Election Special

Sunday, November 6, 2016
First Aired: 
Sunday, September 4, 2016

What Is It

In this re-broadcast of our special episode from the lead-up to the 2016 election, John and Ken look beyond the horse races at some of the bigger questions raised by our electoral process.

• Do we always have a duty to vote? with Stanford political scientist Emilee Chapman

• Can our democracy survive the amount of money in politics? with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich

• How do we justify the two-party system? with Elaine Kamarck from the Brookings Institution.


Comments (2)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Friday, October 26, 2018 -- 12:06 PM

I have been thinking about

I have been thinking about these kinds of questions since 'the guy in the White house' was sworn in. Here is what I think about the three posed above. 1. Contrary to what patriots and nationalists may say, voting is a right and a privilege. To assert it to be a duty requires having at least one candidate, whose stated position(s) is/are worth voting for. Is is worthless to vote for the lesser-of-two-evils, when that candidate's views are against all (or most) of what one holds dear...those grapes are sour, anyway. 2. Our democracy runs on capitalism, which , in turn, runs on money. I do not know any concrete percentages, but it is commonly held that those who finish last in the currency sweepstakes, finish last at the ballot box. There have (possibly) been exceptions to this, but, those have been, I think, comparatively few, and, fewer still in recent history. 3. How do we justify the two-party system? Well, one answer to that might be 'It is just the way we do government', with corollary thinking being something like: 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.' Somewhere over time, corollary thinking failed, because the original intent of the system became corrupted by partisanship-at-any-cost. Members of both camps continue to deny this, while vociferously blaming their opponents, 'across the aisle'. That they can't have it both ways without being hypocrites does not cross their minds. Their reputations don't matter---(but that is another upcoming blog post, isn't it?)

There is a lot of anger, out there in the horse latitudes. More than I've seen in an entire lifetime (not counting part of the 1950s).

oncole's picture


Tuesday, October 30, 2018 -- 7:47 PM

Rather than trying to explain

Rather than trying to explain why it is a societal good for everyone to vote, shouldnt we start from the position that universal participation is the norm or the default? If so the question becomes what is the benefit, moral or otherwise, to not voting? The onus should be on those who do not vote; any claim of benefit would appear to be only selfishly and shallowly justified.