Why No Secession or Talk of Secession?
jfnbl at earthlink.com
Wed Jun 28 12:40:23 PDT 2006
At 11:57 AM -0400 6/28/06, RJLipkin at aol.com wrote:
>I can't see how close elections can mean the absence of polarization.
Because it sometimes means the absence of meaningful differences on
significant issues. I know it's counter-intuitive, but I see sharp
divisions of public opinion in landslides (Johnson-Goldwater in '64,
Nixon-McGovern in '72), which were about the Cold War and Vietnam
War. You can add Nixon's threadbare win in '68 if you figure that he
would have gotten Wallace's 13% of the vote in an election about Race
and the Great Society.
In very close elections (Kennedy-Nixon in '60, Bush-Gore '00), I see
a failure to identify issues and articulate positions that sharply
separate the candidates politically. Kennedy squeaks out a victory as
a Cold War Democrat, and Bush slips in as a compassionate
conservative who campaigned on education.The political center is not
volatile. Unless circumstances or the candidates supply the basis for
sharp political choices, you get an electorate comprised of a
minority of polarized voters who are equally, if sharply, divided
over political philosophy; but the outcome is determined by the
center, which is divided mostly by public appeal based on personal
affinity, the political equivalent of a coin-toss (Carter-Ford '76,
Bush-Gore '00), even though the coin-toss sometimes provides a larger
margin because the public appeal based on personal affinity is
lopsided (Reagan-Carter '80, Reagan-Mondale '84, Bush-Dukakis '88,
Clinton-Bush '92, Clinton-Dole '96)
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