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Does public opinion matter? With chart!

by A swedish kind of death Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 03:41:49 AM EST

Inspired by conversations here, I drew on my political experience and structure up a flow chart for when public opinion matters.

Scenario: You are a politician and about to vote for or against a bill. A group of citizen makes you aware of their displeasure with your attitude in the question at hand. The question is: does it matter? Follow this simple flow chart and find out!


1. Can they affect you personally?
(Everything from a big payoff or nice lunch to being scorn at the supermarket or getting relatives whacked counts.)
==YES=> Ok, they matter. Weigh them against other concerns. (Like what benefits your position and power. Oh, and personal opinions if any are left.)
    ||
    NO
    ||
    \/
2. Are they allowed to vote? ==NO
=> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
3. Are they many or can affect many? ==NO
=> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
4. Can your position and power be affected by voting? ==NO
=> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
5. Will your vote show? ==NO
> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
6. Is there another party/candidate, that is closer to their position? ==NO
=> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
7. Will this be remembered on election day? ==NO
=> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
8. Will they actually vote for an alternative on election day? ==NO
=> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
9. Will that affect your power, money or position? ==NO==> They do not matter
    ||
    YES
    ||
    \/
Ok, they matter. Weigh them against other concerns. If you follow their opinion, make a big deal about it.

Some comments:

  1. This one is simple yet important. If politicians live in the rich quarter that will affect their opinions, if they live in middleclass or workingclass quarters that will also affect their opinions. Peer pressure is a big deal, so peers matter. If you can bury their office in flowers or angry letters and phonecalls, that also a way of reaching them. Obviously the threath of violence from deep state or terrorist actors can also sway a politician, though I have never found the bomb-throwing that some (far from all) anarchists used to do back in the days, a very efficient long term strategy.

  2. If they can not affect you personally or at the voting booth, why bother? This is in my opinion an argument for wide suffrage rights. And for that matter for democracy at all.

  3. Need to reach critical mass or have enough peoples ear. Not much to comment, shows the power of the media for example.

  4. If your position is insulated from the effects of voting, say by being a member of the european commission, then you need not care about elections.

  5. If your vote is obscured by secrecy or obscure ways of holding the vote, you can not be held acountable. For example if you are acting on the Council of minister. This shows the need for transparent, understandable proceedures.

  6. If their votes can go nowhere, it does not matter. If they abstain it is half the cost compared to going to a rival. This shows why multiparty systems are inherently (all else equal) more responsive to public opnion.

  7. If voting is far between there are lots of issues that affect sentiments, most can safely be ignored if the election is far away.

  8. "Throwing your vote away", "A vote for X is a vote for Y" and other great slogans goes here. Votes that can be taken for granted does not matter.

  9. Gerrymandering or designing systems that create lots of safe seats is a good way to minimise the threath of voting actually affecting anything. Party control over list another. Permanent grand coalitions is third way, it creates safe executive seats.

A politician following this simple schedule will stay a politician, one not following it will be voted out. Thus those in power follows it (wherer they know it or not). So this is roughly my view of politics, what is yours?

Display:
Now to find the answer to a bigger mystery: why does my ascii arrows get so messed up? (/ becomes / for example.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 03:43:10 AM EST
Hi there - are you thinking of using this somewhere? Maybe you said so, and I just missed it in my scanning over it. But if not, would be very interested to hear more about this!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 04:04:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, this was most about structuring up my own thoughts. Maybe I'll use it as a reference here if anyone wonders why [groups of politicians] does not listen to a resoned argument when it comes to [question].

I had a comment somewhere in some diary in a discussion with In Wales where I started to formulate this so it felt logical to follow it up here.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 09:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This happens when you use 'Auto Format' in the drop down menu. Switch to 'HTML formatted' and they will show. Or you can enter \ as \\, which will display \ in 'Auto Format'. (Though when attempting aligned ascii it is advisable to use 'HTML formatted' since some other things might display strangely as well.

I have corrected this formatting problem in your diary, in my new capacity of technical helper. I also made another small change in your point 1 (put in a table) to allow for multiline text. Let's see if it updates correctly!

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 05:17:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
someone:
when attempting aligned ascii it is advisable to use 'HTML formatted'
and <pre>
pre-formatted
</pre>blocks.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 05:44:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I see. Thank you.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 09:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 I want to do it, now make me do it.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 09:13:57 AM EST
I wonder how many politicians ask themselves 'is this the right thing to do, and for the right reasons?'
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 09:40:11 AM EST
Only until they bump hard into askod's decision tree.  Then they learn to convince themselves that what they have to do is, in fact, the right thing to do, presuming they survive the collision.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 02:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen many of the best and brightest young politicians (in different parties) run with those questions, hit the flowchart and leave. Those that stay adapt.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 04:24:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to quote myself

ceebs:

theres the old Anarchist poster that has the following text on it

National election
XXXXXXXXXXXX

Local election
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This is your lifetime supply of democracy
please do not steal the pencil.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 10:39:25 AM EST
I liked the graffiti at South Bermondsey Station in London.....

"It doesn't matter who you vote for...the Government always gets in"

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 04:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw another great one a couple of weeks ago:

Vote for Nobody!

  • Nobody really cares what you think.

  • Nobody will keep his election promises.

  • Nobody will improve your lot in life.

  • If Nobody is elected, things will be much better.

Or something along those lines.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Apr 17th, 2009 at 02:05:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so I can revisit this decision tree. Good work, a nice illustration of the obstacles needed to be overcome.

And now, I'm off to work. Exit stage right!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 11:43:51 AM EST
Flow chart continued
Are all candidates owned by global corporations.
They do not matter.
by Lasthorseman on Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 10:36:33 PM EST


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