February 4, 2012 Leave a comment
If I saw this most places, I don’t know that I’d give it much credence, but since it’s Larry Bartels writing at the Monkey Cage, it suggests that there’s really something going on here. And, that is:
That’s the message I take from a recent book by James Gilligan, a psychiatrist at New York University. In Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others, Gilligan documents a striking statistical connection between changing rates of violent death in the United States over the past century and the party of the president. He concludes that Republican administrations are “risk factors for lethal violence,” and that the only reason they have not produced “disastrously high epidemic levels” of suicides and homicides is that Democrats have repeatedly undone their damage. (I’ve added handsome hand-coloring to Gilligan’s key figure in order to highlight the partisan pattern.)
Gilligan found that, over the 108 years covered by his analysis (1900-2007), the age-adjusted suicide rate increased by an average of 9.7 per million over each Republican four-year term but decreased by an average of 11.1 per million over each Democratic term. The age-adjusted homicide rate increased by an average of 3.6 per million over each Republican term but decreased by an average of 4.2 per million over each Democratic term…
Gilligan attributes these very different trends in violent death rates to consistent differences in the parties’ policies and performance with respect to unemployment, economic inequality, and recessions, which in turn have substantial effects on “individual emotional and psychological health and welfare.”
Short version: election results really matter for people’s lives. This is not just some game.