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The art of political persuasion

first_imgPersuading people to support a particular candidate or party is an essential test of any political campaign. But precisely how to move voters successfully is a matter still not fully understood — and the raison d’etre for political strategists and pundits.In the fields of economics and political science, conventional wisdom has long held that people generally will act in ways that support their fundamental views and preferences. So, for example, while few observers would be surprised if a lifelong Democrat cast a vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, they might not expect a Republican to go against his or her own party affiliation and vote for her.The idea behind the “rational actor” theory ― that people seek to act in their own self-interest ― sounds perfectly logical. But it fails to explain what causes some voters to change their political views or preferences over time.Now, political scientists at Harvard and Stanford universities, drawing from longstanding social psychology research, have concluded that a person’s political attitudes are actually a consequence of the actions he or she has taken — and not their cause.In a new working paper, the researchers say changing political attitudes can be understood in the context of “cognitive dissonance,” a theory of behavioral psychology that asserts that people experience uneasiness after acting in a way that appears to conflict with their beliefs and preferences about themselves or others. To minimize that mental discomfort, the theory posits, a person will adapt his or her attitude to better fit with or justify previous actions.“There’s a whole host of things going on in social psychology, psychology, and behavioral economics about how humans act and how preferences are formed” that can shed more light on “why politics is the way it is,” said Matthew Blackwell, an assistant professor of government in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) who co-authored the paper with Maya Sen, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), and Avidit Acharya, an assistant professor of political science at Stanford.The paper offers a new framework for understanding the origin of political attitudes and preferences and how they may change over time, and presents a formal theory about how people adjust their political preferences in order to downplay cognitive dissonance, a theory that has predictive power.“I think this gives us a lot of insights into how people’s political attitudes come to be formed, and specifically how they change over time,” said Blackwell. “The more we think about these different mechanisms in people’s heads, I think the better we’re going to be able to … figure out what messages are going to work and what strategies are not going to work.”Blackwell says the findings offer the first formal theory of political attitude change framed within the context of cognitive dissonance, one that could offer new understanding across a range of political behaviors and help answer questions like what causes political partisanship, what drives ethnic and racial animosity, and how empathy with key social ties is so effective in shifting a person’s political views.The paper was inspired in part by prior research and a forthcoming book project, which examines the long-term impact of slavery on political attitudes in the American South and why white people who live in areas historically active during slavery still hold very conservative and hostile views on race more than 150 years after slavery ended.In today’s political world, the desire to reconcile cognitive dissonance drives the growing tendency of political candidates to emphasize apolitical qualities such as personality and demeanor while deliberately cultivating vagueness about their policy positions in an effort to minimize cognitive dissonance in voters’ eyes, said Blackwell.“The less they know about your policies, the less strife they’ll feel in voting for you if they disagree with you,” he said.The research also suggests that if political parties can get young people to vote for their candidates at an early age, that could “lock in benefits” over the long term. “What we know is that just the act of voting for a candidate seems to increase your affiliation toward that political party over time and makes you a more habitual voter over time,” said Blackwell.As for the upcoming 2016 presidential race, cognitive dissonance predicts that parties that have a very combative primary season, like the one expected to take place among a vast Republican field, are weakened going into a general election, “not necessarily because of the ‘beleaguered candidate’ or ‘tired candidate’ that we sometimes hear about, but more because there’s a large group of voters who have to reconcile the fact they really vigorously opposed a [primary] candidate and now are being asked to vote for that candidate,” he said. “You have to engage with that cognitive dissonance about whether or not that’s actually a thing you would be able to do.” The big danger for a party is that voters who can’t reconcile their previous support for different candidate might simply sit out the general election.“This is why you see so much intense management in primary season of endorsements from candidates who dropped out and a lot of rallying the party around a candidate … to make sure that everyone’s on the same page,” said Blackwell. “The longer these primaries go, it could be the case that the more entrenched people’s attitudes become, and it’s harder to dislodge those.”last_img read more

