes Clinton because he doesn't like all how the media treated her "breakdown"

E is a racist who votes Edwards because he doesn't want a black to be elected

F is a GOP conservative who wants Clinton to get the nomination because he thinks she is the most beatable Dem contender


Obama 2 votes
Clinton 2 Votes
Edwards 2 votes

Q. What is the will of the electorate as a whole?

A. They can't make up their bloody minds!  No.  Edwards has more support than everybody else (2 supporters to one for Clinton and Obama).  He just didn't win the election.  Could be a metaphor...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:51:14 AM EST
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