A Bit Of Political Hocus-Pocus

Larry Price
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Wednesday - September 01, 2010
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There are many myths and misconceptions involving elections. Media pundits are predicting that no matter who wins the primary in our gubernatorial election, the results will be very favorable for the working class and labor union members, both public and private. A popular notion is that the majority of the working class, aka blue-collar workers, votes for the Democratic Party.

It’s an interesting bit of hocus-pocus, since there is no way for anyone to stand inside the voting booths to watch how citizens cast their ballot. The probable truth is that there are wide variations from election to election in how voters are influenced by their perceptions of their class interests. There is no correct data, anywhere, that can predict voting behavior by one segment of the voting public. It’s an urban myth.

Research by Angus Campbell in his book The American Voter shows that one-third of Americans are unaware of their class position. This suggests that if they don’t know their class position, how can they vote for a particular class of candidate? The lack of knowledge explains why class and status are not an issue with them.

Only a small and sophisticated portion of our population - those who follow candidates around from their high school days and hang onto every word of a potential candidate - can tell you the class difference between one candidate and another. It’s probably a waste of money to try to educate the potential voter on what class their candidate represents.

Another popular misconception about the voting public is how to get people to switch their allegiance from one party to another.

Let’s face it, Gov. Linda Lingle did not get elected and re-elected to the office by Democrat voters. There is a lot of talk that this year will be the year for the independent voter to prevail. Incumbents are supposedly shaking in their boots, but anyone who believes that locally must also believe in the comeback of the dodo bird.

The prevailing political theory is that political parties and their candidates will have to gear their policies to involve and satisfy as many groups as they can in the state of Hawaii. It’s probably more true here than in other states that the reins of political power are clearly in the hands of a few individuals. This does not necessarily move democracy forward, and in some cases pushes it backward.

Also, budget cuts and staffing shortages have reduced the number of polling places in Hawaii from 339 to 242. Officials fear that the reduction could hurt turnout for the Sept. 18 primary.

It makes you wonder why there isn’t a push by our elected officials to allow people to vote online. The response has been that there is too much of an opportunity for fraud. The question is, if everything else in the world these days can be accomplished online, why can’t we vote online?

The times are changing, and the younger class of the voting public would have no problem casting a ballot online. I’m equally certain that some of the older folks might need a little education to participate, which leads to the discussion of class distinction and discriminating against those without knowledge.

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