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris on a Biden presidency

first_imgSawiris also told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” that Biden could bring balance to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“Donald Trump was working 100% in favor of Israel and not trying to find any true solution to the Palestinian problem,” he said.“In this area, we believe that the Trump administration has been totally biased and has not been really working for a fair solution of this dilemma that’s been there for 50 years,” he added. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will bring back the ethics and principles that were missing during the Trump administration, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said this week.“I think (a Biden presidency) brings some ethics, some principles back to democratic values, freedom values,” the chairman and CEO of Orascom Investment Holding said. “We’ve missed some of the ethics and principles in these areas during (U.S. President) Donald Trump’s reign.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Naguib Sawiris, chairman and chief executive officer of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding.Diego Levy | Bloomberg | Getty Images Trump in January launched a Middle East peace plan that called for two states, with Palestine’s capital in east Jerusalem. At the time, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal was a “realistic path to a durable peace,” but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the plan was “nonsense.”- Advertisement – Sawiris said Biden’s presidency is a chance for Palestinians to find new leaders as well. “I think it presents … an opportunity to the Palestinians to wake up and present a serious leadership that can obtain peace,” he said. “Up till now, you cannot say that Palestinian leadership was all there.”Market reactionSeparately, Sawiris weighed in on the post-election market rally.“The market appreciates the fact that the Democrats … they throw a lot of money into stimulus,” he said, adding that it may not be a long-term policy, but it is good for the market and for gold in the short term.Asian and European markets climbed on Monday after news networks projected Biden’s win on Saturday, while U.S. stocks look set to continue rising when the market opens Monday.“The market is actually positive and happy about this Biden change,” Sawiris said.He added that Biden’s focus on the fight against Covid-19 is also good because the disease has been “destroying” economies around the world. The former U.S. vice president is expected to announce a coronavirus task force today. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Swiston’s OT winner lifts Saints to second consecutive BCIHL title

first_imgIt also sets up a first round playoff series against Thompson Rivers University that will begin on home ice Friday.”Finishing in first place was an objective of ours from the beginning of the season, so we’re glad to have met that goal,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois.”It didn’t come easy; we basically had to go the last six weeks without any margin for error. But we have a group that takes a lot of pride in their ability to come through in big moments, and we saw that again tonight.”Colin Minardi opened the scoring for Selkirk midway through the first period when we took a pass off the rush from linemate Darnell Dyck and fired a shot over the glove of Spartans’ goaltender Silas Matthys. The score remained 1-0 for the hosts well into the second period when TWU captain Brad Bakken blasted a point shot through traffic and past Saints starter Chris Hurry just after the expiration of a Spartans power-play. But it took little time for Selkirk to reply, as Mason Spear tucked a shot just under the crossbar from in tight to give his team a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Saints had a number of chances to score an insurance goal in the third but were foiled repeatedly by Matthys. And that lack of finish came back to bite Selkirk later in the frame, as Spartans blueliner Blair Murphy broke in down the left wing and beat Hurry with a wrist shot high to the glove to tie the game. The remaining 13 minutes of regulation solved nothing, but the single point was enough to ensure a first place finish for Selkirk. “At the same time you have to tip your cap to Matthys, who was tremendous, and to their whole group,” Dubois said of the TWU netminder.”TWU competes hard and plays the game the right way. Barret Kropf and his staff have really turned that program around this season and it’s been impressive to see.” TWU’s goaltender made 48 saves in the loss while Hurry stopped 18 shots and picked up his team-record 14th win for Selkirk. The Saints will open the 2014 BCIHL playoffs on Friday night when TRU visits Castlegar for the first time since October.All games in the best-of-three series will be played in Castlegar.The full schedule can be found at For the second year in a row, the road to the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League title goes through the Selkirk Saints.The Saints clinched the BCIHL title for the second consecutive Saturday night in Castlegar, by stopping the Trinity Western University Spartans 3-2 in overtime.Scott Swiston scored 10 seconds in to overtime to end the game and give the Saints their 20th win of the year and 12th win in the past 13 games.The victory pushed the Saints (20-3-1) one point ahead of Simon Fraser University (19-3-2) and into sole possession of first place in the league standings.last_img read more

