Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Betting on politics

The WSJ’s L. Gordon Crovitz argues that we should pay more attention to operations like the Iowa Electronic Markets than to opinion polls in predicting the outocme of elections. But if I want to begin to understand why, or if I want to make an informed bet, I might still want to take a gander at the polls.

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I play these markets, and the arguments for them are pretty good and incredible in terms of accurate predictions.

On the other hand there are massive drawbacks to getting involved in this way in terms of being a partisan/citizen. The end result is actually the attitude that the elections are so predictable that there is in some sense little incentive to vote. In a sense then it won't be long before people playing these sorts of markets come to think of themselves as vegas odds makers. In fact...there are always some people who place bets on football games because they are fans, likewise there are some people who try to manipulate these polls because they are partisan, but such attempts are probably long run loosing propositions...so if you find a person who has been betting football for a long time(the profitables are very rare, because of juice), you are very unlikely to find a true fan of a particular team. In becomming "objective"(or as hegel would say "particular") we loose all sense of idealism(or as hegel would say Universalism).

Ohio state fans bet for the SEC, and democrats bet Republican if the odds are right. In the end we all come to think like Dick Morris who it would seem has no loyalty to either side. In fact in playing these political markets and attempting to lock on to the facts, the partisans on each side begin to sound more and more ridiculous, much as Ohio State and Michigan fans seem to those who are not in on the fever.

The end result in participating in these markets is a growing towards the awareness of what Levitt argues in Freakonomics: economists don't vote because it is "irrational".

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