Millennial Voting

The reign of the largest voting group, the baby boomers,  was overthrown by the infamous millennials in 2018. According to CNN’s article, “Millennials to pass baby boomers as largest voter-eligible age group, and what it means”, the baby boomer’s voting dynasty existed for four decades.

However, the CNN article stated that the millennials, though superior in numbers, were not as inclined to vote as the baby boomers as of 2017. FactTank backed up this claim, saying that baby boomers tended to vote more than millennials at the same age.

Source: FactTank

Before the 2018 midterm elections, it was projected by USA Today’s poll that only 31% of millennials were planning on voting. The article stated that the remainder felt uncertain whether they would vote, or were too uninformed.

Ultimately, there seemed to be a higher percentage of millennial voters during the midterms, according to Elite Daily. It should be noted, though, that information concerning the presence of millennial votes was limited.

USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/10/31/millennial-midterm-elections-poll/1830219002

CNN:                                                               https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/25/politics/brownstein-millennials-largest-voter-group-baby-boomers/index.html

Elite Daily:                                                                                             https://www.elitedaily.com/p/how-many-millennials-voted-in-the-2018-midterms-this-is-so-encouraging-13103878

Voting…

 

Because I am still relatively new to voting I had no idea how math could be used other then to count how many people voted. The concept of a preference ballot really change the way i see voting.

I assumed that voting was just the person with the most votes wins. However this is only one type of voting. This is called a plurality vote. In the case below, the person “E” would be the winner because,that person received that most votes. You can see how this might make a large number of people upset considering he was voted last by everyone else.

With a preference ballot (“A preference ballot is a ballot in which the voter ranks the choices in order of preference.”) the person “B” should be the winner because more people voted highly of them. In each group, “B” wasn’t voted lower then second choice.

For it to be a majority vote, one of the candidates would have to have more then 50% of the votes. I this case it would have to be ≥ 226. I figured that out by adding up the total number of voters, 450, then divided that by two, 225, then added one to make it over 50%. If it were exactly half it would just be a tie and another vote would have to take place.

 

Preference Ballot Voting

Various Demographics and Their Voting Tendencies

As our class transitioned recently into touching on voting/voting theory, one thing really intrigued me about the voting process: how do different demographics present themselves in voting results? Particularly, I wanted to look at age and race, and how these demographics lead to different voting tendencies.

In the presidential election of 2016, a prominent division between demographic and voting turnout was that of age:  people between 18-29 years of age voted in a 55% majority for Hillary Clinton, and 50% of people between 30-44 years of age voted for Clinton. These were to only 37% and 42% Trump vote turnout respectively. On the opposite end, people above the age of 45 possessed a 53% voting majority in favor of Trump. In this election more than many others, age was a large dividing factor: the younger generation tended to vote in favor of Clinton, while older people tended to vote Trump.

However, race presented an even larger division between voters — among white people, there was only a 37% turnout for Clinton. Compare this to African-American voters, who turned out in a massive 88% majority vote for Clinton, or Latino-Americans, who came out in 65% majority for Clinton.

The election of 2016 was one that tested the boundaries of racial and age-based divisions in America, and it was interesting to read the statistics and see exactly where these divisions lie. I’m excited to learn more about voting theory to understand more about these demographics and their voting tendencies.

The attached image is a theoretical map to see what the election would have looked like if only women voted. Interesting stuff.

Photo Source: FiveThirtyEight Poll

How Rhetoric Can Affect Voting.

…Rhetoric is a mode of altering reality, not by the direct application of energy to objects, but by the creation of discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thought and action.” a quote by Lloyd Bitzer that my Propaganda & Persuasion class landed on as our definition of rhetoric for the remainder of the semester.

Rhetoric is a powerful tool that can be used to sway voters in one way or the other. We have seen rhetoric at use in Trump’s 2016 election. He was able to use highly targeted data from Facebook based on his audience and was able to show his following just what they wanted to see. People tend to agree with the opinions that match their own, leading to their votes. Trump also utilized another technique of rhetoric to persuade by attempting to relate to his audience, claiming that he is not much different from most Americans, even with all of his wealth. This technique is the same technique used by Mark Antony, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” from Julius Caesar, a play by William Shakespeare.

Another instance of rhetoric in voting history would be Robert Kennedy’s speech after MLK’s Assassination in 1968. Kennedy was able to utilize the opportunity he had with MLK’s passing and related to the crowd of sorrowful people by connecting to his brother’s assassination. Kennedy was also able to use rhetoric to advocate peace against the riots happening across the country at the time. The tool at hand, rhetoric.