‘Africa’s greenest hotel’ opens its doors

first_img29 August 2013South African hospitality group Bon Hotels has opened what it says is the continent’s greenest hotel.The R170-million, 145-room Hotel Verde, situated 400 metres from Cape Town International Airport, was officially opened on Tuesday, with Bon Hotels saying it aimed to raise environmental awareness and help preserve the natural wetlands in the area around the airport.“The team at Hotel Verde have gone to the greatest extent yet seen on the continent – from locally sourced suppliers to sustainable practices on the building site to multiple ways in which they can generate their own electricity and reduce waste to almost zero,” Bon Hotels said in a statement.Hotel Verde was constructed with concrete slabs comprising recycled materials called cobiax void formers – polypropylene hollow spheres that saved over 1 000 tonnes of concrete.Geothermal pumps have been installed through 100 boreholes 65 metres underground, where a constant ground temperature of 19 degrees Celsius will be used to maintain ventilation and air-conditioning in the hotel.Hotel Verde’s bar will make use of the geothermal pumps to maintain the temperature in the wine cellar. It also includes a “living wall”, made up entirely of plants.‘Boosting efficiency, sustainability’Photovoltaic panels, three wind turbines and a grey water recycling plant are other measures that have been introduced to boost efficiency and reduce operational costs.Water from guest showers will be treated in the recycling system and then be used in all toilets in the building; the system is expected to reduce the hotel’s water consumption by about 37%.Public areas such as lifts, toilets and passages have been equipped with movement- sensor-controlled lighting.The hotel gym has also been made part of the greening solution. “Hotel Verde will be the first in South Africa to use power-generating equipment – these machines pump power back into the hotel as you work out and shows the amount of energy you are generating,” Bon Hotels said.Guests are also able to use the outdoor gym equipment or run along the 320 metre jogging trail set amid a fynbos garden and along the surrounding wetlands.“We had the opportunity to change the status quo here,” said Hotel Verde’s sustainability consultant, Andre Harms. “We looked at different ways of doing everything, right from the word go.”Hotel Verde has applied for green certification through the internationally recognised, United States green building certification system Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is hoping to achieve this rating shortly, following its opening.Data will be collected for a further year before the hotel will apply for LEED Gold for existing buildings.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Part of river bridge in Murbad washed way traffic suspended

first_imgThane: A part of a river bridge linking Murbad to Kalyan in Maharashtra’s Thane district got washed way in the early hours of Sunday due to heavy downpour in the region, an official said.Murbad Tehsildar Amol Kadam told PTI that a part of a bridge on the Ulhas river in Rayta village got washed away and stretches of the road were damaged in heavy rains, in the process affecting traffic on the highway linking Mumbai to Ahmedabad in neighbouring Gujarat. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Traffic on the route has been suspended till further orders. The Ulhas river has been overflowing since the past two days and has caused flooding in Badlapur, Titwala and Kalyan,” he said.Kadam informed that 370 houses have got submerged in the floods, and rescue teams working overnight shifted families to higher places.On Saturday, over 1,000 people were rescued by NDRF, Army, Navy, Air Force and Railway teams after floods caused by the Ulhas river breaching its banks led to the marooning of the Mumbai-Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express in Vangani near Badlapur in the district.last_img read more

Meeting with Federal officials about Caribou Recovery cancelled

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District says a meeting was scheduled between Area E Director Dan Rose and Federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change but was cancelled at the request of Province of B.C.Rose says the meeting between the PRRD and the Federal Government was scheduled for Monday, December 10 to discuss their concerns with the Southern Mountain Caribou.  The meeting was cancelled the day before.Rose said Thursday; the PRRD has been working with the Federal Government.  “The Federal Government was quite concerned with the lack of transparency and engagement by the Provincial Government in the creation of the caribou recovery plan.” Rose wants the current plan to be suspended until a comprehensive impact analysis is completed on all socioeconomic impacts of any changes to land use in the B.C. Peace.This is the second meeting with the PRRD that has been cancelled by the Province.  The Province was supposed to meet with the Board at the beginning of December, but the meeting was cancelled when the Province discovered the meeting would be open to the public.The Regional District says they are continuing to advocate for an open conversation with the Province, Federal Government and local governments regarding the status of the discussions about caribou recovery activities west of Chetwynd.Over 17,000 people have signed a petition against the proposed Caribou Recovery Plan.  You can see the petition and sign it here.last_img read more

