4/13/08

Blogs on Childers

In no particular order...

Youtube of Bill Clinton and Travis Childers



From CottonMouth: Childers opposes Columbian Free Trade

RightofMississippi: Childers and Joey Langston

RightofMississippi: Childers and John Kerry

RightofMississippi: Childers and the DCCC

CottonMouth: Republicans are scared

RightOfMississippi: GOP and Dem polling memos

TheNewRepublic: Via Daily Kos, though, one interesting point to note is that the ballot in the Mississippi race doesn't show the candidates' party membership (see ballot at right). Travis Childers is the Democratic nominee in the race; Greg Davis is the Republican nominee. This probably benefits Childers. Since the district is fairly solidly Republican, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+10, the Democrat benefits if the salience of party identification is lower. (One wonders, indeed, if this ballot was designed deliberately by a partisan Democrat.) From a normative standpoint, though, this is incredibly problematic. Given the rules governing the operation of the House of Representatives, for better or for worse, in any House race partisanship is the single most important factor to consider if your goal is to move national policy in a direction that aligns with your preferences. To deprive voters of that information on the ballot is a major impediment to the functioning of the democratic process. The common response is that by omitting party affiliation, in effect you impose a political literacy test on voters: In order for your vote to have maximum ideological efficacy, you must have paid enough attention to the campaign to know which candidate is a Republican and which is a Democrat. I think this asks too much of voters, though, at least in the context of House races. It's perfectly rational to say: "I'm busy and I have no interest in following the details of this political campaign. I know my preferences align largely with the platform of the (Republican/Democratic) party, and since the House functions in a manner such that the majority party sets the agenda, I'm simply going to vote along party lines." Of course it would be nice if voters engaged in a more nuanced calculation than this, but it's hard to make the case that it should be a de facto requirement that they do so. This matters slightly less during a special election, where the vast majority of people informed and motivated enough to actually go vote will probably know the candidates' party affiliations anyway. And the nonpartisan ballot--a major reform pushed by early-twentieth-century progressives to dilute the influence of party bosses--may have slightly more to recommend it in a municipal context. But denying voters the ability to cast a party-line vote for a party-line institution, during an era in which partisanship and ideology are closely intertwined, does a major disservice to democracy.

3 comments:

Buddy said...

Childers is certainly a Clinton man and not an Obama man. He is appealing to the "bitter" voters in the First District with his pro-gun, pro-life rhetoric.

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." - Barack Obama

I made such a comment over at CottonMouth, but Mr. Leek did not approve and deleted it.

AnnEllisSimmons said...

My policy is to discourage criticism of other sites, here. Post your stuff but don't bring your fights with other sites. CottonMouth does great at posting interesting things. If you have a problem with their comments, take it up with them, not me.

John said...

Thanks, I'd like to point out that the ROM video was a Cotton Mouth original which can be found in full here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AbzySEGKh0