Monday, October 24, 2005

Campouts for the Vote! A new youth mobilization strategy?

So today in class, I began to talk about political participation and how political institutions address the "paradox of turnout." Fairly basic stuff, but familiar to anyone who knows the work of Rosenstone and Hansen's book on the topic.

We walked through a variety of "modes" of participation today, from voting, signing a petition, canvassing, attending a rally, writing a letter, giving a speech, etc. Most professors use this trick--you line up the various kinds of participation, then talk about what sorts of "resources" (skills) and "benefits" (rewards) accrue to the individual. Then you can use this to deduce some potential empirical relationships.

So today's story from Austin is so perfectly timed. In order to get students excited about voting (presumably against) a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Texas, the "Campus Alliance Against Inequality" sponsored an all-night campout, including live bands, free food, and free coffee. Ah, yes, the joys of selective incentives.

Partay On! And then vote in the morning.

I just hope no one was hung over.

Story referenced is here


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