Split Tickets Or Split Country – Straight-Ticket Voting Probably Polarizing

Political Discussion

(Image Credit MinnPost.com)

I rarely wade into the political pool but a column I read over the weekend provoked deep thought and consideration of others. Deep thought and consideration of others is not normally associated with our daily political news and hasn’t been for some time. Quite frankly I think many people are interested in politics more so now for the reality show aspect.

You come across an accident scene…it’s admittedly hard to turn away.

People seem to be watching the Democratic and Republican Presidential debates but it can’t be because they care about the issues of the day because the candidates rarely discuss the issues of the day. They’re way too busy insulting and yelling at each other…and most certainly degrading the other party at every opportunity.

Anyway, whatever your current take on politics is there has been an interesting trend which may help explain why we can’t seem to get compromise or agreement towards moving forward with issues in Washington and have instead become consumed with ripping everyone involved…about why we can’t seem to get compromise or agreement towards moving forward with issues in Washington.

Terry Madonna and Michael Young are highly respected political analysts who have pointed out we have become a nation of “ideologically driven, politically polarized partisans who increasingly eschew the bargaining and compromise that have historically lubricated politics. Not only are moderates gone from American politics; moderation is gone as well. Nothing illustrates this better or explains this more fully than the enormous decrease in ticket-splitting.”

For those of us doing it without even knowing it had a name…we’re talking here about the act of voting for a Presidential nominee of one party while also voting for one or more Congressional nominees of a different party. Madonna and Young report ticket-splitting dropped to a record low in the 2012 Presidential election. One study estimated at least 8 of 10 voters voted a one-party, straight-ticket. As recently as the Presidential election in 1972 more than 4 of every 10 Congressional districts – 44 percent – were characterized as ticket-splitters – voting for one party’s candidate for President and one or more candidates from the other party for the Senate or House.

In House districts alone now…the most recent number stands at 5 percent.

This straight-ticket voting – whatever cause you would like to attribute it to – positions our nation perfectly for a polarized political landscape.

And with no compromise or agreement towards moving forward with issues in Washington the true irony is we voters who have become completely perplexed with our government’s stalemate have potentially had the power all along to jump-start movement…injecting checks-and-balances in government by electing people…not parties. Or as Madonna and Young put it…

“Straight-ticket voting produces elections that only increase the virulent polarization infecting our politics. Worse perhaps, it undercuts ever further the compromise and accommodation so central to our intricate governmental system of checks and balances – inevitably unleashing more of the divisive and dysfunctional governance that increasingly alienates American voters from their government.”

Something to ponder as this 2016 Presidential reality show rolls out across America…and for future Washington-eligible elections thereafter.

Sounds like those of us looking for Washington to get things moving again might consider examining each and every contest carefully that sends someone to Washington and considering there are more qualifications to consider aside from just one – which party they belong to.


About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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20 Responses to Split Tickets Or Split Country – Straight-Ticket Voting Probably Polarizing

  1. cmblackwood says:

    I must admit, Bruce, that I’m not very good with politics — but I do love your reminder of “deep thought and consideration for others!” As always, a great post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Voting straight ticket is typical of those unprepared or only interested in high profile/media fodder slots. It takes time to go through the ballet ahead of time and make sure you understand what each name you choose stands for and plans to do if elected.
    This is critical with elected local offices like judges and county commissioners although rarely are those races on TV. Finding records and history of how they decide court cases is difficult and time consuming. Their ads basically say the same tired phrases and generalities.
    Or it could just be laziness
    But in any case, straight ticket voting allows one side or the other to gain more power for their agendas…and you said it was OK by blindly voting them into office. Hard to get ticks out once they get a good bite into that hide.
    It’s not just Washington anymore.
    Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen aka “Phil”…thank you for your thoughtful and passionate comment. Indeed I should not have minimized my consideration to just DC elections but local as well. I suspect the straight ticket phenomenon is at least as strong there also. I always research any candidates when voting first…and concern myself with party affiliation second. That’s why I found this info so intriguing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Belinda O says:

    Obviously it’s a lot easier to vote for someone when there’s only one issue to consider, and political party seems the safest…it may or may not be. I tire easily of vitriolic politics, and I’m already weary of this election year. My state is far from pivotal so Presidential candidates spend little money here once the ball gets rolling, A bizarre reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Belinda, I really am amazed at what is unfolding as far as what are passing for “Presidential” campaigns this cycle. Pennsylvania will be a key state in the final process but I suspect by the time our Primary rolls around the two party candidates will be decided. That certainly makes people feel included doesn’t it? Anyway, it’s getting harder and harder to get good people to run for elected office even at the local level. That’s likely another reason people are voting straight-ticket…apathy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Belinda O says:

        I agree — it’s frustrating, but it has been for a long time. My first Presidential election, I was living in California, and by the time I went to vote, Carter had conceded the election. I voted anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, I do indeed remember those days well when our founding fathers had not properly accounted for exit polling announcing election races over before the people out West even had a chance to go vote. Ridiculous.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These days it seems voters keep to party lines because they feel the opposing party and their elected candidates will do likewise. But, they also seem to feel that should they elect a candidate from the other party to office, they worry that that candidate might succumb to his party’s unyielding power to see and do things their way. And now that that elephant—or donkey, as the case may be—is in the room, it might prove impossible to ignore it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With all the political shenanigans going on this has become yet another reality show. I really hope that in the coming weeks/months the candidates will get serious and talk about their respective plans to put the country’s interest first. It’s difficult for citizens to understand where candidates stand on specific issues when the focus seems to be on their attacking one another.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Supreme Court Squares – Republicans (And Democrats) Both For The Block? | lifeattitudes

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