Coldest Night of the Year 2019

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN. B.C. – Fort St. John Community Bridge is hosting the Annual Coldest Night of the Year walk. A family fun event that raises money for the less fortunate in our community.With the holiday season fast approaching, Community Bridge would like to send out a reminder to mark February 23rd, 2019 in your calendars to participate and walk in the Coldest Night of the Year Fundraiser. Registration for the walk is $25 which includes an entry for the walk, a commemorative toque, delicious chilli dinner donated by the NLC and more great prizes donated by local companies. Walkers can choose to fundraise for the entry to the event in exchange for the $25 entry.The walk starts and finishes at the Northern Lights College, which can be either a 2km or 5km walk from the College to the Credit Union and then back to the college.  This year goal is to raise $25,000. Over the past two years, Community Bridge has raised $40,000. These monies continue to help provide high quality, accessible, inclusive, and flexible services for the needy in the Peace Region. To Visit the Official Page CLICK HERE This Fundraiser helps to continue providing education, support and professional counselling programs, to individuals and families. Counselling and support services, including violence and homelessness prevention, family-strengthening, women’s outreach, and youth justice help build better lives.Community Bridge is committed to creating a safe, caring environment for people to nurture their emotional and social well-being.Walkers can choose to be solo or join a team! Dressing up is welcomed and encouraged, just remember, Its Cold Out There!last_img read more

Weather averages close to normal for Fort St John during July

first_img“An average isn’t something we see very often. It’s usually above or below and it doesn’t usually land on the average very often. But interestingly enough, a lot of the province did this month.”Looking ahead to August and the remainder of the summer season, Lindquist says we can expect to see slightly cooler temperatures but with lower amounts of rain.As a side note, for the holiday long weekend, Environment Canada is calling for sun and temperatures in the low to mid-20s for Saturday and into Monday. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – During the month of July, Fort St. John and the surrounding area saw close to normal averages when it came to the weather.According to Environment Canada Meteorologist, Doug Lindquist, Fort St. John saw the temperature and rain levels around normal for July with the temperature at 15.8°C, four points below the average of 16.2. As for rain amounts, the area saw 65 mm, which is 10 mm below the average for July.Lindquist says it’s not often that July’s weather sits around the average, adding that the majority of British Columbia saw close to the monthly average.last_img read more

Aston Villa confirms signing of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper

first_imgAston Villa have completed the signing of Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Andre Moreira on a season-long loan deal.Moreira has become the latest Aston Villa signing of the summer after the club was rocked with financial challenges. Moreira who has represented Portugal at under-21 level.The 22-year-old hasn’t made any La Liga appearance yet since joining Atleti in 2014. He, however, has had loan spells with Moreirense, Uniao da Madeira, Belenenses and Braga. ICYMI: Love Island might be over but we’re delighted to announce that a new boy has entered the Villa…#AVFC— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) August 1, 2018Aston Villa explains why they spent so much money on players Manuel R. Medina – September 6, 2019 According to Aston Villa’s chief executive, the team needed to spend £144.5 million on 12 players in order to stay competitive.“I am very excited. It’s such a big opportunity at such a big club.“It’s the perfect opportunity at the right moment. It’s a big move for me.“Aston Villa is a great football club – a famous football club.“The training facilities are great. I know the stadium is famous and historic. I just can’t wait to get started now,” he told the club website.According to BBC, Villa has secured new investment from billionaire businessmen Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, who have reportedly shortlisted super-agent Jorge Mendes to assist in their recruitment.last_img read more

Allegri Im happy for Ronaldo

first_imgJuventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is “happy” to see Cristiano Ronaldo open his goalscoring account for the club after netting a brace in Sunday’s 2-1 win over SassuoloAfter three games without a goal to his name, Ronaldo answered his critics on Sunday with both of Juventus’ goals to hand the Old Lady all three points.It means that Juventus are the only side to have won all four of their Serie A fixtures.And Allegri was certain that it was only a matter of time before Ronaldo would score for the Bianconeri.“He came very close in his first three games,” Allegri told the club website.Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Manchester UnitedVidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“I think he rushed a couple of chances today – it looked like he was absolutely desperate to score.“Football has a way of evening things out and that was the story of the first goal, with the ball bouncing off the post and sitting up for him. The second goal was brilliant. I’m happy for him.“Sassuolo are a good side. They made it hard for us in the first half, but they dropped off a bit in the second half and we were able to tip the game in our favour.”Juventus will next face Valencia on Wednesday for their opening game of the Champions League group stages.last_img read more