How US Democracy Triumphed Again

Other aspects of the election may be more illuminating in this regard. Almost half the electorate did not participate and voting correlated with income, a long-standing "comparative peculiarity of the American political system" that is plausibly attributed to "the total absence of a socialist or labourite mass party as an organised competitor in the electoral market", as the political scientist Walter Dean Burnham puts it. Higherincome voters favour Republicans, but class-skewed voting alone does not account for the vote for George W Bush; his greatest success was among the white working class, particularly males. By large margins they favoured Al Gore on policy issues, and among voters concerned more with issues than "qualities", Gore won handily. But the genius of the political system is to displace such matters. Business and public attitudes commonly diverge: on trade, budget, public spending, and much else. In such cases, issues of great importance to the public either do not arise in the campaigns or are obscured and overwhelmed by peripheral concerns.
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