American Political Behavior Mid-Term and Discussion Chapter and Blog
Module 4/Discussion 1 -- Participation of Young Voters
Young voter participation has been lagging behind other age groups, which has been a major concern. It is a concern because majority of the population that is eligible to vote comprises of the youth. In a nation where 23% of the people are edible to vote, 17% comprises of the youth (Winograd & Hais, 2009). It is also notable that voter registration targets the college students thus a gap in voter turnout between people with collage experience and those without (Putnam, 2000). Young adults were able to vote after the ratification of the 26th amendment, which was in 1971. Regardless of this right to vote, young adults do not exercise their civil responsibility to vote. The voter turnout by young adults is usually low over the last years. This is mainly due to the lack of voter education. Many young people do not see how the matter of voting will address the problems they face such as high unemployment rates in the country (Wattenberg, 2008)
Current Events Blog
The article under evaluation evaluates the voter turnout among Americans during the midterm elections. The article evaluates a survey conducted to evaluate the number of youth that have information about the elections. The articles estimates up to 19% of the youth in the nation have not even thought about the election in 2010. The article further educates the young adults on the importance of voting. The importances of voting summarized into three elements include the need to exercise their civil responsibility, the need to address their interest and to ensure that politicians take them seriously.
The concept noted from the reading is the ability to increase the number of young voters through voter education and emphasizing on issues directly affecting the young voters. The politicians need to engage the youth to ensure that their vote matters. Some politicians are using social media as a way to interact with the youth to ensure that they vote.
1. What are the major causes of the decline in civic participation and voter turnout over the latter half of the 20th century in America? Explain at least two causes in detail.
One of the major causes of low voter turnout is the decline in the trust many people have about politicians and the government. Many people have lost faith in the government's ability to address the issues that the people face. Many governments prior to their election pledge to implement many policies aimed at addressing the issues that affect the society. Some of the policies become harder to implement such as reducing the employment rates, improving infrastructure and providing quality healthcare. Once a government is unable to implement such policies the people lose faith in the government. Politicians see the gap in the society and use it to gather votes. This has been the trend over the last half century thus as a result the number of voter turnout in subsequent election declining.
The advances in technology are also to blame for the decline in the voter turnout rates. The invention of the television broke the civil engagement behaviour. Prior to the invention of the television the people in the society used to meet in entertainment joins such as theaters and shows. People thus could discuss current affairs and political issues affecting them. Television reduced the number of people attending the social events thus a decline in the flow of information among the people in the society. The recent years have seen an increase in the number of television programs available to the people. The society uses the voting date to engage in leisure activities by avoiding the long queues and travel to participate in an exercise that does not have direct impact to their lives.
The loss of value of the change in government also contributes to the gradual decline in the number of voters participating in the election. The early nineties saw a society affected by the great depression, rights of the minority and a World War II thus the need to elect a government that supported the rights of the majority. Over the years, the change in presidential candidates does not directly affect the nation. Issues regarding to the high cost of living, the high unemployment rates and expensive medical services still exist years after many governments have changed hands. This has resulted to a decline in the number of voters over the years, especially the young adults.
2. Why are religion-based organizations able to utilize grassroots networks more effectively than "progressive" organizations? Explain the rise and power of evangelical Christians on the national political scene.
Religion-based organization have a greater influence compared to progressive organization due to the nature of the problems addressed. While progressive organizations address such issues such as economic growth and social stability, religious organizations address an individual's morality. Religious organizations are able to convince the people in a community that it is their duty to conduct changes in the society. Progressive organization show their members that it is their right to change the society they live in. religious organizations address the moral satisfaction that is relating to the changes being made by the organizations in the future.
Moral satisfaction is not tangible thus easily achievable. Progressive organizations measure their progress through evaluation changes or gains measurable in the society. The changes are usually hard to achieve and normally of negligible measure to the community. Religious groups also flourish in the local scene due to the social interaction between members. Religious organizations are thus able to organize the grass-root networks due to the regular meetings. Progressive organizations meet only for development agendas with no social interest. The religious organizations meet for spiritual and development agendas thus the coordination in the grassroots (Wogaman, 2000).
The nation politics have had a historical influence by religion, which has shaped many aspects in the nation. George bush and Jimmy Carter are examples of two born religious people elected to power. The influence of Evangelical Christians over politics has increased over the years with the number of followers increasing. The role played by the evangelistic Christian movement has been a key role in reshaping the country. The church has included humanitarian issues and environmental concerns into its agendas thus increasing its influence in the society. By addressing issues facing the people in the society, the church has been able to attract many followers thus having a political influence on the society.
The Evangelical Christian groups are united by their faith thus are able to conduct activities such as building networks and acquiring assets. The movement has been able to remake the political culture in the country in a bid to change American politics. A significant number of people in the country are religious thus their vote counts. The Christians vote for a leader whose policies protect human rights. President Carter's agenda was to uphold human rights as his evangelical faith necessitated (Wogaman, 2000).
3. Explain the impact that the development of new technologies has had on political behavior in the United States. How was the internet utilized to shift power during the 2008 presidential campaign?
The advances made in the field of technology have had significant effect on the way of politics in the globe. Technology has had negative and positive effects on the field of politics with the advantages outweighing the demerits. One significant demerit of technology is its multipurpose nature thus most of the people use technology for entertainment. From the invention of the radio to the internet in the current political environment, the use of technology has made political campaigns effective and cheaper. Politicians are able to address a wide number of people through the technology. After televisions invention, politicians could use the new technology to televise campaigns and make press statements, which improved their interaction with voters. The politicians were able to address their followers in different geographical regions at lower costs.
The use of the internet has further revolutionized the political environment. First was the use of the internet to host websites from political parties. Each political organization had a website, which contained all information about the organization. Introduction of chat applications enabled the political parties to interact directly with its members. The use of the website enabled the political parties to reach members in all geographical locations provided they had access to the internet. The current technology used by political parties is the social media. Politicians to interact with their members are using social media like facebook and twitter. The use of social media has also enabled followers of the politicians to interact and discuss topics. Social media is among the most up-to-date way of interacting with followers and ensuring that new information spreads rapidly.
The use of social media is also significantly cheap and effective way of communicating with members of the society. The use of social media by president Obama to spread his…