March 22, 2012

Thank Global Warming for GOP House!

Professor Mankiw points out an interesting study on the Tea Party. It seems it was most effective in areas that had sunny weather for big tax-day rallies.

It's easy to imagine how this works. Showing up at a rally increases the chances of getting more involved, making a donation or bringing a friend to another event. Larger and more successful rallies also boost subsequent news media coverage of the movement, further stimulating community interest.

What's more, the Tea Party experiment shows that the activism catalyzed by those sunny days translates into real political influence. Politicians whose districts were sunny on tax day voted in a more reliably conservative fashion throughout 2009 and 2010. Indeed, the absence of rain in a congressional district on April 15, 2009, made its representative 8.7 percentage points more likely to vote against the Affordable Care Act. Had the weather at those early rallies been sunnier, it's possible that Obama’s signature legislation wouldn’t have passed.

Without minimizing the power of ideas, liberty, and limited government, I think it pays to accept the randomness of exogenous events. General Washington was righteous and all -- but some lucky fog in the Battle of Brooklyn kept the revolution from getting squashed in an early outing; maybe a lovely spring 200 some years later might have done the same.

There's a great line in Pippin where Charlemagne says "It's smarter to be lucky than it's lucky to be smart."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at March 22, 2012 11:22 AM
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