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Little messages that mean

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Votes are little messages that matter, but what exactly do votes say? According to Elizabeth Drew, our politicians routinely claim to know exactly what voters were saying with their votes:

After an election, there’s inevitably a variety of pronouncements of politicians on what they “heard the voters say.” They and the various pundits largely “hear” an echo of their own previously held views and find vindication of their particular hobbyhorses. It’s a subjective and self-serving exercise.

Perhaps we will learn somehow to send messages that are more precise, less easy for politicians to translate in such self-serving ways. To accomplish this, the ballot box is a necessary but not sufficient means of communication.

(“In the Bitter New Washington,” NY Review of Books, 12/23/10 issue)

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