Political participation in America: changes in the culture
Many theorists have attempted to explain the paradox of political participation in America. Sandroni and Feddersen (2006) explain that people participate in elections with the hope that their preferences will yield results through their chosen candidate winning in the elections. Due to changing times, technology and changing expectations, it is only natural that the whole culture of political participation changes. This paper evaluates the changes in the American political culture in terms of participation in elections between 2008 and 2012.
Technology has presented an additional method of campaigns and marketing in the political scene. The use of social networks like Twitter and Facebook has really increased in America deepening the culture of using social networks in politics. Compared to 2008, president Obama and Mitt Romney largely used the social networks to woo voters. Over 22% of American voters used Twitter and Facebook to announce their preferred candidate (Vanguard, 2012). Americans largely used the social networks to post photographs as proof that they voted. Prospective voters interacted more with their candidates on the internet. This caused waves that added to the candidates’ popularity and increased the participation of the youth.
There has been a difference in participation between these two years owing to genetics. For example, the Vietnamese Americans’ participation remarkably improved. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was aimed at ensuring that the minority groups also get an equal opportunity to participate in the elections like other citizens. This was achieved by providing information in a language they understood, because they were bilingual. Also in Nevada Latinos increased their turnout from 15% in 2008 to 18% (Reid, 2012).
Clearly, increased participation of the young voter, the women, and the minority groups increased Obama’s chances of winning. This shows, compared to 2008, that there has been an improved participation of these groups in the elections. This could be attributed to the increased hope and the changed expectations (Reid, 2012).
Understanding the change in political participation of the American citizen is complex, achieving that understanding requires a holistic approach. However, change is inevitable; it is always there. The question is to what extent that changes in political participation has taken root. It calls for careful study of all aspects around the life of the American citizen.
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