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Social Structure and Voting in the United States (Hardcover) (Robert B. Smith)
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This book analyzes practical and moral influences on voting decisions. Undermining the assumption that economic self-interest is the key determinant of voting choices, it shows that moral considerations rooted in religious traditions are often the more decisive. To show that moral considerations often trump practical considerations it studies tangible problems, such as child neglect and crime, that one would expect to trouble practical voters. The book further explores how political ideologies influence party affiliation, rather than the other way around. It defines four categories of states—South, Heartland, postindustrial, and balanced—in terms of their degree of human development and income equality and explains how the states’ societal problems vary across these categories. It finds that the voters’ moral ideologies interact with a state’s income inequality and meager human development in ways that limit practical solutions to these problems. Finally, it shows that moral ideologies and authoritarianism, two very different concepts, are in fact intertwined empirically. It thus concludes that education—a key driver of human development, anti-authoritarianism, and deliberative voting—should begin in preschools that are both nurturant and instructive.