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Cryptstopher @BunchesOfBees
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It's become my opinion that a major stumbling block in the development of a progressive agenda has been that almost everybody, of every political alignment, misunderstands distribution of ideological positions in our society on, like, a very fundamental level
The idea is there's a spectrum of voter ideologies, with centrists in the middle, leftists on the left, and conservatives on the right, that's unimodally distributed with most people being sort of in the centre and equal left and right fringes that decrease the further you go
But surveys of ideological positions actually don't look like this. What ideological surveys (for example, the ones Data for Progress has published) actually show that ideology is bimodally distributed, with an overwhelming majority of society (like 70%) being left of centre....
There are very few functional "centrists," and the right wing is a second mode (i.e., a little bump) fairly right of centre that comprises like 20-30% of the population
The reason that voter breakdowns don't look like this is because conservatives tend to be wealthier, are overwhelmingly white and somewhat majority male, they have private transportation, they share an almost identical agenda when it comes to voting, and they vote at higher rates
This seems counterintuitive, but if you line up the facts it actually is pretty obvious: you can get a 49/51 split one year for progressive voters and then a big 60/40 surge the next year, but you basically never get a conservative surge because they already all vote
In fact, almost universally we know that the bigger an election turnout, the more it skews left, and voter suppression causes elections to skew to the right. This is consistent with the idea that the right is already nearly maxed out in voter participation
The problem is that election statistics, the fact that conservative vs centre/leftist voter turnouts tend to be almost 50/50, has influenced people to believe that the breakdown of ideologies in society are also shaped like that.
But in surveys of ideological positions, they aren't: most left policies are very popular. Most right wing policies are generally unpopular. The real political centre in society is a fair bit to the left of where most people believe it is.
When conservatives adopt a sort of victim ideology: saying that they have to conceal their conservativism from coworkers, etc., they're not really lying. There aren't very many of them and they are actually extremely unpopular.
All of this is consistent with a systemic problem with democracy: a smaller group of relatively more privileged voters with identical class interests exerts an outsized effect on democratic elections, and this has led almost everyone to believe that they're much more numerous
It's hard to overstate how this affects our politics. A major factor is the right doesn't split votes. Because they effectively don't believe in society and they have identical interests, it is not possible for them to have a conflict between conscience and strategic voting
The fact that so many democracies trend towards de facto two party systems is entirely a result of the way right wing voting works. The right minority gets one candidate, everyone else gets another candidate.
This system developed on its own out of demographic breakdown in English-speaking countries like the US and Canada. Most people on the left don't vote because A. it's typically harder for them to do so and B. they can't find a candidate who represents their interests
But left-leaning parties can't run more candidates to represent widespread public interests because then they'll split votes and the right will win regardless.
In effect, the continued democratic marginalization of the overwhelming majority of society is guaranteed: left parties cannot build an effective base because running candidates who represented majority interests would just cause them to lose
I raise this issue because we're going to have a voting referendum in BC regarding proportional representation, including the option to rank candidates, and I honestly think this may be the single most important decision in the future of democracy
My reasoning is this: if we take the real breakdown of political ideologies in society: most people cannot agree with each other on what they want, but something like 70% of society agrees they *don't* want to elect conservatives
The ability to vote for a candidate who represents your values without effectively splitting the vote carries a very real possibility of breaking conservatives as a political bloc by reducing their influence to reflect their real numbers
It's not a silver bullet that magically fixes everything overnight--there are more practical reasons besides feeling uninspired that result in lower voter turnouts among the non-conservative majority--
But it's absolutely an opening that would enable left parties to run candidates that bring more people out without de facto handing victory to conservatives, and it would allow parties representing actual majority interests to form representative coalitions and build a real base
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