Compromise in a Two-Party System, or, How to Lose Elections

What’s the Matter with Kansas?, by Thomas Frank, is a book that I’ve known the gist of probably since it came out: more and more people in this country have been voting into power politicians with a track record of policies against these voters’ own interests; why is this? And, as I understood from the interviews, etc., at the time of the book’s release, the author’s assertion is that, sometime in the 80s, a large faction of social conservatives started voting based on social, rather than economic, issues. OK, that makes sense, as far as it goes. But, leading up to the 2010 election, I decided I should read the book for myself, so I could understand and judge the arguments myself. So far—i’m 2/3rds done—I’m impressed with the research in the book. And he makes a very detailed examination of the people voting along social-values lines, how they do and don’t fit with traditional conservative voters, and how not-particularly-socially-conservative politicians have co-opted these voters. This last part is something I hadn’t really been aware of, prior to reading this book: he gives numerous examples of politicians not merely failing to pass their constituents’ social “reforms” into law, but not even trying.
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