Voter Turnout and Identity

Scientific American Mind (dated Jan 10th) has a piece titled, “Voter Turnout Is Tied to Sense of Identity.” Unfortunately it is behind a subscription wall and therefore unavailable to me. But the short summary (reproduced here below the fold) is sufficient for us to get the general idea.
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On Identity Politics, Personality Cults, and Democracy in India

Who you are determines what you do. That’s not the most incisive of observations but one’s identity is inextricably mixed up with what motivates one. Consequently identity does have predictive and explanatory power regarding the behavior of people. Naturally political parties – who must understand crowd psychology to be successful – understand that. Particularly in India, identity based politics has been refined to an impossible degree.
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United Voters of India — Part 2

It is understandable that all human institutions have their flaws being as they are ultimately the creations of fallible creatures such as ourselves. The ideas that institutions are based upon in their ideal conception may be flawless but their implementation in the real world — what I characterize as a “second best”[1] world — cannot be perfect. The institution of democracy as actually implemented anywhere has imperfections, and in some cases where the necessary preconditions for its implementation are not met, it has serious implications.
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United Voters of India — Part 1

Generally speaking, Indian democracy consistently fails to elect good political leaders at all levels of government. One of the many reasons for this could be that a certain segment of the voting population has been rendered powerless to affect the outcome of elections: it is the educated, middle and upper class, largely urban segment of the population. The illiterate and the poor constitute very large and powerful vote banks which are pandered to by unscrupulous political parties.
Continue reading “United Voters of India — Part 1”