Did you hear about the study which showed that liberal state-level candidates overestimate the conservatism of their districts by a little, and conservative candidates overestimate it by a lot? Of course you did. By now everyone has taken a shot at it. For example, Ezra Klein.
Broockman and Skovron find that legislators consistently believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. This includes Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. But conservative legislators generally overestimate the conservatism of their constituents by 20 points. “This difference is so large that nearly half of conservative politicians appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than is the most conservative district in the entire country,” Broockman and Skovron write. This finding held up across a range of issues.
Can you think of at least one group who are not surprised even a little by this news? I can.
Look, politicians do not have some psychic link to a Kantian transcendental ideal representation of reality. They know what people think because either (a) they read about it or hear it on the TV, or (b) constituents pick up the phone and yell about it. This your average politician mainlines a mix of (a) newspapers, web blather and FOX or networks trying to be FOX, and (b) enraged idiots tying up phone lines over whatever vision Glenn Beck saw on his taco shell.
Yates Yeats was right. The worst are full of passionate intensity and they use the phone. A lot. You guys may not lack all conviction* but you harass your Reps a lot less.
So. Yeah. Do you need me to say it? Of course not.
(*) Don’t feel bad. A moron thinks that everything that matters can fit on Arthur Laffer’s tea napkin. Knowing things makes real conviction hard, and the more you know the less simple it gets. My whole career has centered around taking hard-and-fast rules and saying yeah-but.