Olympia Snowe is arguably the most independent Republican in the Senate--and she's stuck with her party on 67.3 percent of votes in this Congress. That is to say, if you knew nothing about Snowe save that she was a Republican, you could predict her vote about 70 percent of the time.
And Snowe is actually uncommonly willing to vote with the other side. Ben Nelson is in Snowe territory, voting with the Democrats 67.6 percent of the time, and so is Susan Collins...The reality is that the single most important thing to know about any politician is which party they'll caucus with. Full stop.
Campaigns are built to fool us into thinking that we're voting for individuals. We learn about the candidate's family, her job, her background--even her dog. But we're primarily voting for parties. The parties have just learned we're more likely to vote for them if they disguise themselves as individuals. And American politics would work better if we understood that.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Posted by Contrapositive at 11:01 AM