TED Conversations

Daniel Gulley

This conversation is closed.

Increasing voter turnout in primaries would dramatically improve the American system and result in more candidates with moderate positions.

It occurred to me that if I placed a bell curve over this simple linear model of politics I could show the distribution of American political attitudes.


I divided the moderates such that conservative moderates are located from center to 1 standard deviation(SD) to the right of the mean and liberal moderates are from center to 1 SD to the left of the mean.

What this shows is that the majority of Americans are in the middle of the political spectrum.

This is where I may coin a term "the 68%". The 68% are the majority of Americans. They are working class Americans, students, teachers, parents, grandparents and veterans. They are by definition moderate being somewhere to the right and left of center and everywhere in between.

The two parties usually employ sensitive issues to fire up the base and to divide and distract those people in the middle of the political spectrum, the 68%. They agree on virtually all accounts except for abortion, and maybe gay marriage. Regardless these two issues are deployed every election cycle to divide and distract, and after every cycle the status quo, the state of affairs on abortion and same-sex marriage, remains the same.

But if most Americans are somewhere in the middle, why do our candidates come from the left and right of center?

Voter turnout in the primaries is very low compared to during the general election, and sometimes it is as low as 1% or lower (it averages probably around 10-15% but can get as high as 25-30%).

The result is the simple truth that while those in the middle of the political spectrum, the moderate majority decides who will be our president, it is those people on the far left and right (the fringes) that decide who the two candidates will be. In essence the 68% do choose who will be President but it is the 1% and the 10% that decide who will run.

Primaries are just as important as general elections!!!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 16 2012: It would make the problem worse as the ones who are apathetic are decidedly left wing
    • thumb
      Dec 16 2012: Do you have any evidence to support this conclusion? It seems to me if you are left wing then you care about left wing issues thus denoting an absence of "ennui".
      • thumb
        Dec 16 2012: It is a known and accepted fact. I don't know where it is, but it is hardly a delusion conclusion. The left wants free stuff because they don't want to be bothered with having a job ergo voting is too much of a burden.
        • thumb
          Dec 16 2012: "It is a known and accepted fact." By who Fox News?

          You can not make a claim and then when pressed for evidence support that claim in such a manner.

          It is logically fallacious.

          This type of reasoning is known as an Appeal to Belief "This line of "reasoning" is fallacious because the fact that many people believe a claim does not, in general, serve as evidence that the claim is true." http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-belief.html

          Of course I reject the idea in it's entirety that "it is a known and accepted fact" but even if everyone believed it that alone is not evidence of its truthfulness. At one time everyone believed that the earth not the sun was the center of the galaxy and that the earth was flat.
      • thumb
        Dec 17 2012: No my point is I don't care and am not going spend time looking for evidence that you will ignore any way. But reasoning really is flawed for this reason. Have a nice day
        • thumb
          Dec 17 2012: I would not ignore any scholarly evidence that you could produce....

          If you don't care enough to back your claim with actual evidence why bother replying at all?

          Trolling perhaps?
        • thumb
          Dec 17 2012: Here is some statistical evidence for you....


          If you compare the two figures for any given state you will either get a positive number (meaning that state pays in more in taxes than it gets back from the government in entitlements) or a negative number (meaning that the state gets more money from Washington than it pays in).

          Do the math... do you notice a pattern? Overwhelmingly the Red states receive more from government than they pay in, and overwhelmingly the Blue states pay more into the system than they receive in entitlements....

          Isn't this the opposite of your claim??
      • thumb
        Dec 17 2012: This relates to voter apathy how?
        • thumb
          Dec 17 2012: "The left wants free stuff because they don't want to be bothered with having a job ergo voting is too much of a burden."

          Your words.
          You connected having a job and voter apathy yourself. Please stop making this easy.
      • thumb
        Dec 17 2012: Are you and John Smith the same person?

        Have a nice day
        • thumb
          Dec 17 2012: No...and apparently that concludes the discussion on whether apathetic voters are infact leftwing... They're not.

          Have a nice day aswell
      • thumb
        Dec 17 2012: Au Contraire

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.