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I have a goal set to know more about politics by that time. I volunteered for Bernie Sanders. I went to many rallies, I was at the first presidential debate in Las Vegas. I just have no respect for that. I was with my mom, we were at Albertsons grocery store around the corner from my house, and they were in there voting. My mom voted, and it took her literally ten seconds. I felt bad about it for two years. I look at it this way: That report just came out the other day about global warming, talking about how we have 12 years, until , for this radical change unlike the world has ever seen.

And The Hill newspaper just put out that article about how the DNC does not plan on making climate change a big part of their platform, even still. They have not done anything. There are people that are exciting. So would I vote in the future?

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If somebody came along that was exciting like that? Most people my age have zero need to go to the post office and may have never stepped into one before. I vote when I feel like I have to. New York especially has a pretty vibrant tenant-organizing scene. You see organizing around community gardens, around people protesting new development going in, people working against rezoning. Regardless of the outcome of those things, I think people leave with a sense of empowerment. You might have failed this fight, but now you know your neighbor.

Democracy and Political Ignorance | Cato Unbound

Now you have a whole network you can call up the next time this happens. You have this kind of despair for the next two or four or whatever years. If we get to a blue wave in the midterms and then things just continue on, people will feel deflated and check out.

In , I was extremely enthusiastic to vote for Barack Obama. For a while, I thought it was an immoral act to vote. So, for instance, I voted for Cynthia Nixon in the primary recently. I teach at CUNY. My polling place is at the end of my block. It was easier to get my medical-marijuana card — not a right, or even federally legal — than it was to register to vote. Every day is a guessing game: Am I going to feel up to doing anything today?

Uninformed: Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It

I put it off. Growing up, going to Catholic school, everything we learned had a skew on it.

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The idea of leaving work, forwarding all of my calls to my phone, to go stand in line for four hours, to probably get called back to work before I even get halfway through the line, sounds terrible. There are issues I care about: immigration, access to health care. My parents are of the generation where they actually watch the news, and they know about candidates via the news. Where my generation, the millennial generation, is getting all their news from social media like Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, and that is not always the best. Lupia offers not just a critique, though; he also has solutions.

Drawing from a variety of areas of research on topics like attention span and political psychology, he shows how we can actually increase issue competence among voters in areas ranging from gun regulation to climate change. To attack the problem, he develops an arsenal of techniques to effectively convey to people information they actually care about.

Citizens sometimes lack the knowledge that they need to make competent political choices, and it is undeniable that greater knowledge can improve decision making. But we need to understand that voters either don't care about or pay attention to much of the information that experts think is important. Uninformed provides the keys to improving political knowledge and civic competence: understanding what information is important to and knowing how to best convey it to them. He serves on advisory boards for several science communication endeavors, including the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Academy of Science and Climate Central.

From Infinite Ignorance to Knowledge that Matters 2. Three Definitions 4. The Silver Bullet 5. The Logic of Competence 6. Lost in the Woods 7. Attracting Attention 8. Building Source Credibility 9. The Politics of Competence Value Diversity and How to Manage It Trump was being supported by low-information voters, people who were not typically Republican voters, and so on. He was getting support because of his name brand. He kept winning in these plurality votes [as the highest vote-getter but at less than 50 percent].

Once he became the presumptive nominee, bias took over. GovTrack Insider: But if you want less democracy, the Electoral College result overturned the popular vote.

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Brennan: The purpose of the Electoral College originally was to be a check on the power of the electorate. It was supposed to be there, in principal, as a way of preventing demagogues from coming to power. It just never worked out that way. What they thought would happen is, there would never actually be a majority of people supporting any particular candidate. The states would end up issuing five or so candidates to the House of Representatives, who would then pick one.

You have indirect methods. So Chancellor Merkel was not elected by the people. Justin Trudeau was not elected by the people to be the prime minister.

GovTrack Insider: So instead of democracy, what would you recommend instead? GovTrack Insider: Sorry to interrupt. You would let two-year-olds vote? This is a system in which you can extract knowledge from the masses, through a statistical method. So you let everybody vote, but when you have them vote, you do three things. First, you collect information about what it is they want. So you get their policy position. Then you collect their demographic data. What their race is, their income, their gender identity, and so on.

Finally, you give them a quiz of just basic political information. Like, can you name the vice president? Do you know which party controls Congress? Can you estimate the unemployment rate? Just a battery of very basic questions. Not Econ , just basic stuff. When you have those three sets of data, you then can statistically estimate what the American public — or the voting public — would want if it were demographically identical… but fully informed. You can statistically estimate, you can figure out whether a fully informed America would support this candidate or that candidate.

Would it support this party or that party? Technically speaking, it might even count as a form of democracy, because nobody literally gets extra votes. This is already what political scientists do. We would use this statistical method to isolate the effect of whiteness, compared to all the other demographic variables. We would just do it to control for knowledge.

We would use this very same method to control for your demographics and just look at the pure effect of information. You can even let little kids to vote. You could let two-year-olds vote if you wanted. GovTrack Insider: You would let two-year-olds vote? Certain forms of voting methods, when you flood them with completely uninformed people, it makes the system work worse. Other forms of voting systems, they have no negative effect.

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