Campaigns/Elections

Suffrage for the Ignorant

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Over at nytimes.com they have finally heeded the cry: "Mr. Sulzberger, tear down this wall!" At least for this week, the TimesSelect wall is down and  you can read the whole New York Times op-ed page, including today's article by John Tierney, which urges people who have not been following politics in recent weeks to go out and vote.

Tierney takes issue with the idea that talking politics 24/7 during an election cycle is good for the country, citing a recent study:

Consider an experiment last year, when groups of Coloradans convened separately in Boulder and Colorado Springs to discuss global warming, affirmative action and civil unions for same-sex couples. Before the discussions, the people in Boulder were on average more liberal than the ones in Colorado Springs, but there were also moderates in both places whose opinions overlapped.

After the group discussions, the people in Boulder moved to the left, and those in Colorado Springs moved to the right. The researchers — David Schkade, Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie — concluded that "the major effect of deliberation was to make group members more extreme than they were before they started to talk."

If you're reading this right now, you should probably stay out of the voting booth (or thank a teacher). But if you have a friend who still doesn't know what the word "macaca" means, you could do your part by driving him to the polls.