Image Source

Robert Kennedy’s Speech – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2kWIa8wSC0

 

The Dangerous Imperfections of a 3-way Vote

Image result for game theoryImage result for game theory

From what I am understanding, from class and this article, voting can be looked at under the same idea as Game Theory. However, I do not think that trusting the government should be a game of chance.
As in the current events in the United Kingdom, one cannot simply vote what their preference would be. One has to weigh the outcome of their vote against what others appear to be voting. If I want candidate C to win, I may actually have to vote for candidate A so that candidate B doesn’t get the most votes.
This is also the case in the United Kingdom with the Brexit Referendum. However, their vote comes with even more questions than just who wins. Their vote also asks, “what next”, if they choose to leave.
I am curious if there ever was a time in voting history, if one could actually vote their preference without worrying about the “what if’s”.

States with income tax vs states with no income tax.

Which is better to live in states with income taxes or without them. Currently  there are 7 states that has  no income tax.

Image result for states with no income tax

States that do not have income tax have higher taxes in property, sales, and gas. These states would provide fewer public services and the tuition in many colleges/university are much higher compared to other states. The only people that seem to benefit from this is higher income residents. The 1% would only pay 2.4% of what they earn while the poor will pay around 17% of what they earn. The poor will also have less public services disposed to them.

Comparing US taxes to other countries

Total Tax Revenue 

US taxes are relatively low compared to those in other developed countries. In 2015, taxes at all levels of US government represented 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with an average of 33 percent for the 35 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Among OECD countries, only Korea, Turkey, Ireland, Chile, and Mexico collected less than the United States as a percentage of GDP. Taxes exceeded 40 percent of GDP in seven European countries, including Denmark and France, where taxes were greater than 45 percent of GDP. But those countries generally provide more extensive government services than the United States does.

Why are US taxes relatively low?

The answer is pretty simple, and already got answered in the paragraph above. Other countries offer more extensive government services than the US, which inlcude but are not limited to: Free Healthcare, Tuition Free College, no need of purchasing unemployment or disability insurance (as they are already covered by taxes), etc. All of those services are packaged and delivered by the government in most european countries, and here in the US you have to pay for those services whenever you need them.

Which option would you choose? Would you rather pay higher taxes and take advantage of free government services, or would you rather pay relatively low taxes and pay for those services whenever you need them?

Taxes and the Race for 2020

With a new presidential election just around the corner, many potential candidates are beginning to outline their policies, or at least throw some ideas out there to see if they stick. Healthcare and education are big talking points this early on, but one issue always seems to float to the top: taxes.

And why wouldn’t it? It’s an easy way for politicians to tell their voters “I’m going to save you money”, which is something everyone can get behind. However, taxes are already confusing, which makes them even more so when politicians begin discussing potential changes to tax laws.

I’m not even sure how a few of the proposed tax plans would even work. For example, I like Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposed annual federal wealth tax of 2% on $50 million or more and 3% on $1 billion and up. However, it is constitutionally questionable as it is a “direct” tax and that is “not levied in proportion to the population of each state” (“Elizabeth Warren wants a ‘wealth tax.’ It might backfire.”)

With the US federal budget deficit rising by 17% in FY 2018 (up $113 billion from FY 2017) and seems to be only rising, it will be interesting to see if this affects how people will vote in 2020. (“US budget deficit expands to $779 billion in fiscal 2018 as spending surges”)

View Taxes

Imagine you’re about to go house shopping for your dream house. Nice two story colonial, three bedroom,  two bathrooms, beautiful cathedral ceilings with and every morning you wake up to see the sun rising over the beautiful Crotched Mountain.  You’ve done the math, you can just barely afford this beautiful family home with a view and you’re just about to sign the papers when your realtor tells you about this not so amazing thing called a view tax. A view tax is a yearly tax added onto property taxes that have a view or  pleasing surrounding landscape. For a man in Oxford, N.H. his beautiful views surrounding his country farm raises his homes value by about seven times. With everyone wanting a “house with a view” this gives towns an incentive to add taxes onto certain properties knowing that people will pay the extra money to have a pleasing view. This causes problems for families and households who want that dream home but are on a tight budget.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_tax

The Aesthetically Pleasing View Tax

Luxury taxes and ghetto taxes

*Disclaimer* Ghetto taxes are not applied by the government. It’s not an actual tax, but I found it super interesting and relevant.

Luxury taxes are taxes on goods that aren’t necessities like expensive clothing and high-end cars. This tax is usually higher than the original sales tax. Of course, this is reasonable because a private jet isn’t an essential item.

On the other hand, there is the ghetto tax. Last semester in my global public health issues class, we learned about something called the ghetto tax. This “tax” is the increased prices of essential goods used in poor neighborhoods. It is like a convenience fee. This is usually on groceries and clothing but also on things like insurance and home mortgages. no-one-can-afford-to-be-poor In this article, they find home insurance is about $300 more in poor neighborhoods and car insurance. They find that the poor spend $50 to $1000 more on car insurance. Some of the examples given in the article really add up and can set these people back.