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Alex Burns @alexburnsNYT
, 6 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
This kind of thing is so often a throwaway line, when it is really the root of the issue

“It’s easy to blame the voters of West Virginia for this mess. They should know better than to give a former convict a shot at the GOP nomination for the Senate.”…
It’s considered extremely gauche for analysts/journalists/politicians to say — or imply — “the voters really screwed up on this one.” So we end up focusing on structural and tactical reasons for, say, Roy Moore getting nominated.
And many of those structural and tactical factors are extremely important! But focusing on those to the exclusion of making judgments about the electorate can have the perverse effect of making voters sound as though they have no agency.
It also has the effect of treating certain elements of our political culture as immutable, when they are social/cultural choices.

X candidate only won because he had more money for ads

Y candidate only won because of that viral video
If we had a mostly engaged electorate, we might not have so many elections decided by paid ads and clever gimmicks.

Or in the WV case, if voters were overwhelmingly inclined to treat Blankenship’s criminal history as disqualifying, he wouldn’t be a major factor in the race.
In conclusion, there's a giant space between saying "X is a bad/unethical/extreme candidate and voters are bad people because they voted for X" and treating voters as though they nominated X by accident.
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