How New Media has Revolutionized Electoral Politics in the US

This paper [pdf] addresses the impact new media tools have on different segments of the electoral process in the United States. Specifically, it looks at  the impact new media has by providing information, influencing the news cycle and setting agendas, shaping public opinion, providing more fundraising opportunities, increasing political participation and youth voter turnout, and changing election results. This paper does so by drawing on systematic studies, data from the Pew Research Center, and case studies, specifically that of the 2008 Presidential Election. This analysis is unique in that it uses very current information, focusing on the 2008 election, as this was the first election in which new media was fully integrated into campaign strategies. It is also unique in that it analyzes several types of new media including social networks, blogging, campaign websites, and Internet fundraising. These findings suggest that new media does influence and shape the course of the electoral process in the United States through the six aspects of the electoral process presented in this paper.

Aronson, Elise D. (2012) “Cyber-Politics: How New Media has Revolutionized Electoral Politics in the United States,” Colgate Academic Review: Vol. 9, Article 7.

Interesting chat between statisticians on big data. From the Simply Statistics blog.

Participation is purposeful; it is intended to make a difference – to the participant, or to the world around them. People who take part in voluntary and community action are looking to fulfill this need. But local democracy has lost its sense of purpose. Politicians are seen as self-serving, local elections written off as a foregone conclusion and engagement is considered a cynical exercise in legitimising decisions already made.

It would be nice to think that social media could solve this problem, but I’m far from convinced. I do not dispute that it can be an excellent tool for engaging with certain groups, and making the business of government more open and transparent. But when people do not trust the messenger or the message, changing the medium is unlikely to make much difference.

Great discussion at the Guardian. Couldn’t agree more with the quote above. 

Would sortition rule out government by the “best”? This question, too, can scarcely be considered with a straight face. We all know what Mark Twain said about Congressmen, and matters have not notably improved since. Besides, as Callenbach and Phillips write, “pure intelligence — if there is such a thing — is certainly not directly related to political wisdom. The only reasonable assumption is that both are broadly distributed through the population.

Great text by George Scialabba at the LA Review of Books. Personally, I’m a strong sympathiser of government by lot. 

SurveyMonkey is inviting survey respondents to help predict the results of the next presidential elections in the US. Looks like an oversimplified version of prediction markets (pdf) for elections. For those who don’t know it, Marquis de Condorcet’s Jury Theorem, over 200 years old, was the starting point for all of this.