Axioms and Animadversions (3)

With all of the talk from angry Democrats about abolishing the electoral college (but don’t forget the Senate—they want that abolished too), very much worth taking in Trent England’s defense of the electoral college published recently by Hillsdale College’s Imprimis series.

But for my purposes, an old line from Edmund Burke suffices: “I feel an insuperable reluctance in giving my hand to destroy any established institution of government, upon a theory, however plausible it may be.”

Speaking of Democratic complaints, perhaps you heard Cory Booker lay out the myth of GOP (or is it Russian?) “voter suppression.” The Washington Post’s “fact checker” gives Booker four Pinocchios for this claim, though the analysis is rather lugubrious for my tastes. As this chart from Pew Research shows, voter turnout by all groups has been increasing in off-year elections.

Then there’s the study released in February by professors from Harvard Business School and the University of Bologna entitled “Strict I.D. Laws Don’t Stop Voters: Evidence From a U.S. National Panel, 2008-2016.”  From the abstract:

Using a difference-in-differences design on a 1.3-billion-observations panel, we find the laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation. These results hold through a large number of specifications and cannot be attributed to mobilization against the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported political engagement. ID requirements have no effect on fraud either – actual or perceived. Overall, our results suggest that efforts to reform voter ID laws may not have much impact on elections.

Well there goes that narrative.

Chaser: Listening to the metaphysicians of the Democratic Party handing out fundamental human rights like Halloween candy summons to mind another axiom from Burke: “What is the use of discussing a man’s abstract right to food or medicine? The question is upon the method of procuring and administering them. In that deliberation I shall always advise to call in the aid of the farmer and the physician, rather than the professor of metaphysics.”