[EM] Duverger's Law

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Wed Feb 26 13:17:14 PST 2003

Forest Simmons said:
> In other words, it's no accident that Gore and Bush were running neck
> and neck in the last presidential race.  The big money wants to
> reinforce Duverger's Law to make sure that whichever of the two parties
> wins, it's going to support corporate welfare.

When you combine Duverger's Law and the median voter theorem then
certainly one would think that 2000 should be the normal state of affairs.
 However, there have been many times in US history when the elections were
not 50-50 affairs.  Also, many states are effectively single-party states.
 One would think that the "out" party in a single-party state would try to
steal ideas and get back to that median.  However, the GOP in California
has done an excellent job of self-inflicted podiatric marksmanship
(shooting oneself in the foot).

On a related note, does anybody know the total number of votes received by
each party in the 2002 House races?  There was a lot of ado over the GOP
picking up seats.  Given that only a handful of House races were
competitive (fewer than 20), all we really know is that the GOP did a
better job of winning a few targeted races.  We know nothing about the
overall national opinion, whether the American people as a whole gave a
resounding vote of confidence to the GOP.


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