By Adam Seth Levine
Americans at the present time face no scarcity of threats to their monetary future health, similar to task and retirement lack of confidence, wellbeing and fitness care bills, and spiraling university college. whereas one could count on that those issues could encourage humans to develop into extra politically working on the problems, this usually does not ensue, and the ensuing state of no activity consists of effects for political debates and public coverage. relocating past formerly studied obstacles to political association, American Insecurity sheds gentle at the public's inactivity over monetary insecurities by way of displaying that the rhetoric surrounding those concerns is admittedly self-undermining. via their nature, the very arguments meant to mobilize individuals--asking them to dedicate funds or time to politics--remind voters in their monetary fears and private constraints, resulting in undermobilization and nonparticipation.
Adam Seth Levine explains why the set of people that turn into politically energetic on monetary lack of confidence concerns is hence relatively slender. whilst cash is required, merely those that care in regards to the concerns yet are usually not individually affected get involved. whilst time is required, participation is proscribed to these now not in my opinion affected or those who find themselves for my part affected yet outdoor of the exertions strength with time to spare. The latter explains why it truly is particularly effortless to mobilize retirees on subject matters that mirror own monetary issues, equivalent to Social safeguard and Medicare. in most cases, although, whilst political illustration calls for a wide crew to make their case, financial lack of confidence threats are uniquely disadvantaged.
Scrutinizing the rules of political habit, American Insecurity deals a brand new standpoint on collective participation.
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Relentless and ominous, the drumbeat echoes around the land: Social protection is at the verge of financial disaster. The caution has been repeated so frequently that it has turn into a gloomy article of religion for the thousands of usa citizens who pay Social safeguard taxes and count on to assemble merits sometime. however it is flatly unfaithful.
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One could certainly avoid talking about health care costs and instead focus on the desire to improve research funding for particular diseases, but note that this rhetorical strategy would involve shifting the conversation to an entirely different issue. Thus my claim is not that mobilizing people around “health care” writ large involves self-undermining rhetoric, but rather that mobilizing people around “health care costs” involves this extra barrier. Analogous arguments could be made for the other issues on which I focus.
97309′05—dc23 2014023570 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available This book has been composed in Sabon Printed on acid-free paper. ∞ Typeset by S R Nova Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, India Printed in the United States of America 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 Contents Acknowledgments vii 1 Financial Threats and Self-Undermining Rhetoric 1 2 Do Americans View Financial Threats as Important Political Issues? 35 3 Who Mobilizes? , Interest-Group Community 217 Appendix C: Multivariate Models from Chapter 5 227 Appendix D: Noncompliance in the ACSCAN Donation Experiment 230 Appendix E: Materials for Experiments in Chapter 5 233 Appendix F: Multivariate Models from Chapter 6 243 Appendix G: Details on Variable Coding for Multivariate Models throughout the Book 249 Notes 253 Bibliography 283 Index 297 Acknowledgments This book ties together several interests that I began exploring as an undergraduate student.
On the one hand, it might not be much of a concern if it turned out that such rhetoric could be easily avoided (as it arguably was for Christine O’Donnell and Richard Nixon). Indeed, there are many cases in which it is relatively easy for speakers to avoid mentioning topics or considerations that would undermine their purpose. In the gun control example mentioned earlier, advocates eventually switched to an alternative frame (children’s safety) that communicated more precisely why ordinary citizens outside the law enforcement community needed to become personally involved on the issue.