THE FEILER FASTER THESIS. Why has there been a regular cycle for losses in Congress for the President’s party in off-year elections? Lots of explanations have been given. One is that the winning Presidential candidate at the head of the ticket pulls in the rest of the ticket. Another, as Bob Lehrman points out, is that there are more voters in the Presidential election so the results differ. Bob’s other two arguments are examples of the general point that lots of things can happen in two years. There is even a theory, the “Feiler Faster Thesis”, that the political news cycle is now shorter and that voters process information more quickly. This wikipedia article credits Howard Feiler with the idea, but says that Mickey Kaus defined the Feiler Faster Thesis in early 2000. It quotes Kaus: “The FFT, remember, doesn’t say that information moves with breathtaking speed these days. (Everyone knows that!) The FFT says that people are comfortable processing that information with what seems like breathtaking speed.” A consequence is that political shifts take place even more quickly than before so that off-year elections may be even less similar to Presidential elections (though the effects on gains or losses could go in either direction).

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  1. Dick Weisfelder says:

    Perhaps the reality is that they process misinformation faster. See the following PIPA poll results.

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